Nails – Abandon All Life (Southern Lord Records)

Wednesday, 1st May 2013
Rating: 8/10

It’s become so easy to hit the accelerator and run to the hills with some d-beat action, that we’re beginning to think bands have forgotten how to be heavy with a simple groove and/or lurch. It doesn’t take a songwriting genius to figure out that dynamics usually pop up when transitioning from a fast-paced to a slow part (go to any concert and see that is when the most heads start nodding), but a lot of this has been lost in the name of extremity. On their sophomore Abandon All Life, d-beat, extreme metal mongers Nails have had the proverbial light bulb go off in their heads.

The routine and savage cadence of the album shouldn’t surprise anyone that feasted upon their excellent Unsilent Death EP from a few years ago, or the various splits and one-offs the band has done. Next to Black Breath, Nails possesses one of the most vicious guitar tones going right now, and it makes jams like “God’s Cold Hands,” “Absolute Control” and “Cry Wolf” sound undeniably brutal, almost in a foaming-of-the-mouth sense.

Yet, the band takes in the reins on “In Exodus” and the title track, parlaying a molten, tempered tempo that makes them heavier than ever. When they do such things, they’re unbeatable. Just like Black Breath.

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