Label : Mole

Review by Mortuai

The name Nail may be relatively new in the world of metal but the core members of the group are certainly no strangers to the music business. Vocalist C (a.k.a. Cindy Wiechmann) and guitarist/bassist/vocalist/producer/who knows what else Rhino (a.k.a. Rainer Wiechmann) were the founders of Newfoundland’s hard rock/metal group KAOS, who recorded two albums in the mid-to-late 80’s before relocating to London, Ontario. KAOS vanished off the map soon after but Cindy and Rainer eventually resurfaced as members of Canada’s hard rock legends Helix in the early 2000’s. After their departure from Helix in 2006, they founded Nail, releasing their debut album in October of 2007. The group is, as you would expect considering they’re being reviewed on this site, female-fronted metal, but if the words ‘gothic’, ‘epic,’ or ‘soprano’ crossed your mind for an instant, you’re not even close. Nail is hard-edged groove-laden blues-based rock/metal with an occasional nod to the progressive à la Tool. Cindy‘s voice is powerful, energetic, and brimming with attitude, a perfect match for Rainer‘s heavy, driving guitar riffs and strong, solid bass lines. The closest equivalent I can think of to her vocal style would be a slightly higher-pitched and somewhat less rough-edged version of Kate French during the Chastain days. Production on the disc is stellar, which isn’t surprising given Rainer owns his own studio and has produced and engineered albums for groups like Thine Eyes Bleed, Kittie, Blood Of Christ and of course, Helix. Upon first listen, I will say I was wondering for a short time if this really was meant to be in my review pile for this site, as Rainer‘s decently-melodic but heavily-compressed vocals dominate most of opening cut “No Way Out” with Cindy playing more of a backup role. While it’s not a bad song by any stretch of the imagination, it’s a bit of a head-scratcher as a choice for a leadoff, as it’s not nearly as energetic or interesting as much of what follows. Musically, though, it does give a nice sample of what’s to come with all instruments shining through strongly in the mix and a fine example of Rainer‘s tasty rock-oriented Michael-Schenker-esque guitar soloing serving as punctuation. Had the entire album continued in the vein of this track, I might’ve labeled it ‘good, but nothing great.’ Fortunately, beginning with second cut “Don’t Say It”,’ the vocal roles are reversed and the album shifts gears from just stepping along to strutting, with the music settling into a heavy midtempo groove and Cindy belting out the lyrics, her voice generating some skin-shivering moments in a few places and positively dripping with conviction and energy the whole way. It gets even better on following track “Little White Lie”, where the band moves from strut to full-blown swagger, and peaks on the album’s best song, “Right Now”,’ which features truly impassioned vocal lines as well as emotive lead guitar and acoustic passages interspersed with the anthemic choruses and even contains a bit of an interesting stylistic experiment in the inclusion of a bagpipe outro from Rob and Sandy Campbell of The Mudmen. There are a few other little ‘experiments’ on the remainder of the disc, some of which work really well and some of which only work semi-well. The former includes the Tool-esque bass meanderings on “Let Me Out” and the latter includes the male vocals on the same track, which are delivered by Rainer in an angry rap as opposed to his usual melodic style. The fact that I actually still kind of like those vocals even though I generally detest rap speaks volumes about how good the overall product is in my book. While none of the other tracks quite get to the level of excellence found in the album’s first third, there isn’t a bad song on the disc. Special mention should be given to two songs which may serve as anthems for ladies who have become a little…or a lot…frustrated with members of the opposite gender, namely the addictively menacing “Spider” and the sneering-yet-fun “F.O.A.D.”…the latter half of which stands for “And Die”. I’ll leave you to figure out the first half on your own. ‘Don’t say it if you don’t mean it – honesty means everything’ advises one lyrical line. So I say it and I mean it: Nail is overall an excellent release with only a few flaws marring its surface. Great rock grooves, a bit of a progressive edge here and there, excellent rock guitar solos, and vocals swathed in attitude and conviction. If that sounds appealing to you, I highly recommend you give them a spin. And while you’re at it, drop by one of their shows and ask ’em to play “March of the Gremlins”, I bet they’ll laugh.

Rating – 90/100

 

Tracklist

  1. No Way Out
  2. Little White Lie
  3. Don’t Say It
  4. Reaper
  5. Right Now
  6. Capre Diem
  7. Spider
  8. Le Me Out
  9. Fishbowl
  10. Bottom Line
  11. Fuck Off and Die

 

Line Up

  • Cindy Wiechmann – Vocals
  • Rainer Wiechmann – Guitars, Vocals
  • Darcy Maudsley – Bass, Vocals 
  • Dale Penney – Drums, Vocals 

 

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