ALBUM REVIEW: Agony – Nervosa

All-female thrash metal band NERVOSA are back with their second studio album, Agony. Since their debut album in 2014, Victim of Yourself, the Brazilian thrashers have caught the attention of fans of thrash metal all over the world and have been given the nod of approval from the pioneers of the genre such as KREATOR, SLAYER and DESTRUCTION. Will Agony be able to match up to the successes of its predecessor?

For a trio, the sound of NERVOSA is pretty hard-hitting, it is full and sounds as though there is more going on, but it is simply just the extent of the bands talent. Arrogance kicks off the album with an almighty blast, the one song alone shows that the album is going to top Victim of Yourself immediately. As the album continues with Theory of Conspiracy and Deception, it is pretty obvious to point out that already Agony is just charging straight to the finish line as being one of the best thrash albums to be released this year.

Since their previous album, Victim of Yourself, NERVOSA appear to have kept that same fire in the music, however been able to craft the sound they want to achieve significantly more. This is definitely noticeable in Intolerance Means War, it’s possibly the angriest song on the album, it’s fast, it’s furious and from start to finish, there is no opportunity to giving your neck a rest from the maniacal head-banging. There is something about this song in particular that stands out above everything else, Intolerance Means War sounds as though the band have been releasing albums from the start with the rest of them in the ‘80s.

When you have riffs going off in tracks such as Guerra Santa and Hostages, you know that they are a band that has come out of the completely wrong generation. Everything, especially in Hostages oozes with hints of ‘80s and ‘90s thrash. Over the years, thrash is still one of the angriest genres in the metal scene, but it has been competed against with so many more sub-genres that have surfaced, especially with recent years but NERVOSA have really laid out that the genre hasn’t lost it at all and is still one of the most passionate genres out there when it comes to making music about something you really don’t like at all.

One of the best things about Agony is that each song gets heavier as the album progresses. It goes from being pretty heavy and classic to just throwing it all on table and losing it. Hypocrisy is the finest example of just how heavy it gets, the shift in dynamics not only musically but vocally is absolutely skull-crushing, Fernanda Lira is effortlessly able to just belt out so much fury in her voice, it’s almost unreal. The track alone is a work of art, it’s got a substantial amount of elements to it that just makes it completely raw but polished at the same time, and to be able to do that takes real skill and talent, something the thrash trio don’t fall short of.

Whilst Agony has been a pure thrash assault, NERVOSA show their talent with closing track Wayfarer. It still has the obvious thrash elements as the track develops but they lay all cards on the table, especially during the intro. The band have taken a bluesy approach to the track in which Fernanda Lira belts out some of the most stunning clean vocals, something completely unexpected from her, considering by this point her echoing growls have been so significant to the sound of the album. As Wayfarer continues however, it is all left behind and the band mix blues with thrash and they make it work so flawlessly, especially as the track draws to a close and we are left with an almost gospel vocal solo. To do something like this after such a face-melting album, is very daring but in the weirdest way possible, it just goes together like salt and pepper. In a strange way, it doesn’t leave a calming feeling after such brute forces have taken place, it leaves a chill to the air that just makes you wonder what has just gone on, but it’s so unusual you are left craving more.

Whilst Victim of Yourself wasn’t a bad album, NERVOSA have come a long way in the past two years and have been able to craft their sound even more than before. Being able to have such a consistency in the music and yet be able to show they have improved significantly proves that NERVOSA are on track to being one of the best new-blood bands in thrash metal alone. For a genre that is heavily male dominated and seen as a ‘boys club’, these ladies have proven that it is time for a bit of modernisation to the genre and it’s about time that they are allowed to join.

They have been able to establish their sound and produce what they want with what sounds to be effortlessly done. They have mixed in so many elements of thrash, but also have been able to explore mixing up the genre at the end and show what they are capable of and at this point, NERVOSA are capable of taking on the thrash world.

Rating: 9/10

Nervosa Agony

Agony is out June 3 via Napalm Records

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Jessica Howkins

Co Editor-in-Chief for Distorted Sound Magazine, Music Journalism student.