Nails – Abandon All Life


Artist

Album

Abandon All Life

Label

Southern Lord

Year

2013

For Fans Of

Tragedy - Trap Them - Black Breath

Summary

Chaotic, joyless, earth-crushing crust-influenced hardcore.

Rating

80 / 100

In 2010, California hardcore band Nails released their second full-length ‘Unsilent Death‘. In under 15 minutes, the band carved out ten songs of heavy, chaotic hardcore that drew influences from the likes of Converge, Entombed, Trap Them and Tragedy to deliver an unrelenting, bleak record that ended up cracking this writer’s top ten for the year. With new album ‘Abandon All Life‘ the band take mostly the same approach, improving on their earlier work to provide the band’s visceral crust punk by way of grindcore by way of extreme metal signature with a little more flair – albeit completely crushing.

Not bothering with the formality of an introduction that builds to the record, album opener ‘In Exodus’ starts off with low, ferocious guitar riffs reminiscent of getting punched in the face a couple dozen times before frontman Todd Jones launches into a piercing, misanthropic snarl. 30 odd seconds later and without so much as a second to breathe next track ‘Tyrant’ kicks in.

Instantly it becomes apparent that Nails have taken what they know they’re good at and knocked things up a gear. The guitars sound tighter, the drumming is as precise as it is a frenzied, earth-shattering display of human energy, and Jones explores the capabilities of his voice – whether it be the guttural roars akin to ‘Unsilent Death‘ era or a higher-pitched yet still incredibly powerful scream.

Abandon All Life‘ clocks in at roughly 17 minutes, with most songs averaging around the one minute mark – the formula is pretty simple; it’s pissed off, it’s vicious, it frankly doesn’t have the time to waste. That is to say, except for middle track ‘Wide Open Wound’ and five minute album closer ‘Suum Cuique’, which slow things down, exploring a sludgier sound that manages to retain all the aggression of the tracks which barely break the 60-second mark while keeping things fresh.

Conclusion

For the most part, ‘Abandon All Life’ doesn’t tread much new ground for the band, but ultimately sees them grow more proficient as songwriters and performers. It’s an extremely fast, hostile piece of heavy music, and if you enjoyed ‘Unsilent Death’ you’ll love it. If you’re yet to hear the band it serves as a savage introduction, and clocking in at less than 20 minutes there’s little time to find yourself bored – just make sure you don’t end up punching a wall in throughout.

Tracklisting

1. In Exodus
2. Tyrant
3. Absolute Control
4. God’s Cold Hands
5. Wide Open Wound
6. Abandon All Life
7. No Surrender
8. Pariah
9. Cry Wolf
10. Suum Cuique

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