In 2016 I was pleasantly surprised when I at random started reviewing Nervosa‘s sophomore full-length Agony. The pure ferocity and brutality that these 3 young ladies from Brazil managed to put down on record was mind-blowing and made me an instant fan. Throw on top of that the fact that they’re the most friendly and thankful people ever and every time destroy it when they play live, makes them a band you should definitely keep an eye on. So with much anticipation I was awaiting their third full-length release to see if they could confirm their rapid rise to the higher regions of metal fame. And here it is: Downfall of Mankind!
And you get exactly what you wanted from Nervosa on their 3rd album! After a short ominous intro for the album, the first real song Horrordome kicks in with a bloodcurdling beast of a scream by vocalist/bassist Fernanda Lira, immediately dragging you by the hair into the blistering pace that is present almost throughout the whole album. While a lot of other bands might decide to go a bit more melodic on later albums, they decide to go the complete opposite way. Straight from the first track they feel more brutal than ever, adding even more death metal sauce to their thrash metal sound than earlier. With a very heavily present bass, crushing guitar riffs by Prika, fast-paced driving drums and harsh vocals I have the feeling that if I still had long hair it would be blown straight back by the sheer power of the music thrown at me. With one of their singles Never Forget Never Repeat they continue down the ADHD-inducing pace in a very typical Nervosa way.
As per usual, I hear loads of influences by great underground death-infused thrash metal outfits like Dark Angel or the Teutonic grand masters of Destruction, without sounding too outdated or like copy paste work. With And Justice For Whom? they throw in a fistful of 80’s speed/thrash metal in your face which (just like all the other tracks) got perfectly immortalized on record by producer Martin Furia (who worked previously with the likes of Evil Invaders, Destruction and Flotsam & Jetsam, so no wonder)! Their other single Kill the Silence is another prime example of the Nervosa sound and often sounds more heavy than a lot of their more experienced counterparts do it nowadays. One tiny point of criticism maybe, is that in some parts of this song (and some other tracks) the drums by their new drummer Luana Dametto sound a bit more generic compared to Pitchu Ferraz‘ work on Agony. On the other hand, they drive the songs so damn well that it’s really not a bother to me at all.
No Mercy is another track that’ll turn every live crowd into a boiling mess of a moshpit and very heavily Sepultura-inspired Raise Your Fist! is a fitting ode to all the militants and protesters in the world who are trying to accomplish good in this world. A nice touch is the start of the song with samples of some of the most famous socially engaging speeches like for instance the “I have a dream…” speech by Martin Luther King, the Nobel Prize speech of female education activist Malala Yousafzai or the speech for equality by Nelson Mandela. Besides that, the song is actually nothing too special, but will surely turn into a fan favorite at live shows with a shit ton of fists raised in honor of those who want to change the world. Lyrically it’s an extremely simple song and that’s something that happens in a lot of their songs, though it doesn’t feel forced or dishonest at any point. The last track of the album brings the almost obligatory Portuguese song of the album with Cultura do Estupro and guest vocalist João Gordo (from the legendary Brazilian crossover thrash band Ratos de Porão) to end with another blistering thrash song. Weirdly they added another bonus track that sounds very “Flotsam & Jetsam“. A cool song but a bit out of place after all the brutality to be found on the record.
Nervosa definitely confirmed their rightful spot among the ranks of some of the best death/thrash bands the world has. On Downfall of Mankind they went even more extreme than before without losing their groove. The political messages might sometimes be a bit too simply or generic translated into the lyrics, but that makes it all that much easier to shout along to with the record or at live shows! Are they bringing something original? Nope. But they didn’t intend to re-invent the wheel here, they took the elements of the bands they grew up with and love so much, made their own songs based on that and absolutely nailed it. When something that has been done before gets redone this well, no one should complain. These gals are giving other thrash metal bands – young and old – definitely a run for their money!
Release date: June 1st, 2018
Label: Napalm Records
3. Never Forget Never Repeat
6. … And Justice for Whom?
8. Kill the Silence
9. No Mercy
10. Raise Your Fist!
11. Fear, Violence and Massacre
13. Cultura do Estupro
14. Selfish Battle