You Will Never Be One Of Us - NAILS
By Barnaby Britten
NAILS are probably one of the hottest bands in the heavy music scene right now and, as such, You Will Never Be One of Us has been one of 2016’s most eagerly anticipated albums of the year for fans of this genre. NAILS pick up where they left off on 2013’s Abandon All Life, continuing to increase the metal influence in their toxic mix of the most extreme sides of the punk and metal spectrum, refining the aggression, yet, further, without sacrificing any of what makes their music so gratifying.
Like their previous two albums, YWNBOOU is the sonic equivalent of being punched in the face and then experiencing that boil in your blood that would make you want to punch back with twice the force; it is crude hostility crystallised in the bastardisation of heavy metal and punk music. It is the perfect mixture of the fast-paced ferocity of blast beats and D-beats and slower breakdowns that actually register on the Richter scale, and as with their previous work, only two tracks on the album exceed two minutes. Kurt Ballou is once again on production duties and he does a sterling job of making those dirty, heavy guitar and bass tones that he does best.
So you may be thinking that this album is more of the same NAILS that we have all come to know and love, and you wouldn’t necessarily be wrong. On the other hand there are some areas which feel different, particularly the vocals. Todd Jones has noticeably made the effort to make his vocal performance as disgusting as possible and the results are magnificent. Highlights that come to mind are the first wretched “EEEUUUUURGH” of the opener/title track; the last “YOU’RENOTMYF******FRIENDATALL” in “Friend To All” which is disgorged with such vitriol you know that he really, really is not friends at all with the person in question; and the part about half way through “Life Is a Death Sentence” where he simply screams “DEEEAAATH” with dangerous levels of bile.
Another area of progress is in the closing track “They Come Crawling Back” whose eight minute runtime is in itself a novelty for the band (and over a third of the whole 22 minute album), who had only once before made a track any longer than five minutes . It begins with a subdued, black metal-esque minute or so before blasting the gates of hell open with a battering ram and then invading the place riff by riff. In short, it rules and is NAILS at their sludgy best.
Mean Girls memes aside, this album really does embody everything that NAILS have come to stand for, and it is so much fun to listen to. It won’t make you think, but it will make you long for the pit, and at the end of the day, what do you enjoy more: thinking or throwing down?