Nervosa – Jailbreak (Napalm Records)

Wednesday, 27th September 2023
Rating: 9 / 10

The implosion of any band lineup can take a toll mentally as well as physically. To survive this happening twice over the past five years could be catastrophic for most – but not in the case of Prika Amaral, guitarist and now vocalist of Nervosa. Choosing to expand the lineup to a dual guitar force with this fifth album Jailbreak, the international flair continues with Greek guitarist Helena Kotina, Greek bassist Hel Pyre, and Bulgarian drummer Mihaela Naydenova setting their sights on this material proving that the spite, anger, energy, and determination to keep this aggressive form of thrash with death/blackened elements remains this four-piece’s top priority.

First single “Seed of Death” features a beautiful acoustic/electric instrumental introduction, a melodic circular guitar line with marching drums that soon plunges into the depths of speedy Kreator-ish rhythms, Prika shouting/screaming in this diverse, raspy delivery that is equally as militant as the musical proceedings showcase. The axe play throughout contains thoughtful rhythms full of melodic meets aggressive hooks – Helena and Prika challenging each other to up their game on the motorcycle-oriented title cut plus early Metallica-esque “Kill or Die” with a flurry of tasty lead breaks, slamming main riffs, or point/counterpoint transitions sure to elevate pits to mayhem status. Occasionally these ladies take their foot off the accelerator, developing more of their extreme angular motions in a death meets Arch Enemy-like context for “Gates to the Fall”, Mihaela crushing next to the jumpy guitars through some progressive snare/double kick action. Special guests continue to be a traditional for the band to the benefit of the listeners – Exodus guitarist Gary Holt contributing a lead to “When the Truth Is a Lie”, while Infected Rain/Death Dealer Union’s Lena Scissorhands delivers some modern vocal heft to contrast Prika’s normal melodies in the haunting “Superstition Failed”. By the time the chunky, catchy closer “Nail the Coffin” concludes, most will be wiping the sweat from their brows and in need of some neck braces due to constant headbanging.

Nervosa push the parameters of their sound with Jailbreak – injecting more melody yet not sacrificing any of the death/extreme nuances that have made their brand of thrash heavier than most. Like the Rocky franchise of movies, never count these ladies down for the count as this is a sinister example for the will and spirit of this genre that can never die in these capable hands.

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