Thrash champions Nervosa persevere through the chaos and emerge better than ever
Under optimum circumstances, the entire process of writing, recording, and releasing an album is a monumental task. For many artists, the last year presented some extraordinary, sometimes unprecedented obstacles, that only made any album completed that much more impressive a feat.
Arguably, few bands had the cards so stacked against them then Brazilian thrash outfit, Nervosa. While other artists were navigating the fallout from the pandemic, adjusting to life without touring, and reconfiguring their release schedules to make sense in a very confusing climate, Nervosa was left with just one remaining member, guitarist Prika Amaral.
Faced with the reality of a fractured band, Prika remained steadfast, committed to pressing forward, releasing new Nervosa music, and assembling a collective that shared her vision. While her resolve suggested she would accomplish that goal, no one could have anticipated it would become reality so quickly.
For context, in late April of 2020 Prika formally announced that she was only member of Nervosa left standing. Just weeks later, she had found not one, but the remaining three members in vocalist Diva Satanica, Mia Wallace on bass, and Eleni Nota behind the drum kit. By the summer, the band that was assembled just months prior was already recording their first full length album together.
Given the new line up and the expected learning curve that comes with creating a new collective, it would be understandable that the first release still have at least a stylistic wrinkles to iron out - but then again, this is Nervosa.
The band that almost wasn't just months prior, is not only reformed, they seem reborn. Their appropriately titled Perpetual Chaos is arguably the band's best work yet, further reiterating not just Prika's resolve, but her ability as a songwriter and her keen ear for contributing talent.
Front and center of Nervosa 2.0 is powerhouse vocalist, Diva Satanica. Armed with maximum riffage from Prika and the pummeling pace of band's new rhythm section in Mia and Eleni, Santaica's command completes the band's relentless audio assault with a brand of thrash that would suggest the quartet has been collaborating together for years, not months.
Ahead of the band's reintroduction, Diva Satanica shared what it was like to make such a triumphant record in the middle of a pandemic and the strange reality of meeting her collaborative partners in crime for the first time just hours before getting to work.
Joining Nervosa and writing a record all happened very quickly. What was the timeline from when you first got the phone call to when you first stepped into the studio? DS: It's been unbelievable how we could finally manage the situation in the middle of the pandemic. After Fernanda and Luana communicated to Prika their decision of quitting the band, Prika started to search for new musicians to complete the line up, so we all made our auditions and she told us her final choice last May when the announcement was made. We spent 3 months writing this new album completely from a distance, each one of us from home, just exchanging ideas and sharing files. Then, in August, we entered the studio for one month for the recording sessions. That was also the very first time that we met in person.
Did you have to work to build chemistry or was there a creative spark between everyone that was there from the very beginning? DS: I think the whole situation was so special that it wasn’t necessary to force anything at all. We felt that strong connection between us because we all are very passionate about this life and are devoted to music. Of course, in my case, the first day we met, with this Covid situation it was especially weird because I didn't know if I should hug them or not (laughs). But everything was amazing because everybody had their Covid tests done and we were isolated in a beautiful house at the top of the mountain. It was very safe for everybody.
Given that you had to work very quickly to get the record done, do you think that helped in not overthinking things? DS: We didn't have that feeling of being in a hurry because Prika wanted us to work fluently surrounded by good vibes so that everything would become as natural as possible. And so it was! Prika had some ideas from other projects that were written and for other songs she just had a concept in mind so I could start to write the lyrics or she sent us a riff so everybody could add their parts. We also did some arrangements in the studio, so we worked in many different ways.
The band sequestered itself in Spain to record. How important was it to have that kind of focus given the deadlines and the mostly new line up?DS: Well, the main reason was to be safe because of the virus, but it helped us to get rid of stressful situations because it was a very quiet place where you could relax if you needed it. Also, being all together working all day long helped us to inspire each other much better as musicians.
Prika has written most of Nervosa’s material. What did it mean to you that she entrusted you with such a big amount of the writing for this record? DS: We all took part in the arrangements and we all participated so we felt pretty comfortable with the whole process. It's amazing how creative is Prika and how good she is at writing amazing choruses that you'll never forget. She writes metal hymns!
Stylistically, the record is funadmetally thrash but there are some elements of black metal and progressive that are apparent. Was it difficult balancing the identity of the band with everyone’s own style?DS: Nervosa's identity will always be there because Prika is the founder member. So while she is in the band, nothing will change regarding that. Having three new band members with different backgrounds helped to develop a wider perspective.
Perpetual Chaos addresses some weighty themes like politics and societal inequities - how much did the climate of 2020 influence the lyrical context of the record? DS: I think that this year has been a big source of inspiration for everybody, but especially for artists. There are a lot of things that we could’ve written about, but we had this idea of this chaos that never ends because of human nature. We've made a negative impact on our planet Earth and we wanted to talk about that, but from different perspectives and also not with politics: on this album we deal with animal abuse, suicide, corruption, etc...
There seems to be a sense that Nervosa is not only back but stronger than it ever was. The anticipation for this record is very real. Does the band feel like they have turned a corner? DS: We are more excited than ever! This album is very special in many ways, and despite the fact that we don't know when we’ll be back to normal and hit the road, we can't wait to share this new era of our sound with all of you. Stay tuned to the news, NERVOSA WILL NEVER DIE!
Perpetual Chaos from Nervosa is currently available from Napalm Records - HERE