Nervosa has held the flag for Brazilian thrash metal over the last decade in a market previously dominated by original thrash leaders Sepultura. But like Sepultura in the ‘80s, Nervosa founder and guitarist, Prika Amaral, is seeing the violence and corruption that runs rampant in her native country, Brazil. With Nervosa’s new members hailing from Italy, Greece, and Spain, Amaral is ready to move away from the perpetual chaos in her own country.
Prior to the band’s current lineup, consisting of vocalist Diva Satanica, bassist Mia Wallace and drummer Eleni Nota, Nervosa was based in Brazil. But with new members, come new influence, in addition to locale. The first album with the new roster, sees Nervosa expanding outward into death and black metal for the group’s fourth record, Perpetual Chaos, out January 22 on Napalm Records.
“We are super excited for this release. We worked hard recording, and composing this new album,” Amaral told American Songwriter. “There are a lot of surprises. We did something different by bringing in some black metal this time. And there’s lots of details. Every song is different.”
Nervosa was previously constituted by members, Luana Dametto and Fernanda Lira, who ultimately parted ways amicably with Nervosa last year. Amaral tries not to dwell on the past and isn’t too bothered by the change. It is always about the music for her rather than who is playing it.
“It was a huge challenge. But the other side was there was a renewal of energy,” Amaral said about the new group. “So, you know, I wasn’t even thinking so much about the past, because the past was not important. I was more interested in getting into a comfortable zone with the new girls and creating a good relationship between us.”
One way Amaral broke the ice with her new members was during auditions. She requested, they all play their own version of the album opener, “Venomous.” Amaral wasn’t looking for a carbon copy of the song, but each member’s unique take on it and what they did with a chance to showcase their talents. It quickly shifted to an opportunity for them to bond and conceptualize instead. It gave them all a look at how the new formation would write going forth.
“For the new members I was more worried about their personality,” Amaral said. “The song is not so simple, but it’s not too hard either. So, I was not worried about this, but of course I just wanted to see their attack on it and how they would put their own force into it.”
With all three new members living in Europe, and a friendship established, Amaral is readying to make a move to Italy to join them for the reconstitution of Nervosa. The decision was swayed heavily by Amaral’s own experiences in her native Brazil, which span everything from kidnapping to robberies to corruption—all of which are prevalent in the lyrics bridging Perpetual Chaos.
“All of Latin America unfortunately is very violent,” Amaral said about being a Brazil resident. “I’m living with paranoia all of the time. I have had a gun in my face. My motorcycle has been stolen and I’ve been thrown in the backseat of a car. So I started thinking ‘I can’t do this anymore.’ And I think for metal, the scene in Europe is better. Our label is there and most of the shows we do are there too.”
Amaral’s firsthand encounters with violence weighed heavily on her and were a solid theme on Perpetual Chaos but especially on the single, “Guided By Evil,” which explored the lack of authenticity among corrupt politicians and people on the internet.
“The lyrics talk about people who are always looking to do bad stuff to others,” Amaral explained. “It could be politicians, or people lying and doing something behind someone’s back, or just talking about people. It’s a behavior that I’m seeing often, and a lot on social media. Everyone is praising each other but in a fake way. It really inspired me to write this song.”
The ideas Amaral wrote about in “Guided By Evil,” are not just present in politics or social media, but in music as well. Amaral got her first doses of evil as a young female metal guitarist starting out in 1999.
“Everyone was always judging me in the beginning when I started to play guitar in 1999,” she recalled.
Since metal has typically been pioneered by masculinity—which many equate to male dominance—the idea of a feminine kind of masculinity and skill was unconscionable in the early days. Amaral received a lot of slack for her attempts to conquer the realm as a woman. People couldn’t believe that she had success from actual talent and instead assumed she must’ve climbed her way to the top by other means.
“People create a movement against us (women), saying that you know we get everything because we are fucking with a guy or some bullshit like that,” Amaral said.
These accusations and perspectives have been present forever among the male vs. female competitive nature that plagues metal music. Every member of Nervosa has certainly experienced a similar judgement because for most women, that is an everyday part of life.
“I think every woman in this world, doesn’t matter what kind of professional they are, every woman feels something like this,” Amaral said.
Luckily with every influx of information and expansion of views occurring in society, this judgment lessens. Social media and the internet have played a big role in forward-thought, for Amaral especially.
“Internet brings some discussion, and then people start to change their opinions and behavior,” the guitarist said. “Of course, we can grow much more, but it’s better than it was 20 years ago.”
Through each trial, backstab and assumption, Amaral continues to pay it very little mind. Everything has always been about the music for her and each member of Nervosa. That hasn’t changed. Her dream was the same in 1999 as it is now—to play music and use intelligence and information as a weapon.
“For the most part I feel that I can contribute information,” Amaral said. “It offers people a chance to interact and gives them topics to talk about. But it’s the same dream from the beginning to now—to play music. I think this is and was one of the biggest points for the old members and the new members.”
Perpetual Chaos is out Friday, January 22. You can join the thrash ranks by pre-ordering here.