Down With The Nails
Review by Felix on May 7, 2023.
Old’s debut was released in 2006. One must know this date, because the sound wants to tell the listener that “Down with the Nails” was recorded in 1984. Nice try, guys. The band seemed to use guitars that were covered by many layers of dust and cob webs. The drums sound dry, the bass is absent. By the way, the same goes for the bass drum. As far as I can hear, the entire drum kit consisted only of a snare. Okay, we do not want to squander resources. Finally, the vocals deliver a proper portion of more or less robust rage.
So what is this debut all about in terms of style and genre? Old – nomen est omen – refer to the well-established, more or less legendary heroes of extreme metal. The name of the opener indicates a lot of Celtic Frost, remember “Jewel Throne” from “To Mega Therion”. Indeed, the vocalist intersperses some “Ugh” belches and sometimes the guitar lines lie in close proximity to those of the Swiss pioneers. On this subject, “Empire in Flames” provides the evidence. But venomous up-tempo infusions like “Lust in Red” or “A Knife” speak another yet equally filthy language. They deliver dirty, snotty thrash of the cheap yet exciting form. Nocturnal or early Cruel Force come to my mind. There exist definitely worse bands to lean on the shoulder of, if my rotting brain does not let me down.
Some creaky guitar lines sound like an iron dungeon door slamming into the lock. From time to time, they do not win an award for originality, but some things need to be in the oven longer to taste good afterwards. I am not against innovative elements per se. For instance, Attila’s theatrical vocal lines in the title track of Mayhem’s eternal classic (you know its name) were a stunning new feature. Different opinions are forbidden! But I also do not miss experiments as long as I get an appropriate dose of the music I like. This is the case here. Old do not look to the left or to the right, they just celebrate their stubbornness and spend us another title that shows their affinity for previous milestones from Switzerland. “Triumph of D…”, pardon, “Triumph of Hell” is another speedy bonebreaker. Nevertheless, there are also some reptile-like sections to find on this album. Anyway, its material has not much in common with doom metal, to say the least.
To be honest, I haven’t found fillers on “Down with the Nails”, but outstanding killers also do not show up. Everything is okay, resilient and true to the guidelines the ancient idols have set, but five or ten percent more catchy parts would have been helpful. The songs are good, but lack individuality, not excessively, but a little. That’s no big deal – it is just the factor that made it impossible for me to give a higher rating than I did. You can spend a maliciously grinning time with this album, but if you want to check out even better German black thrash, then lend an ear to Ketzer (only the debut!), Desaster (especially the debut) or Cruel Force (maybe not the debut, but “Under the Sign of the Moon”). But beware, the spirit and youth of 1984 are unfortunately not returning.
Rating: 7.3 out of 10178