Nails - Obscene Humanity [12 inch] (Cover Artwork)


Obscene Humanity [12 inch] (2009)

Six Feet Under

I bought this record on a whim. I was intrigued by the complete lack of presentation or information on this band. No website, no MySpace, no biography, etc. Shit, this thing doesn't even really have an album cover -- it's just a sticker with the band's name in a simple font. Available only as one-sided 180 gram LP (with the program repeating on both sides) with handwritten lyrics on an 8 1/2 by 11" sheet of white paper, it's clear that the goal here was to focus solely on the music.

Of course, it's not that simple. The not-so-secret thing about this record is that it's the newest project from Todd Jones, the prodigious guitar player who has been in more hardcore luminaries than I can count, including Carry On, Betrayed, Internal Affairs, Terror, and even spent some time in Blacklisted. In this band, he takes on guitar and vocal duties for a stripped-down three-piece attack.

All introductions aside, this EP makes for a seriously disgusted and violent piece of music. Eschewing the fast melodic tendencies of Jones' usual fare, the guitars are tuned down and distorted to their max, with every focus put on creating something as heavy and nasty as possible. Truthfully, there are a lot of bands that attempt to be "as heavy as possible," but this guy knows what he's doing and it works. Matched with the distorted bass and overdriven drums, this is some brutal shit.

Jones' vocals match the dirty and aggressive vibe of the band with a solid scream and appropriately negative and self-hating lyrics. Check out the entire lyrics to the first song "Disorder": "Despise, disgust, disguised, mistrust, no peace in a paranoid mind. Day in, day out, self doubt, drop out. Eyes open, living blind, rope hung, cut ties, beat up, broke down, succumb to demise. Embrace the pain -- it never ends." In a presumed nod to Black Flag, two of the seven songs are titled "Alienate You II" and "Alienate You I."

This record peaks on the song "Lies," starting out as a fast hardcore song before pounding out the heaviest riff of the year for a mind-numbing straight two and a half minutes. It's an awesome track that would work really well at pissing off some annoying neighbors.

From the complete lack of art to the nihilistic self-hating lyrics, Obscene Humanity is an exercise in hatred and disgust. This record should appeal especially to fans of Trap Them and Converge's Jane Doe record. In conclusion, we're seven months into 2009 and this, so far, this 12" EP is the release of the year for me.