ALBUM REVIEW: NAILS

Obscene Humanity (Southern Lord Records)

NAILS, formed from ex-members of TERROR, CREMATORIUM, and BETRAYED, totaling up to one member from each, is the sonic definition of hate. If you regularly listen to NAILS, you’re probably pissed about something. If stay-posi Pop Punk a là THE WONDER YEARS had an evil counterpart, it would be NAILS. Formed in 2007 in the sun-baked climes of Southern California,  home of the Bay Area Thrash scene as well as fellow hatemongers EARLY GRAVES, they’ve been shedding the blood of fearful lambs since the release of their first 11 minute cannonade, also entitled Obscene Humanity, setting the tone for the follow-up, Unsilent Death, with just under a quarter of an hour of face-ripping metal inflected Hardcore that was like TRAP THEM with even more “fuck off”. With Kurt Ballou of CONVERGE fame behind the board, they saw a tone that ENTOMBED would doff their collective hat to, and a killer live show to boot. Their split with fellow Metalcore swordsmen SKIN LIKE IRON was a small taste of a new artistic direction, and now we have this, the reboot of three songs off  of their first release. I would first like to note that writing about any given NAILS release takes about three times longer than the complete running time, and since this is their shortest release… You do the math.

I’ll be honest, when I found out that this was simply a rehash of old material, I was bracing myself for a letdown. I’m quite glad I did, however, since they have exceeded expectations. Not to say that the original Obscene Humanity LP was bad, but  hearing these three well-chosen tracks (“Obscene Humanity”, “Confront Them”, and “Lies”) fleshed out with their ENTOMBED meets WEEKEND NACHOS sound, courtesy of Kurt, makes these songs even more powerful.

“Obscene Humanity” opens like some of TRAP THEM’s more vicious tracks, then  goes into that good old fashioned NAILS assault we’ve come to love. “Confront Them” shows their ability to go from piledriving mayhem to a more controlled and bludgeoning stomp within under a minute and a half and still make it a fulfilling listening experience. “Lies”, for any who have listened to Unsilent Death, will notice that the two beginning sections are basically cut and pasted from “Scum Will Rise”, but with some minor variations and more dirt. Though this recycling is nothing new, being that “Lies” came first on the debut LP, it’s more apparent due to them having defined their sound beyond just another pissed off Hardcore band wielding feedback and intentional refrigerator box lo-fi quality. Whether or not this takes you out of what is otherwise a very well-written track on its own, that’s up to you.

Overall, it’s nothing new, but at the same time it gives a different perspective on the old material, which sounded like it came from a last-minute Deathwish Inc. demo. Though Obscene Humanity 2009 was good, Obscene Humanity ca. 2012 is a chance to show fans that A) they remember where they came from and B) they’re hard at work on new material with which to wage war on Pop Punk.

The Verdict: It burns.

Piss’n’Vinegar Chips

Grade: B+

 

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