Raw, ravenous, and potently aggressive with a maelstrom of insidious grooves which just tease and coax the passions into their version of an erection, To the Death is an album you just cannot avoid finding strong affection for. The new release from Brazilian metallers Nervochaos is not without flaws or maybe a sense of a lost opportunity but it also leaves one more than satisfied and willing to share precious time with the release on a regular basis.
Formed in 1996, Nervochaos has unleashed their underground acclaimed blend of death and thrash metal consistently through the years and over a series of well received releases. They do not offer the most angry or violent sound around and you will find other more intense and destructive encounters elsewhere for sure but as with this their fifth album, the band has a compelling presence and creativity which ticks enough of the right boxes to be a welcome and pleasing companion. The grooves unleashed within the death metal breath and thrash powered bruises posing as songs are of a devil spawn irresistibility and make the band one you cannot ignore. Released via Cogumelo Records, the new album follows their live album of 2011 and the previous full length release Battalions of Hate of the year before, both Tumba Records released. Gaining a cult status in the underground extreme metal scene the quartet of vocalist /guitarist Guiller, guitarist Quinho, bassist Felipe Freitas, and drummer Eduardo Lane, has equally impressed alongside the likes of Venom, Cannibal Corpse, Agnostic Front, Mayhem, The Exploited, Carcass, Divine Heresy, Ragnarok, and many more, the quartet continually adding to their strong reputation.
The album opens with the high energy Mark of the Beast, a fury of unforgiving rhythms and gnawing riffs shaped around a hungry persistent groove. It does not offer anything new or inventively breath-taking but like a sonic magnet has ears and attention locked into its unfettered energy. Ok it is relatively undemanding but still opens up the album with an accomplished and riveting presence which sets up the rest of the release perfectly.
Sheep Amongst Wolves with its gnarly bass and serpentine sonic flames stands tall next to continue the emerging compelling persuasion of the release. Again there is irresistibility to the flowing craft and intent of the song with another defined groove at mischievous play alongside further inviting melodic fire from the guitars. It does not quite live up to the opener but makes a more than decent bridge to the first of the highlights of the album in Your World’s Trend. This track opens almost identically to how its predecessor ended but soon opens up a variation to the sonic beckoning and pummelling rhythms it unleashes. It is the group vocal shouts alongside the persistently scarring scowls of Guiller which help raise the game further and lies impressively against the excellent erosive grind of the track.
Whilst the following likes of Gospel of Judas, The Exile, and Smoking Mortal Remains ensure one is gripped by a strong need to delve deeper into the album, the release saves its finest moments for a couple of tracks nestled within the trio. The title track opens with the snarling bass opening its deep cavernous throat with tight mesmeric grooves of the guitars soon joining the confrontation. Unrelenting rhythms soon entrap the senses within their merciless tempest whilst now into its stride, the track sets frees a deluge of eager synapse chewing riffs and a sonic whipping which leaves only bliss in its glorious wake. It is two and a half minutes of delicious enterprise and greedy contagion impossible to deny and heartily welcomed. To match the impressive attack of the first the following Hate piles on more infectious riffing and primal chuggery around instinctive rapture sparking twisting grooves.
Arguably the album never reaches the heights of this excellent pair elsewhere but still offers plenty to grab the imagination. To the Death does have a familiar uniformity across a lot of its creativity and sound which holds the release back reaching the depth of acclaim maybe it could have found but is still impressive and enjoyable enough to make the album one easy to recommend. As songs like Mind Under Siege, Destroyer of Worlds, and Warlords Unbound continue to make the encounter a pleasing one this is an album that is easy to continually return to and Nervochaos a band with some of the most agreeable grooves and riffing ability around.
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