The third album from Germany's Night In Gales, titled Nailwork, showed a drastic shift in style from the Gothenburg flavor that was prevalent on their first two releases. Here on this 2000 album (now reissued and remastered by Metal Mind Productions), there's more of a reliance on thrash riffs and chunkier grooves, the band moving away somewhat from melodic death metal to a more accessible sound. In addition, Bjoern Goosses mixes in some clean melodic vocals in addition to some Kreator-ish shouts, opting for less of the deep growls that were in adundance on their first two releases. Tunes like the kickoff title track and "Blades to Laughter" feature some catchy melodic vocal passages to go along with the raging extreme metal attack, and the guitar work focuses more on crunchy riffs and less the tasty harmonies that were so evident on the first two albums. That seems to be the case with most of the songs here, as the band is really trying to do something different, but it's not always successful. "Wormsong" is a slower, gothic metal tinged number that has some thrashy moments, but overall just seems to drag with no real focus, and "Filthfinger" sees the band trying a sort of Metallica meets Black Label Society meets Megadeth bit that has some cool riffs, but there's too many ideas and styles going on rendering it unfocused and haphazard.
Despite some weak spots, there's still some solid metal here, like the raging "The Tenmiletongue", and the whiplash thrash of "How to Eat a Scythe" and "Filthfinger", each one containing some excellent riffs and leads from both Frank and Jens Basten. In fact, the two pulverize the listener with some cool staccato riffing on "Down the Throat", one of the most menacing thrash tunes on the CD (Testament fans should eat this one up!), and serve up a Bay Area styled feast on "Quicksilverspine". As if to cement their new status as a 'thrash band', Night In Gales even throws in a cover of the Anthrax classic "Indians", though it's not overly successful thanks to some maniacal screaming vocals.
Somewhat of a mixed bag compared to their first two releases, especially if you liked their take on the melodic death metal genre, Nailwork still has plenty of merit as a solid modern thrash album. As with all of Metal Mind's remasters, this one sports improved sound (crystal clear actually and very punchy) all housed in a lovely digipack. Night In Gales are apparently getting set to unleash some new music, so let's see what direction they go in this time.
2. Blades to Laughter
4. All Scissors Smile
5. How to Eat a Scythe
6. Black Velvet
8. The Tenmiletongue
10. Down the Throat