Riding in from Brazil Nervosa are an all female thrash band that are hell bent on showing us blokes what thrash still has to offer, and damn… they sure shut us up! Debut album Victim Of Yourself opens with a spooky almost haunting track “Twisted Values” that lulls you into a false sense of security before kneeing you hard in the nads. Twisted Values is an all out thrash delight filled with sludgy riffs that fall into quick fire fret shredding screams accompanied by thumping rolling drums delivered powerfully by Pitchu Ferraz. All this combines to bombard your ears in a harsh but somehow satisfying sound. The highlight throughout this album is the voice of bassist come vocalist Fernanda Lira, the beauty of her vocals is that she is sharp, edgy and has all the qualities of a cleaner Angela Gossow however she seems a lot more at ease; the closest I can compare her to is the voice of Deaths late Chuck Schuldiner. She can shriek and growl and you still want to hear more… it’s sinister yet almost memorizing. The album continues to plough on through in this heavy, deep and creeping motion throughout, however it does take the time to make you listen in awe as guitarist Prika Amaral throws in brilliant melodic solo’s that break through the crushing riffage, this really is the element that makes this album what it is. The ladies from Nervosa clearly want to break us with their immense talent and the sounds they produce, but at the same time realize the danger of becoming stagnant in doing so. From “Nasty Injury” to “Mosh Pit” the album shows class hard work and also when needed a little bit of fun (Mosh Pit in particular). Every track is brimming with the signature bass and rumbling heavy riffs until the final track “Uranio em Nos” that is a much more frantic off the handle track that epitomizes everything about these girls; utter passion for the music they have produced here. In all honesty I can’t recommend this album enough, its fast yet the tone is slow and sludgy, the musicianship is brilliant and I really do think the vocals of Fernanda are up there with the best thrash vocals ever to grace the genre. Not necessarily just for the sound but also for the control she adheres to with it. Despite all this Victim Of Yourself doesn't necessarily break any new ground, which could be seen as a bad thing? Yes, but what Nervosa do he is take us back to old school thrash and fine tune it a little 9/10.
The Graviators: Motherload (Napalm Records)
The Graviators was formed deep in the woods of southern Sweden, their third album Motherload; with a mix of heavy yet melodic riffs, that takes you on a trip back in time, when bands like Black Sabbath and Pentagram took heavy rock to new heights. Motherload really is a piece of musical intrigue. Describing themselves as “70’s hard rock” I can see where the lads are coming from, however they also have a grungy stoner undertone that is hard not to exaggerate. The first two tracks: “Leifs Last Breath; Dance of the Valkyrie" and “Narrow Minded Bastards” scream the aforementioned bands Pentagram and Sabbath respectively. Rammed full of bass laden rhythms and bluesy stoner riffs plodding along at a steady pace Martin Fairbanks (Guitar) and Johan Holm (Bass) carry this album beautifully with a power of direction. “Tigress of Siberia” is where this album really started to take me aback. Opening with a four-minute instrumental of outstanding and proficient balance it bounces along hypnotically in a swing like possession. As the pace picks up slightly the unmistakable vocals of Niklas Sjöberg enters the scene and with little effort he sets out to regale us with his Ozzy like cavalier tone and attitude. From “Tigress of Siberia” all the way through to “Drowned in Leaves” the album keeps you interested and does not lose your attention for a second. Chocked full of flawless solo’s courtesy of Fairbanks that brings songs such as “Corpauthority” and “Tigress of Siberia” to stunning crescendos. Along with Fairbanks and Holm’s undoubted talent we are treated to a truly perfect five plus minute blues come swing instrumental during “Lost Lord” that left my jaw wide open and pupils dilated… this truly was perfection. Soft frenzied keyboard topped with slow groaning bass lines and supported beautifully by the controlled skill and attuned ear of Henrik Bergman on drums, wow! The final few tracks from Motherload: “Eagles Rising” and “Druid’s Ritual” follow a similar pattern only with a more psychedelic edge to them, the latter being a fourteen minute epoch of pure original unadulterated skill, passion and heart. Every member of this band contributing their part flawlessly with obvious pleasure, you really don't hear this often enough in music of any description. The beauty of this album is that despite its eighty-minute length, by the end of it you still want more. The Graviators have a recipe that is really unique and quite frankly bold but faultless; keep the steady grungy stoner laden tone throughout the album but then hey! Why not throw in some blues? Or some swing? Or even a bit of psychedelic edge? While your listening have some brilliant solo’s and crashing riffs too! No need for endless vocals here, only when it’s right. None of this should work, none of it! Yet somehow it does and I can’t help but think to myself… I want more! Ultimately, if you don't like this album, then you're not just “not a fan of metal”, you're not a fan of music I’m afraid! 10/10
Omnilarity: Ameliorate (Unsigned)
Ok, so I’m not sure where to really place these guys from Chino CA. They're very much instrumental, minimal vocals here. Fusing all kinds of metal into each other as well as other genres of music completely into metal. Omnilarity represent a brave bunch of lads whose work and gall has paid off. Each track very much individual due to the very nature of the bands concept, which in turn makes this hard to review with the space/time I have. So the one thing I need to get across is what these guys do, they do damn well! Impressive from the off each member of Omnilarity show off there unquestionable skill and technical aptitude. Brennan Netherton on guitar is able to melt our very brows with burning solos from out of nowhere then turn his hand to some slow jazz with great resonance, while Bassist Duke Gray is able to do the same. Supporting a furious metal attack of sound with precise plucking to laying down a beautifully leaping bass line when the band hit the slower genres they chose to infuse. The highlight of this band however and ultimate kudos here goes to drummer Daniel Amaral; this guy is truly sensational! Firing out ridiculously paced blast beats that Danny Herrera himself would be proud of one second, to delicately tapping his Hi Hat and leading a blues number mid track, the skill and sheer athleticism of Amaral’s drumming is astounding! This 8 tracked debut album is a great conquest of brave trial and error at its best, its unique concept means you have to keep on listening to hear what the lads of Omnilarity have come up with next, and they never let you down… not for a second. Fusing thrash metal with swing, Death riffs with a bluesy breakdown and techno keys with ripping solos all with ease of success. The only other thing can really say here is go out and buy this album and make of this unique brand/concept what you will, these guys are a small band that deserve a hell of a lot more praise and listener ship than I’m sure they’re getting. Bands like this is where the future is at, lets make it happen! 9/10