In the past, Nailbiter evoked artist like Throbbing Gristle and Aphex Twin, but on perhaps his noisiest, darkest release yet, the tone has shifted towards acts like the Bug, the Haxan Cloak and the Body in their distorted abrasion. However, without sounding too much like any of those references (or innovating as much), the real story is that the project has developed its own bite.
The darker sound is enhanced by the darker visuals; the album cover features a degraded, black and white image of a ram's skull. Song titles like "Smeared," "Spoiled" and "Sickly" help convey a more visceral, Nine Inch Nails-ish aesthetic, while pumping bass drums, distorted synths and layers of noise slam together to create a moody, threatening sonic vibe. Tracks like "Sickly" also feature slightly more claustrophobic rhythms, almost evoking some Chicago footwork but with all the soul sucked right out.
While the desolate aesthetic shows cohesion, venturing into the territory of "dark" and "heavy" is to wander relatively well-trodden ground (as the handful of references in this review might show). There's definitely personal refinement here, though, with hopefully greater innovation to come down the road. (Hand Drawn Dracula)