12. Nails, 'You Will Never Be One of Us'
On their third album, Californian trio Nails focuses on expressing a singular feeling – anger – and does so as purely and intensely as sonically possible. The result is 10 short shocks of death metal-damaged hardcore, most coming in under two minutes in length, each a potential knockout blow. What makes the record more than just an exercise in blunt-force trauma, however, are the hooks: Singer, guitarist and songwriter Todd Jones has long proven an uncanny ability to make the crushing catchy, and on You Will Never Be One of Us he outdoes himself. "Violence Is Forever" is a hyperspeed roar-along, and relatively epic closer "They Come Crawling Back" is a grooving, atmospheric swamp-march that targets the headbanging reflex as well as any metal song this year. B.G.