It’s been 4 years since Nervosa burst onto the scene from São Paulo, Brazil; making many new fans worldwide playing metal festivals right through to small intimate venues promoting “Victim of Yourself” and “Agony”. The recent thrash metal revival has helped this considerably, despite cynics and the metal old guard complaining that this has been done before. Nevertheless, Nervosa and their ilk continue to thrive and the bubble shows now signs of bursting just yet.
Upon the first spin of their new album “Downfall of Mankind”, it immediately becomes apparent that the production of the album sounds huge. Notably, due to the band joining forces with Martin Furia who worked with household metal names such as Destruction, Flotsam and Jetsam and Evil Invaders, touring with them as their sound engineer. The difference between Nervosa and their past two albums truly is night and day, tracks such as ‘Horrordome’ and ‘Never Forget Never Repeat’ sounding particularly feral with a dominating presence that felt like their prior work was a practice run in comparison; Fernanda Lira’s vocals in particular sound stronger than ever before – with a ferocity that can strip forests bare and a register akin to that of the late Chuck Schuldiner. The abrasive guitar and bass work of Fernanda Lira and Prika Amaral for the most part leans heavily towards the death metal end of the trash metal crossover spectrum, while their new drummer Luana Dametto brings equally feral beats to their improved sonic mix.
The album swings into a thrash metal approach halfway through, notably the track ‘…And Justice For Whom?’ aims for a mid period Sepultura-esque sound with the backing vocals of Prika Amaral taking on the tried and tested terrace chant style. Definite Slayer influences can be heard in ‘Kill The Silence’ and ‘No Mercy’, that shows Prika Amaral doing her best Kerry King impressions that will bring a nostalgic smile to the listener. However, the latter half of the album may drag for some listeners and those with shorter attention spans; ‘Raise Your Fist’ will either sound like a massive overbearing rock radio station cliché that didn’t need to make the album cut, or be the perfect mosh pit anthem to rabble rouse the crowds. ‘Conflict’ and ‘Cultura de Estupro’ picks the trailing end of the album up with high paced vintage thrash metal riffs while the latter’s vocals evoke the spirit of Brujeria, due to being sung in their own native tongue. The closing track ‘Selfish Battle’ is an oddity that takes on a whole operatic vocal approach that’s at odds with the rest of the album’s general style, but the execution overall is certainly top notch. To be critical, it could be argued that the album could be shaved down to around 8 to 10 tracks and hover around the 40-45 minute mark; the perfect ‘Goldilocks Zone’ that worked extremely well for their predecessors. Personally. ‘Selfish Battle’ would’ve been perfect to make as a 4 track EP including the tracks ‘Raise Your Fist’, ‘Kill The Silence’ and ‘Never Forget, Never Repeat’; issued on cassette tape or limited print coloured LP that would be a perfect collectors item for the fans.
Nervosa have knocked the ball clean out of the park with “Downfall of Mankind”. The album contains an infectious enthusiasm that has been given a chance to shine like never before, thanks to improved production values and an overall sense of infectious enthusiasm to their writing. They have climbed the tiers of the scene through a lot of hard work, towering head and shoulders above the cynics who write them off as a three piece all woman thrash metal footnote in metal’s history. Nervosa have truly made their mark, and are here to stay.