Oxnard, California’s Nails have been a fairly difficult band to categorize since their formation in 2009; they’ve been called grindcore, powerviolence, hardcore, and death metal, among many other labels. One thing that is undeniable, though, is that Nails write some of the fastest and most abrasive music that has been written by any other band not-named Napalm Death. With two full-length LPs (both of which are less than 20 minutes long), a pair of EPs and a split with Skin Like Iron, Nails have made a name for themselves in the underground.
For those worried about label-pressure pushing the band into a more “marketable” direction (this being their first release under Nuclear Blast), I’m happy to tell you that You Will Never Be One Of Us is everything you’ve come to expect from a Nails record, and then some. Chaotic, fast, and brutal, can only begin to describe this record, sounding somewhere between Napalm Death, Converge, and Trap Them. The songs come at you in short, violent bursts, rarely breaking the two-minute mark, and in the case of “Friend To All,” “Made To Make You Fall,” and “Parasite,” don’t even make a full-minute in length. As compact as the songs are, Nails manage to fit more riffs and rage into their songs than some bands do in their entire career. Both the guitar and bass use super-fuzzy distortion while playing at near light speed, which can be a bit grating for the uninitiated. If not for the blasting drums, it might be a little difficult to keep up with the pace the stringed instruments set, though there are some more mid-paced moments on “Violence Is Forever” and “Savage Intolerance” that will have just about anybody headbanging.
Really, that’s where Nails separate themselves from the rest of the pack; sure, there’s much to be said for sheer velocity, but every now and then throw in a slower moment to emphasize the heaviness of the riff. The epic closing track, “They Come Crawling Back,” takes that notion to the 10th degree, by stretching out some evil-sounding, medium paced riffs over the course of a whopping 8 minutes, a new record for the band. The atmosphere created on that track takes the band into black metal territory reminiscent of Tentacles of Whorror-era Leviathan, with its almost hypnotic riffs and hateful sounding vocals.
The fuzzy distortion and fast speed makes the tone on You Will Never Be One Of Us a bit murky, which might not appeal to those that aren’t familiar with Nails, or their particular hybrid style of grindcore/hardcore. For the loyal fans, though, Christmas came early with this record, which has everything you could possibly want from these pissed-off Californians. If you like your metal fast, ugly, and violent-sounding, pick up a copy of You Will Never Be One Of Us, and prepare for the sonic bludgeoning of your life.