Nail Within
Sound of Demise

Jesus Fucking Christ.

Has it really been 20 years since Israel’s Nail Within released their self-titled debut?

That was three jobs ago, I was a baby; only 27 years old, and my daughter was only 3. She’s now graduated college and had a job for almost 2 years….FUCK!

I mean the absolutely killer tracks “Dirty Colored Knife” and “Elastic” from that album are still on regular rotation for me, and that album still stands as one of the better At The Gates worshipping albums of its time (it even had Tomas Lindberg as a guest, and he has performed live with the band). I even tried to go back and find my review, and it’s so old it is, from the digitalmetal.com days, which is lost to the sands of time, but I was able to grab it from the Wayback machine and add it to the current site here. ( I highly recommend you check the album out).

Well, here the original lineup is back, now in their 40s, and I have to admit, it’s not a reunion I expected, or I’m sure the Melo-death scene needed or wanted, as the band and debut was a pretty low-key, underrated album, as certainly not a reunion, like At The Gates a few years ago that got folks super excited. But here we are, and while a successful reunion and a fine album, it’s not quite up to par with the debut.

The continued melo-death meets thrash sound is intact with the heavy At the Gates and Soilwork meets Dew Scented hues dripping from every note and razor-sharp riff and vocalist Yishai Sweartz rasps with aplomb. But there’s an emotional weight and sense of gnarled age that comes with a 20-year gap and everything that’s happened in the world (as well as the Middle East) in that time, and it shows on the album, even with a few bursts of youthful energy here and there.

Fierce openers “Bleeding Society” (with Tom Angelripper on guest vocals), “Eyes of Evil” and the title track opens the album with an energetic bang, with hacking and slashing riffs and melodies that show the above influences are still plenty in play here. Then things slow down with “Regression…. And the Price We Pay”, which has a nice lead solo.

And speaking of solos, Guitarist Eric Peterson of Testament and Dragonlord makes a guest appearance on “Years of Madness”, a mid-paced, moodier track, before “Everything We Know” cranks the thrashing energy up again.

However, while the album is pretty solid up to this point, it’s not until, “Words As Weapons” and standout “Manipulated and Doomed” that the greatness of the debut arises, with the latter really imbuing “Dirty Colored Knife” and “Elastic” with a perfect blend of viciousness and melody.

The album ends with a slower tune in “Severe Suffering” (With 16s Bobby Ferry helping out on vocals) and the vicious “Isolate”, but when it’s all said and done, I simply craved the debut rather than listen to this album. Not a black mark on Sound of Demise, but more about how good the debut was, Either way, welcome back, and let’s not hope for another 20-year wait. I’ll be 70 for fuck’s sake.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
December 21st, 2023

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