Nails, the intense three-piece annihilators from California are back and hitting stronger than ever with their newest release, You Will Never Be One of Us. The third studio album, but their first release on Nuclear Blast Records, You Will Never Be One of Us is a 20-minute slug fest of hardcore breakdowns, mosh-pits, death growls, and riffs of steel. Nails is no stranger to aggression and moves in a progressive manner, while keeping a steady grip on their future.
Opening with a massive twist of distorted guitars and a repetition of the phrase “You will never be one of us,” Nails then makes the sudden leap into the deep end where Todd Jones on guitar and vocals, John Gianelli on bass, and Taylor Young create a sudden assault of noise, almost acting as a wall of sound. Young delivers rapid-fired cracks throughout You Will Never Be One of Us and the constant assault is incredibly draining, but ultimately a useful device in keeping Gianelli and Jones in a freefall style of motion toward a full sprint of tracks featured. While the ten-track record feels incredibly short-lived, it is actually a persistent rush where every track bleeds into the next and creates one long segue.
Tracks like “Friend to All,” “Made to Make You Fail,” and “Life Is a Death Sentence” waste no time in building momentum from song to song. Almost like a machine, Nails hammers every single track out without more than two-seconds of continual silence. Jones delivers a mix of both deep growls, and more sudden screams that echo over the entirely loud mix of instruments that clash and are persistently in a power struggle. There are however tracks like “Violence Is Forever,” where the music can take a building process before jumping back into the usual abrasive nature of Nails. This is where You Will Never Be One of Us truly shines as it contains such a large variety of elements that make each track feel like its own entity.
Nails has also done work with hardcore band Full of Hell which it is apparent to see just how Nails and Full of Hell could work so well together. Both bands are extraordinary in their own right, and when paired together; it becomes a recipe for complete and total destruction. Nails brings a new level of energy and the track “Savage Intolerance” is a prime example of how Nails can create different sections on a track that can reel in the listener and then instantly punish them within the next second. With Young creating blasting beats between the cymbal and the snare drum, all while Gianelli acts as a beacon for Nails to experiment more with their breakdowns. You Will Never Be One of Us while immensely brutal, does show signs of beauty in not the band’s sound, but in how they continue to conduct themselves together and continually build each other up.
Even as Nails reaches the final tracks of You Will Never Be One of Us, the aggression still never takes a stand-still, basically achieving a sound that is raw and almost unrefined. The production which is handled by Kurt Ballou who had also worked with Code Orange on their newest record, Forever, sounds incredibly dirty. This is not always a negative connotation as Nails only benefits from this sound; it creates another level of depth and feels much heavier and stronger because of this production style. The real surprise of You Will Never Be One of Us is seeing the final track that reaches the eight-minute mark.
“They Come Crawling Back” starts with more ambiance than previous tracks and creates an enormous amount of tension before dropping the curtain and launching in with a sudden flurry of cymbal crashing from Young that soon comes to more of a grind core style of breakdown where the guitar work from Jones can take the spotlight and create a sense of true brutality. As “They Come Crawling Back” continues to progress, more and more distortion effects are added onto the instruments before the guitar by Jones becomes a screeching disarray and the bass work from Gianelli becomes the main progressive movement. “As They Come Crawling Back” is actually heavier, but one of the more trudging style of tracks on You Will Never Be One of Us. Instead of going for eight-minutes of pure power, Nails decides to dial back the speed and shoot for more of a gradual increase that continually builds before reaching the final breaking point.
You Will Never Be One of Us becomes a spontaneous blast of destruction from the first second. Nails take no time in making sure that no one is safe and makes it their goal to break everything in their way, leaving only ashes following their wake.