Reviewed: [January 2021]
Released [2021 Napalm Records]
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
After the Brazilian thrash trio Nervosa imploded last spring when bassist/vocalist Fernanda Lira and drummer Luana Dametto quit, founding guitarist and lone remaining member Prika Amaral didn’t waste any time getting the band regrouped and rearmed. Eight months later, despite the pandemic and three fresh faces joining the ranks – and all hailing from Europe – Nervosa have returned new and arguably improved with their first album together and fourth overall.
Joining Amaral for Perpetual Chaos are vocalist Diva Satanica (Spain, also of Bloodhunter), ex-Abbath/Triumph Of Death bassist Mia Wallace (Italy) and drummer Eleni Nota from Greece. And each brings a certain strength that really gives Nervosa a kick in the ass and expands the band’s sonic palette beyond the bulldog thrash of their previous releases that recalled Destruction with a hint of early Death in Lira’s Schuldiner-esque snarl.
Perpetual Chaos is heavier, feistier and more well-rounded, with death metal taking a more prominent role in the band’s sound, which has grown noticeably more complex and brutal here. Nota’s agile, athletic drumming gives things a boost all on their own, but throw Satanica’s feral, roaring vocals – which recall those of ex-Arch Enemy frontwoman Angela Gossow – over the top and it takes things to a whole new level.
Where there was a punk-like simplicity and directness to much of the band’s earlier material, here it’s a more all-consuming assault from the get-go with the assertive opener “Venomous” proving the girls mean some serious business and are ready to bring more aggression and muscle to table. “Guided By Evil” and the barn-burning “People Of The Abyss” follow suit as Satanica shrieks top Amaral’s break-neck but beefy riffs – and occasional dive-bomb leads – and the turbulent rhythms of Nota and Wallace, and it’s off to the races. That said, the Obituary-like chug of “Perpetual Chaos” and slog-and-sprint back and forth of the awesome “Blood Eagle” and album closer “Under Ruins” offer some added dynamics to keep things from settling into a rut.
And even the more straight up thrash numbers here show a bit of nuance and flair. “Time To Fight” delivers hardcore bludgeon that is not to be trifled with, while “Genocidal Command” and “Rebel Soul” offer guest vocals from Destruction’s Schmier and Flotsam and Jetsam’s Erik “AK” Knutson, respectively, that if nothing else show just what a formidable frontwoman Diva Satanica is, as she manages to out-shout them both as the band blasts away.
Amaral got exactly who she needed for each of the vacant spots, and built a band that is bigger, badder and better in just about every way. Perpetual Chaos is a spirited comeback from Nervosa, who seemingly have captured lightning in a bottle given their fall and rise over the past year – especially as fucked up a year as the last one has been for everyone.