Nails – Abandon All Life


    There is nothing at all comfortable about the new sonic scourge from Californians Nails, in either listening to its primal rage or in its furnace borne construction, but the rewards and intrusive pleasure reaped from its caustic presence far easily outweighs any pain suffered. Brawling with ten tracks at just over seventeen minutes combined, Abandon All Life is a ravenously vicious express train of grind and hardcore soaked in a death metal malevolence, a record with a sonic dexterity which sculpts varied textures and sounds into a multi-levelled tsunami of violent passion and destructive attitude.

Recorded with Kurt Ballou of Converge, the Southern Lord released album follows up the acclaimed debut full length Unsilent Death with a similar intent but a further honed venom and craft from the quartet of vocalist/guitarist Todd Jones, guitarist Saba, drummer Taylor Young (Crematourim), and bassist John Gianelli (Fell To Low). It gives no respite or mercy just drives its howling anger and pissed off breath with a revengeful malicious intensity and sonic blistering which sears the senses long before notes place their lethal hands on the ear. Strike a match whilst listening to the album and it would be no surprise to see the world go up in flames such the vitriolic fumes given offer by this exceptional raw release.

Opener In Exodus takes a mere scorch of sonics before chewing on the ear with rabid riffs and spiteful rhythmic provocation, all coming together to explode into a pungent ferocity of impassioned toxicity. There is no respite from its brief but corrosive maelstrom which transfers seamlessly into the following Tyrant. The second song snarls and brawls like the first but incites its storm bred climax with a rhythmic build up which is as infectious as it is the devious portal into the closing savagery. The drums cage and abuse the senses with villainous expertise whilst the bass offers a carnal presence which equally seduces and ravages. Their union is bestial adding the darkest shadows to the burning sonic rage of the guitars and the equally mordant vocal squalls of Jones.

There is an open diversity within the air expelling surface of the songs with God’s Cold Hands one of the keenest and most compelling examples. The outstanding track is as abrasive and sonically torrential as any song on the album but underlines it with a barbed groove which erodes the senses with an understated yet siren like potency. The track savages the senses in its jaw, thrashing them from side to side but then coats them in a sludge/doom prowl of sound to further excite and captivate before leading to a final toxic crescendo. The invention continues with Wide Open Wound, a predatory crawl of blackened sludge veined with exhausting punk spite and acerbic chugging metallic borne riffs. The song chews and growls with a hateful passion yet invigorates the fight and inspiration to stand defiant, as does the album as a whole across its biting tracks.

The following merciless title track with its barbaric rhythms and volcanic emotive fire, the sadistic and irresistible Pariah, and Cry Wolf all exhaust and vaporize the air around them, the latter of the three mutilating synapses with a ferociousness which can only be classed as sonic assassination. Their contagious violence hands over to the closing might of Suum Cuique, a track which incorporates all the qualities which came before into one lasting ruinous confrontation with a slight bedlamic nature to its satanic mastery.

Abandon All Life is an album which defies the expectations and anticipation set in place from the previous album to offer a violation beyond not only what Nails brought before but most of the efforts of their fellow sonic conspirators.


RingMaster 04/04/2013

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