Album Review: Nervosa – Jailbreak

Album Review: Nervosa – Jailbreak
Reviewed by Sam Jones

Nervosa are perhaps one of the most talked about names in the newer wave of thrash metal in the last decade. Formed in 2010 out of São Paulo, Brazil, the band made waves as an all-female thrash band that, their sex aside, produced exceedingly competent thrash that caused many people to turn their heads towards what was coming out of South America. Their first full length work, Victim Of Yourself, released in 2014 saw a slew of follow-ups including 2016’s Agony and, as it stands, my favourite record of theirs, 2018’s Downfall Of Mankind. Yet rising tension within the band would trigger the splitting of the band’s camp as Crypta was formed a year later. Now, with Prika Amaral the sole remaining original member left, Nervosa carried on and in 2021 released Perpetual Chaos, with an all new lineup. Two years on, and another near full lineup alteration, Nervosa prepare to unleash their latest thrash attack, the simply titled Jailbreak. Let’s see how this record holds up against their recent material.

It must be said that Nervosa possess quite the punching assault in this fifth album release of theirs. Thrash is often surmised as being dedicated towards speed yet Nervosa showcase another side to that coin: power. From the opening track alone, the band render it abundantly clear that Jailbreak isn’t going to pull punches, for its riff impact is given a double whammy of bass in the mix to give it the prominent presence needed for our attention to become attentively fixed on what’s coming next. It also needs mentioning that Jailbreak is a loud album; cranking this record to 11 is bound to take many listeners by surprise as they likely turn the volume down a touch. Yet, it goes to show Nervosa weren’t kidding around when they were recording and mastering this album for it hits us in the face, and hits the ground running, with little to suggest there’s any sign of letting up on us.

In many instances too, the band demonstrate a growing implementation of aspects we’d regularly encounter in death metal too. That’s not saying the band incorporate that many blast beats (though they are present), or anything overtly crushing within their songwriting, but when they undergo various sequences of riffs and vocal deliveries there’s an unmistakably more extreme atmosphere flowing through their performance. Whether it’s through faster and more concentrated strumming or vocals that drop a little lower in pitch and aggression; there’s something more ravenous and unrelenting to Nervosa’s sound that, despite the band’s recognised ferocity throughout their career, feels fervent and raw. It’s actually nice to discover something a little new and fresh within Nervosa’s dynamic as, being on their fifth record now, we fans now understand what to expect from the band, so bringing in this unexpected intensity breathes new life into the band. In many ways, it elevates Nervosa to a thrash/death metal act in the veins of Demolition Hammer and Morbid Saint; bands of immense prowess and repute.

Album Review: Nervosa – Jailbreak

Now, I enjoyed Nervosa’s last album back in 2021 yet I felt it wasn’t as strong as their usual material; that said, Jailbreak feels like a far stronger excursion for the band not simply because I think it’s a better record, but because Nervosa appear to have some real drive and direction back in the songwriting. When a track like “Seed Of Death” begins, you feel like this is something the band have gone in with a hundred percent purpose to make this the strongest, driving piece of metal they possibly can. Much of that ideal permeates throughout Jailbreak as the band throw absolutely everything they have into crafting songs that aren’t merely thrashy and mighty, but possess a real sense of presence, a presence we can get behind and have suck us further into their immersive performance. It helps that the instrumentation has been given a clean polish to help their strength push forward through the collective onslaught Nervosa render here. The vocals are spewing forth yet it doesn’t stop the riffs from finding their target, nor does it prevent the drumming from being this taut, crashing force whose resonance we can get behind since the record isn’t forcing their soundscape in four constrained walls.

Now the sole remaining original band member, Prika Amaral’s vocals have become synonymous with Nervosa’s style of thrash. Her performance here is exemplary as Nervosa steamroll their way through one track after another with nary a loss in the vocal talent therein. Such a vocal style, one that utilises the raspier and coarse form of vocal delivery, can be trickier to maintain owing to the greater exertion that the delivery takes on the individual’s throat. Therefore, it’s promising to see that Amaral’s delivery hasn’t merely maintained its fierce projection but, it appears to have climbed with intensity with the recording of Jailbreak; or perhaps Amaral intended this to be the most vicious and biting Nervosa record yet, to which I would argue strongly this could have been the case for her vocals hold nothing back and are just as sharp as any riff they unveil.

In conclusion, Jailbreak may just become Nervosa’s strongest album to date; if not, then it’s half a step behind Downfall Of Mankind, which is itself a very strong thrash offering. Thirteen tracks is quite the selection to include on a thrash album and while this May run the risk of losing audience’s attention, Nervosa cancel this threat out by ensuring each track doesn’t run on for too long, the songwriting always feels like it has a reason and direction as for the kind of songwriting being implemented, and harnesses an impact and might that keeps the energy going from start to finish. The more fearsome elements the band have brought here also helps their sound to hit the landing with a greater strike as when everything comes together, it punches us with a force that’s far grander than what we’ve seen as of yet from Nervosa. I really enjoyed this record and I thoroughly believe this is going raise some eyebrows come it’s September 29th release date.

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