When: Sun., June 26, 7:30 p.m. 2016
SUNDAY, JUNE 26
You Will Never Be One of Us, the new album from California's Nails, is uncharacteristically long; it clocks in at just less than twenty-two minutes. The band's debut, 2010's Unsilent Death, lasted less than fourteen, while 2013's Abandon All Life persevered for seventeen.
The former guitarist for stalwart hardcore band Terror, Nails leader Todd Jones borrows ferocity from extreme metal titans such as Napalm Death, Discharge, and Slayer, but this is faster and heavier. He writes, after all, with a very specific audience in mind—himself, at the age of fifteen. "I would have responded well to the music, the urgency of it," he recently said.
The length of You Will Never Be One of Us is deceiving. Most songs here last about a minute, grinding through a sharp series of riffs and getting out of the way as soon as they've made an impact. It's the eight-minute closer, "They Come Crawling Back," that shapes the bulk of the album's runtime and proves Nails' violent versatility. Like other grind groups that sometimes go doom (see Agoraphobic Nosebleed or Pig Destroyer), Nails doesn't fall into dragging tempos. Instead, the band stretches its abrasive tones across wider vistas, borrowing liberally from hardcore to craft a suite that suggests a particularly relentless breakdown. It's a grueling and captivating end to an album that otherwise thrives in blown-out blitzkriegs.
Producer (and Converge guitarist) Kurt Ballou gives the record his trademark mix of grimy distortion and stinging clarity. And Nails supply many of its most memorable riffs and refrains yet here, with songs such as "Life Is a Death Sentence" and "Violence Is Forever" begging for scream-alongs. Indeed, just like Jones wants, it's easy to imagine these songs being some young headbanger's teenage awakening. With Full of Hell, Gods Hate, and Eternal Sleep. —Bryan C. Reed
KINGS, RALEIGH7:30 p.m., $15, www.kingsbarcade.com