The Vinyl Verdict: Nails, You Will Never Be One of Us Standard Edition
Welcome back to round two of The Vinyl Verdict, a column in which we look at vinyl from a collector’s perspective, focusing on the quality, packaging, and artwork of new vinyl releases. These albums may have already been reviewed on the site, but The Vinyl Verdict won’t focus on the music — just the physical product. If you missed the last one and want a frame of reference for what’s to come, you can check it out here.
Let’s talk about Nails’ brutal recent release, You Will Never Be One Of Us. This will be a review of the standard edition release, which is probably what most of you will be purchasing. There isn’t anything particularly special about it as a result, so it’s going to be done from a more straight-forward perspective. There are a few other versions that Nuclear Blast has released, but they just seem to be limited edition color runs with the same packaging otherwise (gold, red, and white). Unfortunately I cannot find any information on how many exist in each batch, but it does look like the only limited release that hasn’t been sold out is the red.
This release isn’t a gatefold; it’s a single sleeve engulfed in the album art. But the sleeve’s presentation is quite good; the cardboard feels like quality material, durable, not flimsy. The album art doesn’t seem to have any variance from the CD or cassette releases, but the enlarged presentation offers up much more detail than what I can see on the other covers. I do appreciate the fact that the artwork is fully featured — nothing detracts from its prominence. There is a clear font that is barely noticeable that displays the band/album name, but it’s a gloss that can only be seen under the right light, allowing Jef “Wrest” Whitehead’s artwork to shine. He’s done a fantastic job creating a visceral and eye-catching piece featuring monks engulfed in tentacles as they’re drawn to a demonic presence in the middle.
Inside is another matte black sleeve protecting the vinyl itself. The inner sleeve also features photos of the band’s members — Todd Jones, Taylor Young, and John Gianelli (counter-clockwise) — as their faces emerge from the shadows, their menacing stares fueling the hatred contained in the music itself. Featured on the other side of the sleeve are the album’s tracklist and lyrics. Nothing too out of the ordinary here, just a standard column layout for each song in order.
The vinyl itself is a weighty 180g single LP. Both sides are packed to the brim with tunes.
“You Will Never Be One of Us”
“Friend to All”
“Made to Make you Fail”
“Life is a Death Sentence”
“Violence is Forever”
“The Come Crawling Back”
When I dropped the needle for You Will Never Be One of Us‘ first spin, I did notice some popping, but that hasn’t occurred since. The quality of the recording is very well done, though I do feel like there’s something lost in the analog compared to the FLAC version. The aggressive tone of the guitar and bass creates a layer of added distortion that overwhelms the more powerful punch contained in songs like the title track and “Life is a Death Sentence” that I don’t notice when listened to as a lossless digital file. I had some success alleviating the overpowering grit by messing with my stereo settings (turning down the bass and treble a bit, and raising the mids seemed to help immensely), but the digital files seemed to have so much more punch to them.
I’m glad I picked this up, and I’m sure fans of Nails’ aggressive material will be, too. But it’s not anything to write home about. It’s a solid release, but it’s also one that I think people will be perfectly content picking up in a digital/CD format unless you manage to get your hands on one of the sold out special edition colored vinyls.