Review Summary: A raw, in-your-face slice of thrash with a really sweet retro vibe.
It saddens me that the 80s Brazilian thrash metal scene doesn't seem to garner as much attention as the Teutonic thrash, Bay Area, or even East Coast thrash scenes. After all, while bands such as Slayer, Kreator, and Sodom influenced numerous metal genres in their wake like death metal and black metal, so did bands like Sarcofago and Holocausto. Many of the classic bands in the scene could be seen as bridging the stylistic gaps between American and European thrash, incorporating elements of both; you'd get both the punk-inspired bands who took cues from Overkill and Anthrax, as well as the more Venom-influenced bands in the vein of Kreator and Sodom. While veteran bands such as Sepultura and death/thrash act Torture Squad are still releasing material today, there's also been a nice slew of new bands eager to signal a classic 80s thrash revival in Brazil, just like what's currently going on in the American scenes. Among these is an up-and-coming trio named Nervosa, a Sao Paulo-based band formed in 2010 and consisting of only female musicians.
Nervosa's first full length effort, Victim of Yourself, definitely falls into the Teutonic (Sodom, Destruction, etc.) side of thrash metal, with a firmer grasp on the extreme side of the genre than many of the thrash revival bands currently around. Bassist/singer Fernanda Lira especially brings out this element of the music with her harsh screeched vocals, which are reminiscent of the 80s "blackened thrash" movement going on with bands such as early Sodom and early Bathory. The music isn't really the most dynamically varied stuff around, but with a genre like thrash metal, that isn't always needed; the band make up for it in frequent tempo changes and an admirably in-your-face attitude. If anything, the intro is probably the lightest representation of this album as the group slowly drag you into a variety of classical-sounding guitar harmonies, before landing you right into a frenzy of tremolo riffs and blast beats with "Twisted Values." It isn't uncommon to have a moderate-length mood-setting intro for a thrash album, but this one is a bit off-putting when considering the crazy speed and intensity of the overall experience.
However, songs such as "Wake Up and Fight" and "Envious" contain slower moments (particularly in their intros) to even out the near-constant speed and add some variety to the album. There are also some short, super-fast cuts to switch things up length-wise, such as "Deep Misery" and the highly blastbeat-laden closer "Uranio Em Nos." The overall instrumentation is very solid, and it's refreshing to find a record like this that's not overly flashy; it gets the job done while adding some nice solos here and there to spice up some of the riffs. The drums are a bit of a different story; while Prika Amaral's guitar work is fast but a bit reserved in terms of - as I said - being flashy, drummer Pitchu Ferraz is definitely the star of the show here. Her tempo changes are extremely well-executed, her fills are rapid and even occasionally quite subtle behind the guitar work, and her overall precision and power are commendable. Even then though, she doesn't go over-the-top with her performance; it still fits with the rest of the instrumentation despite the frequent fills and tempo variety.
Unfortunately, while this record does a lot to satisfy any thrash fan's craving for something fast and heavy, one thing that doesn't sit as well is the lack of variety for a decent chunk of the album. This is an album to either digest in moderate portions or really sit down and listen/analyze. While the overall vibe and compositions are at least consistent, they are perhaps a bit too consistent. Every song has the same tuning (C), and most of the riffs remain in the comfort zone of this tuning; it gets a bit old when coupled with the fact that while there are frequent tempo changes, it seems as though the same (or at least extremely similar) tempos keep getting chosen over and over. However, a lot of this doesn't really detract from what I'm guessing this album's main goal probably is: to thrash your fucking head off. In that regard, the album definitely fits the bill and passes with flying colors. Plus, there are songs that alternate time signatures as well as tempos such as "Nasty Injury" which switches between 6/8 and the common 4/4 in different speeds to bring something different to the typical fare the album provides. Even "Justice Done" explores a similar contrast, and even more frequently as it alternates during the vocal moments. Basically, here's how I'd sum up Victim of Yourself: if you are looking for a fast thrash album that - while not doing anything new - remains consistent in its speed and has a more extreme ideology in the genre, go get this. Despite its problems, it's well worth the money for anyone who's into bands like Kreator and Sepultura; just be prepared to headbang a hell of a lot. Nice work, ladies.