Nervosa – Agony
Label – Napalm Records
Release Date – 3rd June 2016
Brazilian Thrash Metal band Nervosa impressed one and all with their landmark debut in 2014 titled Victim of Yourself. Armed with scorching thrash metal riffagery and raw, raspy vocals, their debut album took us back to the glory days of the Teutonic Thrash Metal era. While Victim of Yourself more or less restricted itself to the Thrash Metal genre, the band explores some new facets of songwriting in their latest offering, Agony.
The album kicks off with “Arrogance” and the band means business right from the get-go. Fully drenched in thrash metal goodness, “Arrogance” hits that sweet spot of groove and raw brutality consistently. Fernanda Lira sounds like a wild jungle cat hissing away in anguish, while guitarist Prika Amaral and drummer Pitchu Ferraz whip up a storm in this supremely strong opener. Right away you know you are in for the ride of your life.
Comparing Agony with Victim of Yourself, I found that the band’s Death Metal influences are more evident on this album than their debut. The band concocts a potent cocktail combining thrashy groove laden hooks with oodles of Death Metal tremolo riffage along with subtle but interesting tempo changes. Likewise, Ferraz’s drum work adds more of a death metal flavor to the mix in many places. Tracks like “Theory of Conspiracy” and “Deception” are great examples. However, what will really surprise the listener is the final track “Wayfarer”. It shows an entirely different facet of the band with Lira’s clean vocals and a distinct bluesy flavor especially during the starting moments of the track. The track smoothly transitions to a mid-tempo gallop before exploding into a fireball of thrashy rhythms and Lira’s trademark vicious growls. The track does preserve the blues elements it introduced in the beginning but tones it down slightly. However, the real surprise comes at the end with almost two minutes of Fernanda Lira’s vocal performance with absolutely no instrumentation. Lira’s clean and soulful voice is powerful to say the least and a great way to end the album. The aggression is relentless in Agony except for this curve ball the band throws at you.
“Intolerance Means War” brings the band’s chemistry to the forefront and shows us how tight the ladies sound together. Prika Amaral not only rips your face apart with sublime thrashy riffage and groovy hooks, but also gangs up with Lira to provide powerful backing vocals. “Guerra Santa” is one of the fastest tracks in the album and also one of my favorites. It is intense, brutal, and definitely worthy of a mosh pit whenever it is played live. Nervosa introduce many clever twists in their compositions that will constantly surprise you. “Surrounded by Serpents” has a nice variation in the intro, slowing things down and giving off a Kerry King vibe, before transforming into a thrash monster and whipping up a supremely groovy ambience. Similarly the way “CyberWar”’s bass intro explodes into the verse section, it will force you to raise those metal horns up and take you back to the glory days of Thrash Metal.
The album is produced really well, mixing old school rawness with a touch of modern production. The distortion is chunky and crisp but does not lose the old school edge. The album spans a little over 45 minutes with 12 songs, but never during its course, does it feels tiring or do you feel that your mind drifts away.
To summarize, Nervosa have released a killer follow-up to their debut album in Agony. It is full of thrashy goodness and old school nostalgia. We also see several new elements in the band’s artillery that will definitely make the fans rejoice. Agony will most likely be one of the best Thrash Metal releases of 2016. Do not miss it.