Nailgun…a bit of a quality find, this, hailing from across the North Sea in that there Germany. I’m a bit of a sucker for a melody every now and then, as not even the most stalwart of us can exist on a diet of gore-spattered death metal or arse-worryingly deep doom bass tones alone. Nailgun have been in existence since 2008, and this is their second full length album, though I don’t have the benefit of having heard their first release, “Painindustry”.

In terms of tying this beast down, it’s a tricky old prospect. Pleasingly, they don’t actually safely sit within one genre box, taking some of the best ideas from a number of metal milieus, and creating something just a little bit special all for themselves. Taking a dash of that modern Paradise Lost gothic nature that German bands seem to do so well, and then adding more than a soupcon of Iron Maiden pure heavy metal bravado, clean, dark foreboding vocals and some grit and fire of a traditionalist thrash vibe, Nailgun have (ho-ho) nailed a recipe all of their own. More than once on this eleven track fire cracker, I have found myself nodding my head involuntarily, and while the music doesn’t easily come to rest on one easy genre convention, the one constant is the quality of the music. The guitars, in particular, require some special attention. There are some amazing melodies being wrought in the background, which although clearly coming from the power metal school, are also tempered by being tastefully introduced within the confines of each song without dominating them.

Special mention also of the production, which is as finely balanced as any I have heard this year, managing to both preserve the integrity of each song, while also presenting each instrument clearly. An example of this is on the majestic “Change of Seasons”, which has a chugging rhythmic verse, and some soaring, melodic choruses. It would have been easy to lose the grit of the song in the emotion of the chorus, a mistake which so many other German bands have been prone to make, yet there is enough denim inspired grime and attitude here to offset the polish and sheen of the guitars. That the band should be able to hang so many ideas together in just one album is an accomplishment in itself, but they manage to get a firm grip of their song writing and never let any one motif overwhelm the quality of the track. Excellent stuff all round.

(8/10 Chris Davison)