In the thirty-two years since the savage double gut-punch of Reign In Blood (DefJam) and Darkness Descends (Combat), the popularity and aesthetic of Thrash Metal has gone on an undulating journey, from the progressive convolutions of …And Justice For All (Vertigo), through the refining and streamlining of a Persistence of Time (Island), to a decade in the wasteland where ideas and delivery effectively choked in the dust of a seemingly redundant style. Resurrection was found in the party Thrash rebirth headed by the likes of Municipal Waste, and then the more fundamental stylings of Evile and the like. But throughout it all, the Metal underground never lost sight of the devastation that 1986 brutality – the extreme edge of Thrash espoused by Dark Angel, Kreator and Sodom – and the effectiveness of vicious riffing, feral vocals and a relentless battery brings, it’s just that nowadays it’s possible to bring the noise to a wider audience.
And on their third album, the undiluted lesson in violence that is Downfall of Mankind (Napalm), Nervosa are poised to bridge that gap between ferocity and exposure.
The formula is clear – unbridled aggression and a slew of savage, tight, riffs all underpinned by Luana Demetto’s precision hostility behind the kit and topped by Fernanda Lira’s throat-ripping vocal shred, with the Sao Paolo firebrand spitting vehemence. Don’t be fooled, though, into thinking that Downfall of Mankind is all bluster and rage as Nervosa indulge the spirit of the early outpourings of their homeland’s biggest export to great effect, mixing things ups with the masterful touches of Sepultura’s de facto classics, and the kind of grooves and tempo changes that made Beneath The Remains and Arise (both Roadrunner) such world-class affairs.
Things do hurtle along like a runner on an out-of-control treadmill for a touch too long considering this isn’t the most diverse offering, though ‘Raise Your Fist!’ changes things up, replete with Martin Luther King sample and call for unity, and the closing duo of the stomping ‘Cultura do Estupro’, and punky bonus track of ‘Selfish Battle’ show that they can mix things up when they need, and Lira finds ways to inject fervourous hooks into ‘…And Justice For Whom?’, ‘Never Forget, Never Repeat’ and ‘Kill The Silence’.
Downfall of Mankind demonstrates an achievement of the potential shown on their previous, rawer efforts, and with riots such as the socially aware ‘Enslave’, and the unrelenting ‘Fear, Violence and Massacre’, Nervosa hit that sweet spot at the far, aggressive, extreme edge of Thrash.