Nervosa Credit: Barbara Ciravegna

Last spring, the future of Nervosa seemed uncertain. The powerful Brazilian thrash-metal band had changed drummers a few times since forming in 2010, but in April 2020 bassist and vocalist Fernanda Lira and drummer Luana Dametto, two-thirds of the trio on 2018’s Downfall of Mankind, quit the group. That left just one founding member, guitarist Prika Amaral, to rebuild from scratch. That she did so in such a short time, under pandemic conditions—and emerged this month with the solid, blistering new album Perpetual Chaos—is nothing short of heroic. Nervosa’s new lineup is multinational: lead vocalist Diva Satanica hails from Spain, drummer Eleni Nota from Greece, and bassist Mia Wallace from Italy. Perpetual Chaos was produced by Amaral and Martin Furia at Artesonao Casa de Grabación in Malaga, Spain, a studio they chose in part for its isolated and beautiful location—living communally in such surroundings during the sessions could easily help these four musicians sound as seamless together as if they’d been playing together for years. Opening cut “Venomous” is everything a thrash album should be right out of the gate: tight, fierce, and swaggering. “Blood Eagle” segues from sparse, blood-chilling percussion into thick shuffling riffs and Satanica’s savage growl, and it shows off Nota’s drumming to great advantage—she’s not as flashy here as she is on some of the album’s faster tracks, but she’s steady and powerful. “Guided by Evil” starts out with an archetypal doom riff before erupting into the classic thrash bait-and-switch of speed and stop, and also gives Amaral’s straightforward guitar soloing a moment in the (eclipsed) sun. Though Nervosa are committed to their all-woman lineup, the band invited three men to make cameos on the new album. Singer Erik “A.K.” Knutson of Flotsam & Jetsam gives an epic Iron Maiden-ish performance on “Rebel Soul,” bassist Marcel “Schmier” Schirmer of Destruction contributes vocals to the anarchic pounding of “Genocidal Command,” and Brazilian guitarist Guilherme Miranda from Entombed A.D. appears on the boiling “Until the Very End.” Perpetual Chaos moves assuredly between pure thrash and death metal, and Nervosa prove they can keep the pedal all the way to the floor without succumbing to monotony.   v