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A lost classic re-emerges! - 90%

Chris Jennings, September 26th, 2015
Written based on this version: 2015, CD, Divebomb Records

Take Savatage, Nevermore, Iced Earth, Alice In Chains, Soundgarden, Iron Maiden, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin and try and imagine a glorious mix of all those influences and your conclusion should match the incredibly diverse delights of Intrinsic’s sophomore album, originally recorded between 1991 and 1992. Inconceivably ‘lost’ for nearly 25 years, Nails is so much more than just a mere curiosity, it’s a revelation! It’s hard to imagine how this album wouldn’t have made an impact in the early 90’s – such is its uncanny knack for bridging progressive thrash and the grunge sound that proved all-conquering as the 90’s went on – but history was unkind. Finally receiving a long, long overdue release, it’s time to make amends for those lost years.

Unfurling with what may at first seem like a typical variant of thrash – think Sacred Reich meets Sanctuary – with incessant riffing and the kind of hair-raising vocals Warrell Dane so impressed with during his time with Nevermore this is contrasted with a classic Maiden vibe. Fist-pumping, energetic and confidently overblown in its rapid-fire riffing, NWOBHM fans should also lap this up.

That’s the wonder of this unearthed gem, Nails has everything.

The speed/thrash contingent are kept happy while those with more traditional tastes are catered for with a highly immersive mix of classic acoustic Zeppelin-isms, glorious harmonies and exquisite songwriting. This classic rock vibe also ripples through a few AOR moments like a lost mid-80’s Rush number minus the keyboards (thankfully). Histrionic one minute - think Artillery - flowing like liquid gold the next, this epic marrying of disparate styles merely scratches at the surface on what this great album has to offer.

“Denial” is the piece de resistance though; an astonishingly versatile track that is undoubtedly the missing link between thrash and grunge. With Alice In Chains styled melody and the fury dialed down via fluid guitar work and faithful hard rock vocal patterns, Intrinsic’s genius lies in their contrasting of harmony with intermittent thrash tempos. The addition of a pummeling beat-down of an ending that evolves into the heaviest moment on the album tops of an endlessly listenable, progressive thrash classic.

Nails is one of those ‘lost classics’ that actually lives up to its name. How this exquisite little number lay dormant for so long is a crime and any thrash/progressive metal fan worth their salt owes it to themselves to pick this up, immediately.

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