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The Wrath of Nervosa

The all-women thrash metal trio’s vocalist Fernanda Lira on the band’s latest album ‘Agony’ and the fury of Brazilian metal bands

Nabeela Shaikh Jun 21, 2016
Nervosa released their full-length album 'Agony' on June 3rd. Photo by Laura Marie Anthony/courtesy of Napalm Records.

Nervosa released their full-length album ‘Agony’ on June 3rd. Photo by Laura Marie Anthony/courtesy of Napalm Records.

What’s the most ”˜girly girl’ thing about female thrash metal trio Nervosa? Vocalist-bassist Fernanda Lira of the Brazilian-based band chuckles and fumbles over the phone from Hamburg, Germany, before she responds: “We’re not the girly girls people are expecting [us to be], we’re just relaxed and laid-back! Sometimes we talk about relationships”¦ In our van we have a clothing line where we hang all our lingerie together, you can’t get any more girly [than that]!”

Innerwear aside, the triple-threat trio [also comprising guitarist Prika Amaral and drum machine Pichu Ferraz] are long past the female -metal-band trope, and don’t seem to dwell on the genre’s skewed gender ratio anymore. [“When it comes to Nervosa, it’s really not about pretty faces and attitude, it is the music that matters in the first place,” explained Lira in 2012 to an exclusively female metal band website]. Since Amaral and Lira got together in 2012, the band have made their way through three releases, opening sets for the likes of metal giants Exodus, Artillery and Raven, countless pan-European tours””apart from battling run-of-the-mill sexism””before they brought the vengeance with their latest and loudest 12-track album Agony.

On their fourth high-speed, death metal-leaning full-length release””which released on June 3rd via Napalm Records””Nervosa rage against everything from “arrogance, hypocrisy and intolerance to public health systems, corruption and education.” The album, which was recorded during their US tour last year in studios in California and Oregon, sees Amaral, Lira and Ferraz tear through moshpit-starters like “Intolerance Means War” and “Failed System” with groovy-as-hell riffs, constant double-bass attacks and perfectly grating vocal takeovers [with the exception of clean vocals on the NWOBHM-inspired buster “Wayfarer”]. Says Lira, “We always try and write about human aspects and issues that people can relate to. [On this album] we speak about social issues and political matters in Brazil and South America. This was present in [2014’s] Victim of Yourself too, but what differs in this album is we also explored other more abstract aspects of human behavior.”

Artwork for 'Agony'.

Artwork for ‘Agony’.

The band has enough reason [and then some] to rage against public policy and social apathy:  “When you’re Brazilian, it’s kinda hard to make a living,” says Lira of the country that has bred acts like Sepultura and Panzer. “Your salary is not that good, you struggle just to have the basic stuff”¦ You have to be a warrior just to survive in our country.” But the fight for survival is, as Lira explains, exactly what lends Brazilian metal bands “a certain, specific aggression in our music, due to some of the stuff we have to deal with in our daily routine. If it’s hard enough just to make a living in Brazil, can you imagine a metal band in Brazil?” That being said, Lira is “really proud to be a part of the Brazilian metal scene Latin American metal scene””it’s a very, rich solid metal scene”¦ we’re all kind of badass warriors!”

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Nervosa are currently on a 42-city tour which will take the band across Europe””including a stopover at Finland’s heavy metal fest Tuska Open Air Metal Festival before they head off to Europe next month. “[Being on the] road is very enriching in many ways,” says Lira. “You not only evolve as a musician but also as a human being.” And although Nervosa haven’t made it yet to India yet, the band is keen on “exploring new territories” in Asia next year. “We’ve done lot of Europe, Latin America and North America this past year, so we definitely want to explore new territories especially that bands have been going a lot like Indonesia, India and Nepal,” says Lira, adding that India is “one of the countries with the greatest metal potential.” “Of course India will have to be there [on the tour]! I’m really curious to be playing there, talk to the fans and get to know the culture.”


Watch “Hostages”, the first single off ‘Agony’ below.