Nails - Abaondon all Life


Abandon All Life

01. In Exodus
02. Tyrant
03. Absolute Control
04. God’s Cold Hands
05. Wide Open Wound
06. Abandon All Life
07. No Surrender
08. Pariah
09. Cry Wolf
10. Suum Cuique

[Southern Lord]

California’s up-and-coming hardcore/grind savants Nails burst through the underground hype machine after releasing their short but savage 2010 debut album Unsilent Death, and for good reason. The record showcases the band’s all-encompassing fill-in-for-x-core sound that draws from hardcore, grind, powerviolence, and crust that marks the band as surprisingly variable in their delivery of punishing chaos and misanthrope. Three years later, Nails aren’t suffering the least bit from the sophomore slump; Abandon All Life lives up to its title as a pissed off collection of apocalyptic and vitriolic hardcore anthems that further cements the band’s notoriety.

Just like its predecessor Unsilent Death, Abandon All Life burns bright and fast, clocking in at under 18 minutes in length. As is the trend of the genre, the short runtime is by no means a measure of a lack of quality music. In fact, Abandon All Life is so oppressive that a typical full-length runtime would be exhausting. Nails make good use of their time and know when and how to close a show; the band’s immediacy is made certain with the roaring opener ‘In Exodus,’ wherein stage is set with an ominous groove before giving way to grinding blasts and throaty bellowing, with the rest of the album following in suit in ebb and flow.

In fact, while much hasn’t changed the past couple of years, the band have decided to give more of their time to longer, slower dirges like the centerpiece ‘Wide Open Wound‘ and the five-and-a-half minute finale ‘Suum Cuique.‘ To say Nails have slowed down wouldn’t necessarily be inaccurate in these instances, but the group have certainly made better use of dynamic. In the context of Abandon All Life, the music feels almost suffocating when slowed to a stomp and is downright frightening when the band reaches break-neck speeds.

This is what makes Abandon All Life so fantastic. Songwriting in music such as this is often under-appreciated and not very emphasized, since songs are shuffled about at such a speed that it’s hard to notice the big picture. While that may be the case for first-time listeners — ‘Tyrant‘ and ‘Cry Wolf’ for example are here and gone before you even realize that you’ve been hearing a new track — the real focus is the album as a whole, surely intended to be listened to and performed as a single hardcore epic that follows classic narrative form, with rising action and climax that  builds and resolves tension; this album is begging to be performed live in its entirety.

Abandon All Life is a destructive powerhouse in both form and fashion, with production from the prolific Kurt Ballou (Converge) that encases the record in a thick and crusty distortion that accents the band’s disregard for easy listening. Poor sonic presence can make or break a record such as this, but every aspect comes together in a way that only furthers Nails’ reputation as the leaders of modern hardcore. With Abandon All Life, there’s no question; YOU’RE MOSHING.

Nails – Abandon All Life gets…


– JR


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