Review Summary: Nervosa's third effort drives the band further into a creative rut, but one which isn't afraid to try and rip your face off in the process.
Nervosa have been subjected to a form of "over-hype" since the day they formed, but the majority of the blame is to be placed on their record label and the media than the band members themselves. For Nervosa are an all-female, Brazilian metal group who delight in fusing the most vicious strands of thrash and death-a few points which already will excite and intrigue those who seem to still think that a female member in a band that plays such extreme music is sacrilege.
Yet none of this really affects latest album Downfall of Mankind
, which is essentially as basic as an album can get when its sole intention tis to invite us all back to the days when Sepultura were fresh-faced and Venom were still relevant to metal. It's full to the brim of menacing, crushing riff work and some of the most bitter, venomous vocal delivery you're likely to hear from a thrash album in 2018. First song proper "Horrordome" is a real belligerent opener, and its successor, the first album preview that is "Never Forget, Never Repeat", certainly echoes European late 80s thrash at its rawest and most unrelenting. Uninspired lyricism aside, these are two of several songs which do the job, but don't necessarily reach the heights that other bands in the same position are currently hitting. The drum work in "Never Forget, Never Repeat" is like a machine gun turret, and the speed-metal vengeance of "...And Justice for Whom"" is a strong take on early 80s-era Venom and Bathory, but it's too little to mark Nervosa as a truly special act in a sub-genre rife with copycats. The real problem with Downfall of Mankind
is that it is so top-heavy, you'll likely ponder why Nervosa didn't just release the first six songs of the album as an EP. I say this because from "Vultures" onwards, there's such a severe lack of inspiration and originality. It's a sordid impression of a band going through the motions and on their third full-length proper, it's an ill-advised attitude to have towards both performance and songwriting. This isn't to say that Downfall of Mankind
has rendered Nervosa as a band who have lost their touch, but when the best song of the album's latter half is a bonus cover version of a second rate heavy metal song, you know that work needs to be done to get Nervosa out of a clear creative rut.
Downfall of Mankind
loses itself at the worst place and doesn't build from there, but at least its first half gets things rolling to a severely strong start. It's obvious that Nervosa want to make a name for themselves in the world of extreme metal, but with an inconsistent delivery basically rendering their material just above average, heads won't turn and instead people will want to focus on the next Vektor record, whenever it comes out. With Downfall of Mankind
, the impression is left aghast and only those who miss a still fresh-faced, almost flawless Sepultura will be intrigued by Nervosa's latest effort.