Nails / Skin Like Iron - Split [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Nails / Skin Like Iron

Split [7-inch] (2012)


While quantity isn't on Nails' agenda, only having released about 18 minutes of music total since 2009, consistency is listed. On their half of the new Nails/Skin Like Iron split, they retain their lightening fast sludge rumbling. Still a combination of abrasive, crushing guitars, column-like bass, relentless drumming and voice box-shredding vocals, Nails pull together the fiercest parts of metal with the tightest parts of hardcore. But, in comparison to their previous LP, Unsilent Death, the two new songs feature a more multifaceted approach. "Annihilation," the first track, features a number of twist and turns, that seem to fit naturally with the music, as opposed to the unexpected, mathcore-ish, shifts found in their earlier work. The second track, "Cry Wolf," continues Nails' lyrical themes of ambiguous hatred with the outside world. But, with lyrics consisting solely of "Gross, disgust, misuse / Attempt to ruin and abuse / No one will ever come and find you / So go talk your fucking shit," I do hope the tune isn't an attack on music journalists though… Through their directed ambiguity, the band seems to be fashioning tools for lashing outward, leaving the purpose of the assault up to the listener.

On the flipside, Skin Like Iron create an interesting contrast between their music and vocals. Although the instrumentation seems to be influenced by the charging heavy metal of the '80s, almost veering into power metal territory, the vocals are pure modern American underground screaming. Lyrically, the band seems to deal more with internal misery than outward anger, asking when emptiness takes hold and detailing self-induced fear. While Nails' tone is muddied, blending together into a single wave of sound, Skin Like Iron make it a point to keep each instrument focused, pointing towards their skillful, but energetic, picking. While the music is technically well done, perhaps a further amplification of the contrast between vocals and instruments would make the band that much more noticeable.

It's interesting that while each band laments loneliness to some degree on this split, their similar, but uniquely identifiable, core sound makes them sit so well next to each other.