Release Title: Agony
Label: Napalm Records
Genre: Retro Thrash Metal
2. Theory of Conspiracy
4. Intolerance Means War
5. Guerra Santa
6. Failed System
8. Surrounded by Serpents
9. Cyber War
The second full-length from Brazilian thrashers Nervosa positions them near the top of the class for the South American revival scene and perhaps the movement in general. As expected for acts in this type of scene, the main focus for the majority of the album is the old-school Bay Area riff-work prominent on the songs which generates the same crunchy, tightly-wound rhythms that were present back then, coming off with the same fiery energy and drive here that makes that material all the more impressive for creating that same impact. Without much soloing featured, instead the main focus is on the rhythms and occasional lead-work being featured, giving this one a far more mid-tempo vibe overall with a few touches off into the more brutal and blistering tempos that works nicely here adding a nice impact to the proceedings when they occur as it acts accordingly to the tempered rhythms being focused on by the majority of the tracks. This though is clearly exacerbated by the fact that the album is slightly too long for it’s own good, featuring a few too many tracks here that serve the same purpose as each other so it really feels like it could’ve used a trim to knock off one or two to make for a tighter and less repetitive experience as that gets highlighted listening to three tracks in a row featuring the same effects for the most part, which really serves as the one lone flaw here. Had this trimmed off one or two of the weaker offerings this would’ve scored quite high overall.
The first half here features a lot of strong work overall. Opener ‘Arrogance’ brings blistering drumming and tight, crunchy riff-work along to a raging mid-tempo charge with pounding rhythms, plenty of deep, heavy riff-work and dynamic drumming that works over several varied tempo changes leading to furious riff-work into the series of leads into the finale for a decent enough opener. ‘Theory of Conspiracy’ immediately blasts through furious crunchy riff-work and plenty of raging drumming that races along at a charging mid-tempo pace that allows the swirling rhythms to charge alongside the crunchy patterns leading into plenty of utterly pummeling breakneck riffing and furious drumming into the final half for a stand-out highlight. ‘Deception’ uses simple, build-up crunchy riff-work with a strong series of swirling leads alongside the pounding drumming that works into the screeching leads of the solo section as the frantic, chaotic leads hold along through the tight, dynamic rhythms as the crunchy riffing leads through the finale for a solid and enjoyable effort. ‘Intolerance Means War’ features raging leads and plenty of pounding drumming whipping along through a series of dense, tightly-wound rhythms propelled along at a frantic pace with plenty of swirling leads mixed along to the crunchy riffing and tight drumming leading along through the final half for a solid and decent-enough effort. ‘Guerra Santa’ fires off tight, blistering riff-work and plenty of ravenous rhythms with the tight, blasting drumming keeping the flurry of tightly-wound riff-work firing along at a furious pace that charges along with the frantic patterns along through the final half for another strong highlight. ‘Failed System’ utilizes a tight chugging intro with plenty of fiery drumming blasting along to the frantic rhythms charging along through the twisting swirling leads pounding along to the furious thrashing riff-work leading through the frantic solo section and carrying on throughout the finale for another strong thrashing highlight.
The second half doesn’t feel as immediate as the first half but has a lot to like. ‘Hostages’ works through a stylish, plodding series of rhythms with plenty of pounding drumming that opens up into a blistering mid-tempo series of swirling patterns and furious chugging rhythms that weave through the frantic solo section and carrying through the tight final half for a solid and decent track. ‘Surrounded by Serpents’ takes rolling drumming and a series of swirling leads through choppy chugging rhythms featuring a strong charge into tight, blistering riff-work and furious drumming patterns keeping the choppy chugging drumming inline through the charging finale for an enjoyable enough effort. ‘Cyber War’ features a thumping bass-intro with a fine build-up segment that turns into tight, thumping series of raging riff-work that brings along various full-throttle tempos surging along through the blistering drumming as the frantic leads charge along into the final half for a strong, impactful effort. ‘Hypocrisy’ slowly works through a gradual build-up intro that thumps along into a tight, furious blast with pounding, charging drumming flowing along through the heavy chug rhythms and pummeling, furious drumming that carries along through the strong, charging finale for another strong, enjoyable track. ‘Devastation’ features utterly blistering and dramatic drumming alongside tight, heavy chugging riff-work along a frantic series of rhythms that keep the tight paces featured alongside the furious riffing charging along into the stylish chug patterns flowing along throughout the final half for a solid and enjoyable effort. Finally, ‘Wayfarer’ features a light, chugging bass-line with swirling riff-work that takes a bouncy hard rocking pace with the thumping rhythms eventually moving along into the raging thrash riffing patterns with the blistering, pounding drumming utilizing the furious rhythms until the soulful acapella female vocals for the finale for a fantastic rampaging thrasher which gets a little undone by those bookended pieces for a decent lasting impression.
Through no fault of the music itself and really only hurt by a feeling of overkill with too many tracks for it’s own good, there’s so much to like here as the group continues to harness it’s destructive old-school thrash sound that this ends up being of a solid, worthwhile choice for fans of the bands’ past or those looking for a solid retro-thrash experience.
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