2016 was an interesting year for Nails. After releasing one of the most anticipated album of the year, and receiving the acclaim of most (including the unexpected praise of the British newspaper The Independent who offered the album on streaming on their website), they allegedly split-up, or went on hiatus, and released no statement whatsoever to confirm or deny the situation. Then, after spending most of 2017 away from everyone, while the press and the fans were doing the talking, they came back and affirmed they have never went away. To this day, no ones knows what motivated the cancellation of the European tour they had scheduled with Full of Hell, and why everyone remained silent about the issue (including, strangely, the band’s label, Nuclear Blast). So, to announce their « return », they released this split EP via Closed Casket Activities.
Full of Hell also had a fantastic year. They released a critically acclaimed collaborative album with The Body, toured with Converge, got the thumbs up of Max Cavalera, and will now tour with him and his brother on the US leg of the Roots tour with none other than Immolation. Not bad for a Power violence band known for their love of Noise.
With this split, the two are showcasing their strength and their friendship. Two very extreme bands receiving an rare amount of critical acclaim, a situation only comparable to the early days of Napalm Death when they were presented as a novelty act. Now, neither Nails nor Full of Hell are introduced in the same light. They are artist pushing the boundaries of extremity for most Music journalist and their output is considered with the same reverence as Andres Serrano’s Pisschrist. Outstanding artistic creations devoted to interrogate, provoke and annoy.
On this split, Nails offers only one song while Full of Hell fills the space with two tracks of similar length than Nails’ sole song. The latter could have fitted perfectly on You will never be one of us but stand as a B Side rather than one of the LP’s proudest moments. While the first part of the song is quite strong with a Morbid Angel influenced riffs played twice as fast, the more muscular bridge reminded me too much of this parody, Fat Ed’s Furry Guide to Metal. A good but stereotypical riff.
Full of Hell‘s song were also quite predictable but in a nicer way. The introductory riff and blast fit with the band’s best material on their collaborative LP with Merzbow or their album, followed by a galloping beat and a Metal bridge before returning to the introduction and finishing on a punishing note. The second song is slightly less fast but retains the energy and the discordance while ignoring the white noise elements of their sound, making the riffs and beats more discernible and effective. This side will definitely appeal to all fans of the band and should show-up on the band’s set list.
As a split, this one is a good introduction to both bands even if one side is definitely better than the other. However, it’s also a testament to both bands importance in the Extreme music landscape for being the herald of a renewed enthusiasm for pushing the boundaries of heavy music.