Nails’ Unsilent Death was something of a sleeper disc for me in 2010 – it made only a minor impact upon my ears in its initial release, but for whatever reason (read: my unfocused lack of attention to it), it really didn’t kick into my consciousness until 2011 was well underway. At that point, I spun it again and suddenly (read: rightfully) realized that it was a pretty kick-ass little fourteen-minute smash-and-grab collection of grinding hardcore, and with that realization, Unsilent Death found itself in belated semi-regular rotation, a year after the fact.
So while we’re all waiting for the next Nails full-length (if such term could accurately be applied to a grindcore record, and if, in fact, you’re waiting), this four-song stopgap effort will do nicely, putting Nails alongside the heretofore-unheard-by-me Skin Like Iron…
That latter band opens the set with two melodic hardcore tunes – “Disappear” appears in a brief squall of feedback before it settles into a straight-ahead groove, with catchy punk riffing beneath Alex Capasso’s harsh vocals. Both songs are set up similarly, and both are solid, though in the trade between melody and malevolence, Skin Like Iron lacks the utter tar-coated ugliness that defines Nails’ sound. Still, what they lack in violence, Skin Like Iron makes up for in a Fucked Up kind of modern hardcore quality. “The Parade” opens on a truly epic riff, before kicking into a driving punk track that easily out-rocks its predecessor, less than three minutes of a melodious maelstrom of rock guitars beneath screamed vocals.
Whereas Skin Like Iron sticks much closer to the melodic, Nails trades in their typical downtuned and devastating combination, their two tracks here alternating between a 2:50 “epic” and a 0:25 flat-out grinder. As such, their half is straight in line with Unsilent Death, and those who enjoyed that disc’s thick-toned grinding will love these two tunes, though they’ll likely be left wanting more by the simple fact that, all in, this is less than three-and-a-half minutes of new Nails.
All in, this split is about eight minutes of music, so there’s not much to discuss. Skin Like Iron impresses but didn’t obliterate; Nails repeats their formula to pretty much the same result. Hardcore aficionados, take note and rejoice for an eight-minute good time.