NERVOSA — Agony (review)

NERVOSA — Agony album cover Album · 2016 · Thrash Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
adg211288
Though active since 2010, Brazilian thrashers Nervosa are still a relatively new act on the scene, with Agony (2016) being only their second album. It follows on from Victim of Yourself (2014). The debut was an album that I liked a lot, but I've not since been able to shake the feeling that it didn't quite live up to the strengths of Nervosa's demo 2012 (re-released as the EP Time of Death), especially the track Masked Betrayer, which I consider a monster of a thrash metal track.

With Agony though Nervosa, which consists of three members in a traditional power trio line-up, seem to have really stepped up their game in all aspects, song-writing not least among them. But the real draw would have to be how fierce their brand of thrash metal sounds. Though it's a sound familiar from Victim of Yourself, every dial seems to have been turned up a notch, with some more overt death metal influences creeping into the riffs. It's not a flashy kind of thrash such as that portrayed on the recent Vektor album Terminal Redux (which is great, but I do kinda fear it will eclipse the strengths of the more straight up thrash releases of this year, which also includes Shapeshifter by Nervosa's labelmates Mortillery), but it's not meant to be. Instead it's an album will brutally pummel you, which makes it's title rather fitting. Vocalist Fernanda Lira tops the music with an utterly vicious snarl that is the perfect complement to the music, at different times bordering on both death and black metal standards.

Once you know what to expect there aren't any surprises to be found in the main album, just forty so minutes of aggressive thrash with more individually memorable songs than Victim of Yourself had. I'm personally especially drawn to tracks such as Hostages, CyberWar and Theory of Conspiracy. They still have some small issues of repetition though, Intolerance Means War being a prime example of that, but overall Agony is certainly a step in the right direction for the band. If there's a true fault to be found it's that they could still stand to vary up their style a bit more often than they do. There is something to be said for a focussed sound of course, but the small influences that do creep into Agony suggest to me that there's an even more interesting, yet no less aggressive, Nervosa album just waiting to be written.

This is a feeling somewhat reinforced by the bonus track Wayfarer, albeit it in a different manner than I would really want to hear from them as part of their main sound. I normally wouldn't bother to mention a bonus track in a review but here it is warranted as Nervosa have seized an opportunity to show that they can do things very differently when they choose to. Featuring cleanly sung vocals in a surprisingly bluesy style from Fernanda Lira (at least I presume it is her as the notes that accompany my promo copy don't mention any different) in addition to her usual snarls, including a completely unaccompanied section to close it, the song shows that although Nervosa seem content at the moment to just thrash away and kick arse (which they certainly do on Agony) that they're not a one trick pony and that they could, theoretically, reinvent themselves at any time. Of course Wayfarer is nowhere near as aggressive as the typical Nervosa track, so it's little wonder that it's listed as a bonus. Thrown into the middle of Agony and it probably would have actually disrupted the listening experience, but it does at least prove that a more diverse Nervosa release could be on the cards sometime, which makes looking forward to their next release all that more exciting. For now though I'm very content with what the three ladies have put together on Agony; it's a great refinement of what Victim of Yourself offered.
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adg211288 wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Wayfarer for me is more interesting in an 'oh that's different' kind of way. As I said in the review if they tried to do something like that as part of the main album I doubt it would work out very well.

You can sample all songs here including Wayfarer by the way: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7scD8oCTluE

Nightfly wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Another positive review of this album, going to have to check them out pronto.
Unitron wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Great review, can't wait to hear this one. Wayfarer sounds like a really good song.

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