Released: 2016, Nuclear Blast
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
So “powerviolence” is a thing now?
That’s the genre classification that I’ve seen most associated with Nails and their latest release, YOU WILL NEVER BE ONE OF US. The band’s sound has been a steady amalgam of grindcore, hardcore, and death metal, but I guess “powerviolence” packages all of that up in a tidy, limited syllable reference point.
Nails albums have always been the sound of controlled chaos, and this latest release intends to push that illusion of control to the absolute brink. The riffs rage hard and fast, the drums sound like the cymbals are going to crash through your speakers at any second, and Todd Jones spits distorted words of war like a man with a definite grudge against the world. At just under 22 minutes, YOU WILL NEVER BE ONE OF US is the longest Nails record to date. As such, the tunes aren’t given an opportunity to outstay their welcome, opting for a sustained series of hit and run assaults. Songs like the dirgey “They Come Crawling Back”, “Violence is Forever” and the title track sting in the gut a little better than the balance of the album, but top to bottom, it’s unquestionably a brutal record.
But whether it’s the transition from Southern Lord (their previous label) to the megaplex that is Nuclear Blast and/or the organic growth of their reputation, there’s been a TON of hype and expectation surrounding this album. Some have gone so far as to compare it to REIGN IN BLOOD. If we’re talking brevity and compressed aggression, sure, I get that. If we’re talking level of importance and long term value, I’m gonna call shenanigans.
Nails is a great band and YOU WILL NEVER BE ONE OF US is a great album – for what it is. It’s a quick blast of tightly executed aggro hostility, and if that’s what you’re looking for, it certainly gets the job done. But after the closing feedback of “They Come Crawling Back” fades out, there’s no real residual investment in the album, and you’re left wondering “okay, what’s next in my playlist”, before moving on to whatever silly cat videos you’ve got queued up on YouTube.
Heavy? Hells’ yes. Mandatory? Hardly, but YOU WILL NEVER BE ONE OF US should still muster a listen so you can decide for yourself what all the fuss is about.