Sunday 13 December 2020

Nails - Unsilent Death (10th Anniversary Edition)

Labels: Southern Lord

Formats: Vinyl/CD/Digital

Release Date: 27 Nov 2020


1. Conform

2. Scum Will Rise

3 Your God

4. Suffering Soul

5. Unsilent Death

6. Traitor

7. I Will Not Follow

8. No Servent

9. Scapegoat

10. Depths

11. Leech (Previous Unreleased)

12. Enemy (Previous Unreleased)

13. Confront Them (Obscene Humanity 7")

14. Obscene Humanity (Obscene Humanity 7")

15. Lies (Obscene Humanity 7")

Ten years ago saw the release of Unsilent Death by US hardcore/death metal band Nails and for many, it was their first gateway into the band. The album's 10th anniversary has just passed and to mark the occasion, Southern Lord released a special version containing the original album and five bonus songs, including two previously unreleased songs from the Unsilent Death recordings and the three songs that appeared on the 2012 Obscene Humanity 7".

The impact of Nails is still undeniable on Unsilent Death opener ‘Conform’, which straightaway sees the band launching into a powerviolence-esque thirty second battering of percussion, raging bass/guitar and unforgiving vocals. Blasting Napalm Death influence flows through this album, as on ‘Scum Will Rise’ and there’s no hiding from the sheer power of the band. Subtle sludginess and screeching feedback are also present and correct on ‘Your God’, which is short but no less intense, while on ‘Suffering Soul’ things are extended into a longer form, with a punk-backbone flowing through it thanks to the drum beats. The breakdown in the song’s second-half is mighty and underlines their heaviness. 

The original recordings haven’t been remixed or remastered, aside from the bonus songs so what you hear is as it was when Unsilent Death was initially released, which is why the album’s title-track sounds so raw and groovy. From there, ‘Traitor’ brings you back down to earth with a bang thanks to it’s stop/start fast/slow approach. In true belligerent fashion, ‘I Will Not Follow’ lives up to it’s name with more off-kilter time signatures and proper hardcore tones. There’s no pretence here at all, just honest heavy music and no matter what you think about Nails now, they’re still one of the best modern-era bands of this ilk. There’s something very necro about ‘No Servant’, which I think has to do with the blasts. Aside from that, it also features some of the best guitar work on the record.

The two final songs of the album proper are utterly insane, with ‘Scapegoat’ leading the charge with uncontrolled noise, death and hardcore all rolled into one sub one-minute song that leads straight into album closer ‘Depths’ via more screeching feedback. This is the crust/sludge-laden beast that Nails always threatened to whip out on Unsilent Death and saving it till the end is a masterstroke. It’s blistering instrumentation tells you all you need to know. Next up are two previously unreleased tracks from the same recording sessions as the album. ‘Leech’, unsurprisingly, has the same sound and approach to many of the songs on Unsilent Death but the fact that it’s only been released now makes it a special listen, which can also be said about ‘Enemy’, with it’s warp-speed tempo and crazed grindcore blueprint. 

Closing this re-release out are the three songs from the 2012 Obscene Humanity 7”. ‘Confront Them’ is more white-hot than many of the songs that appeared on the album, in terms of anger and the higher tone of the screams, but it shows the progression that Nails were making at the time. The 7”s title-track shows yet more of a step away from the bolder, thicker sound of Unsilent Death, into dare-I-say-it a more Japanese crust/death direction (maybe). The final bonus track from the 7” is ‘Lies’ and like ‘Depths’ earlier, it’s an extended player that once again shows off the variation and musical skill that’s obvious throughout the band.

As far as re-releases go, this is both true to the original but also special enough to warrant greater attention. Hopefully it’s release will bring in a new wave of listeners, especially in a year when music this dark fits the current times. Cracking stuff from both Nails and Southern Lord.

You can stream and purchase the full re-release on all formats below:-

You can also purchase physical copies from Southern Lord here -

Southern Lord Recordings -

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