Published May 02, 2013Southern Lord Records has been synonymous with top quality doom and black metal for about 15 years. Early Graves' set was the fart in the elevator needed to disperse all the Febreze smelling thugs. Taken from Mayan mythology, Xibalba's name ("a place of fear") is a pretty good fit for the miasmatic monstrosity they have succeeded in creating. However, whereas the drones and doomy textures carved in studio (Southern Lord mogul Greg Anderson contributed guitar on a couple of songs) are enough to set them apart and make them relevant in the Southern Lord discography, their live show was at best comparable to the spearheads of '90s NYHC. In short, they followed the recipe, threw in thank yous, big-ups and shout-outs, and made a point that everyone had to support the scene, etc.
Nails have released some of the most thrilling and ballistic sonic assaults to come out in the past few years. Their songs are short and well-plotted, their sound has the perfect texture to make all instruments sound like one massive sand blaster (a sound that Kurt Ballou has captured like a chef on their latest opus) and above all, they make legion of Hatebreed emulators sound like Belle and Sebastien. Where is the trick then? Todd Jones has succeeded in both rewriting his act with a machete and pulling together a remarkable band, there is still the same inherent macho musk in the air, that hardcore kids— anxious to be led from one breakdown to another — keep enduring because it's apparently part of the genre.