I’m still not quite sure what to make of this odd little debut from SoCal band Nails. The 10 songs of Unsilent Death flash by in 13 minutes 48 seconds – in your face Slayer and Napalm Death!
Indeed the instant velocity achieved by 32-second opener Conform recalls Scum-era Napalm Death and surely track titles like Scum Will Rise and Suffering Soul are nods to that seminal slab of grind.
Unsilent Death is not grindcore, although there are moments that certainly come close.
As these feedback-linked songs unfold, there are moments of brief respite where Nails simply groove.
Frenetic hardcore tempos collapse seemingly exhausted into a doom-like crawl before unexpectedly finding second wind and hurtling forwards again.
There are frequent thrash sections that chug almost contentedly before disintegrating into squalling, writhing feedback. There’s even a guitar solo. Just one, mind you.
Closer Depths ironically is the best track as its prog-like length in comparison with what comes before of 3:48 allows Nails to flesh out their ideas a little more.
It’s a relatively simple song to be sure with its dominant motif of repeated descending riffs interspersed with feedback but at least you get a chance to get a grip of it before being dragged kicking and screaming into the next pitch-black wormhole.
It’s a grower though and certainly not half as unpleasant as it first appears. I love heavy music that might send more sensitive souls running for their Mumford & Sons albums but I can’t stand bands that just hurt my ears. There needs to be musicality as well as noise and Nails have that with the frequent changes of pace, mastery of rhythm and great guitar tone.
Yep, it’s another Kurt Ballou production. He’s in a rich vein of form to be sure. Thanks to Adrian Belgrand of Popmatters for turning me onto this one.