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A Look Back At Nails’ Harrowing Debut Album ‘Unsilent Death’ With Vocalist Todd Jones

Jack Rogers
Jack Rogers 15 December 2020 at 14.40

As a 10th anniversary edition is released, we look back on the album that started it all for Nails with the man who masterminded it. 

Nails have just released a deluxe version of their debut album 'Unsilent Death' via Southern Lord, celebrating ten years since its release.

A swirling, savage and harrowingly sincere listen from start to finish, the record introduced the world to the band in the most brutal and brilliantly harsh manner possible. The new version of the album also features tracks that were never released from the sessions over a decade ago and completes the story of one of the most influential and affecting crossover releases of the century so far. 

We caught up with vocalist Todd Jones to find out where the album stemmed from and how he reflects on that period of his life from where he is now...

What are the immediate emotions that come to mind when you think back to this period of time when Nails was coming together and creating music for the first time?
"I try to forget that period of my life as I was really low, hated my job, wasn't happy in my personal life etc. I was hyper-focused on completing 'Unsilent Death' as I felt at the time that it was possibly the final musical statement that I was going to make. Very short-sighted, but that's how I felt at the time being in my late 20's and seemingly not feeling as if I had much of a future ahead of me."

What did you feel like your intentions were for the band at the very beginning and how did they change, if at all, as you set about making 'Unsilent Death'?
"The only intentions for Nails was to make music, play shows, and release a 12" record. Still the same intentions."

What was the actual process like from taking an idea and turning it into song? Was it as fast and frantic as the sound that you were making or was it more considered?
"From my perspective, I try not to include anything that doesn't make me excited. So, it takes a while. I don't come up with something I like everytime I sit down with a guitar."

How were the other factors of your life bleeding into what you were producing? Did Nails offer a form of relief for you?
"Making the record made me feel like I had a purpose in that moment, which I needed."

How did you feel when you saw the reaction that this batch of songs got? Were you expecting people to resonate so viscerally?
"The album took a little while to really catch on as it was self released with Southern Lord picking it up 8 months after initial release. I didn't expect anything from the album other than personal satisfaction that it was finished."

Where did the additional tracks on this 10 year release come from?
"For 'Unsilent Death', Nails tracked 15 songs. All 15 which are presented in the 10-year anniversary release. 'Leech' and 'Enemy' didn't make the album because the album was made to be 10 songs, total. 'Leech' was written as a potential opener for the album but it didn't hit hard enough to put it at the top of an album. After 'Conform' was completed, 'Leech' wouldn't be making the album because 'Conform' is a better song and is a better opening song than 'Leech'. 'Enemy' was written to be a mid-tempo chunky track. After the song 'Unsilent Death' was written, 'Enemy 'was off the track listing."

Did you ever think that you would release them and how come they did fit in with the original record for you?
"No, I never thought Nails would release them. For this 10 year anniversary release having a collection of the recording session as a whole seemed like a pretty good way to celebrate the album and give the people who enjoy Nails that whole session in one convenient place."

How do you feel about this batch of songs in particular from where you are now ten years later? How do they compare to how you look back on the experiences of making 'Abandon All Life' and 'You Will Never Be One Of Us'?
"Each record has its own challenges. I don't spend much time looking back or comparing. From my perspective, thinking ahead about what has to be done to move forward is what generally fills my thoughts when it comes to Nails."

How has what Nails represents for you changed over the course of this decade? Has its purpose changed at all for you?
"I love playing hardcore/punk/metal. I will never stop."

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