Monday 8 February 2021

Nervosa - Perpetual Chaos (2021)

Country: Brazil
Style: Thrash Metal
Rating: 7/10
Release Date: 22 Jan 2021
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For those who like their thrash played fast, over quickly and with a tinge of death metal, Nervosa are exactly what you're looking for. They're a Brazilian band, formed in 2010, but with a new line-up that's notably international. Guitarist Prika Amaral isn't merely the only founding member; she's the only musician here to appear on their three prior albums, as she hired everyone else fresh in 2020. Vocalist Diva Satanica is Spanish and she also sings for Bloodhunter. Bassist Mia Wallace is Italian and played for The True Endless for a decade. Drummer Eleni Nota is Greek and also plays with Lightfold.

Amaral is a ferocious guitarist in the Teutonic style, so it's not too surprising when Schmier provides guest vocals on Genocidal Command, a song that could have been a Destruction original. Being a big fan of that band, it's telling that it doesn't seem remotely out of place amongst the other tracks here, even though he only guests on that one. The Destruction style continues throughout, songs like Time to Flight and People of the Abyss carrying the same blistering mix of speed metal precision and punk attitude. Nothing here reaches the four minute mark, but Time to Flight is easily the shortest at just over two and a half.

I don't believe I've heard any of the other members of the band before, in their other projects, but it seems to me as if Amaral knew precisely what she was doing when she brought them on board. I would expect that she headhunted them specifically for Nervosa, even though they're known for a variety of other styles. Lightfold is a progressive metal band, for instance, but Nota is a natural playing thrash; The True Endless were black metal but Wallace also fits here like she's only ever played thrash. Given how much death metal there is in Satanica's voice, it's hardly surprising to find that Bloodhunter are melodeath. It works well here, adding a darker depth to the frenetic thrash sound.

There is some variety here. Nervosa slow down at points, especially on Blood Eagle, and they're good at the midpace, even if they're better at full belt. Incidentally, that song's intro reminds very much of Tom Waits, which is not at all what I expected. Another guest vocalist, Erik A.K. of Flotsam and Jetsam fame, brings a different flavour to his song, Rebel Soul, though that never feels like a different band.

Mostly though, this sticks to the core style that runs throughout the album, which is fast and frenetic thrash. The best songs here, like Time to Fight, Genocidal Command and People of the Abyss, play out that way, even if some, like Under Ruins, vary the pace a little more. Fast and frenetic is what Amaral does best and the new fish help her do it, as does the excellent production by Martin Furia. People of the Abyss has such an uncompromising attitude that it's a serious shock to find that we can track every instrument on it without any trouble at all.

A little more variety would certainly make for a more interesting album and I believe Nervosa should be open to that, but this album succeeds at doing exactly what thrash metal was meant to do, which is to clean our clock for three quarters of an hour. It's no nonsense, heads down, uncompromising thrash that ought to generate some serious pits when gigs start to open back up again.

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