Nails Unsilent Death
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02. Scum Will Rise
03. Your God
04. Suffering Soul
05. Unsilent Death
07. I Will Not Follow
Reviewed by: Nick
// Published: 8/22/2010
Since truly innovative tunes within metal and hardcore are legitimately harder and harder to come by with each passing year, I'm not opposed to proven formulas. In the case of Southern California's Nails, this proven formula looks a like a pissed-off smattering of influences from the likes of Entombed and Nasum, all wrapped up in a slightly more hardcore-leaning package. It's wicked fast, gritty, and pretty enjoyable. Chances are, you've heard the blend before -- we can call this the "Trap Them" effect -- but hey, as long as well-executed, it's still worth a listen.
And then there's the short, one word plural band name that's popped up more than a few times recently: Tombs, Narrows, Tides, Harlots, Ambitions, Victims, Clouds, Planks, Coffins, Constants, Empires, Giants, Grails, Millions, Plows, Towers, Saviours, Lords... to name a few. Have other people noticed this? It's certainly a minor point, but it's difficult not to chuckle and think of the Blink-182 driven "number band" days.
Digression aside, Nails has, ahem, nailed the major points of hardcore-tinged grind. The chord progressions are lightning fast, the drumming is dead-on, and the record sounds impressively heavy. And when compared with their previous effort, Obscene Humanity, it's definitely a tighter, better sounding record.
The intangibles, however, aren't as strong. Its fourteen minute duration is a definite plus, but not much sticks, even after repeated listens. Nasum and Entombed both had fantastic riffs and grooves that proved to be highly memorable despite such an abrasive overall style, but that isn't the case for Nails. There are a few of these moments on Unsilent Death -- most notably the four minute mini-epic, "Depths," and its noisy guitar leads and pummeling, down-tempo close -- but not enough for this to be a landmark release.
Quite frankly, it's just tough to make a drop in the bucket of the Entombed-influenced grind world. The dudes in Nails are certainly capable of the style of music and although they shouldn't necessarily be knocked for making a proven formula work well, they also aren't likely to garner much attention until they find their own twist -- however small it may be -- to move them past being just a "formula" band. For me, Nails is the perfect example of a like-it-but-not-love-it band, and I suspect many others will feel the same.
Bottom Line: If you liked what Trap Them did with the sound of Entombed and Nasum, you'll probably also find something to like on Nails' Unsilent Death. You won't, however, find the same level creativity and abundance of memorable songwriting moments. Unsilent Death is good, but not great. So it goes.
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