Every raging, merciless storm has an addictive quality; some element of compelling persuasion that enslaves attention and transfixes even as it ravages the body. And so it is with the sound and new album of French fury Nerv. Creating a tempest of pure and post hardcore, raw and post metal, all embracing mathcore ingenuity, the Chambéry quartet has simply unleashed one challenging and irresistible tempest.
The hellacious offspring of vocalist Christophe Denhez, guitarist Raphaël Bouvier, bassist David Favero, and drummer Jérémie Maxit, Vergentis In Senium leaves deep bruises and a lingering psychosis with its uncompromising and unrelenting tsunami of creative and physical turbulence. It also instils in those with bravery and appetite for senses corrupting incitements, a long-term addiction for the band, especially if they keep coming up with offerings like this. The new album comes nine years after the release of its predecessor Away.FromanyHuman, with debut offering Mech. Naturaleza coming two years before that. The growth from those strong encounters has seen the band evolve their sound into a creative and technical maelstrom of inventive. The rage and aggression is as hostile as ever, probably more vicious, but the imagination and sheer corrosive craft aligned to thick unpredictability in the band’s songwriting and music, ensures that Nerv from being a previously highly promising band is easily now one of the most exciting propositions in hardcore or whatever style of extreme provocation you wish to place them.
Recorded with Cédric Lerges, Vergentis In Senium opens with Cathars and quickly spins a sonic and rhythmic web around ears whilst awakening keen attention at the same time. It is not a forceful start but a commanding one which kicks up a gear of hostility with the fierce vocal roar of Denhez. Scything riffs and rapier like beats ignite the air too, firing up the imagination and appetite further before settling into a morosely restrained passage which in turn leads to another antagonistic and explosive shuffle of invention and intensity. There is no time for a breath as Bouvier’s guitar spreads melodic and sonic toxins with force and uniqueness, matched by the throaty lure of bass and insatiably urgent exploits of Maxit.
The song is the template for things to come but as quickly shown by Tortures, it is a base only there to be twisted and sculpted into constantly individual and fresh violations. The second song just never sits still, Maxit alone an exhausting protagonist with his mouth-watering and barbarous skills whilst Bouvier almost strips the senses layer by layer through a fluid yet bedlamic assault of riffs, grooves, and hooks; all equipped with a deranged unpredictability and invention. Like a furious creative brawl between Neurosis, Ken Mode, and Raketkanon, the track is sheer contagion, the prime addiction of the album though it is seriously challenged throughout.
Catherine Deshayes comes next, a heavier and darker, if that is possible, proposal than its predecessor and with a thicker inhospitable climate veined by the almost lustful intimidating tones of Favero’s bass and the great and constant senses barracking squalls of Denhez. The turmoil of energy and sound similarly saps the body of its strength and emotions of their resistance to the addictiveness of the song’s creative animus. The track is sandwiched between two pinnacles though, holding its own admittedly, but straight away outshone by Savonarole which features the psychotic sax of Renaud from another great French band in Monstre. With equally spicy off kilter sax tempting, he spears and croons the transfixing asylum of sound uncaged by Nerv with the result being another scintillating and fascinating trespass of ears.
Things ‘settle’ a touch with Captive next, the track a truculent foraging of the senses with more restraint on its exploration, though it still wanders into pleasing discordance, twisted enterprise, and an even keener scathing intent sonically and vocally than anything before. Once more everything has a compelling and lingering potency, the guest vocals of Geraldine from Moonwaker one example, which ensures strong attention and a need to regularly return to its bellow is rife, a lure just as undiminished in the closing pair of Martyr and Suffer. The first of the two is belligerent hardcore with the intensity of a furnace and the imagination of a madman, the guitar especially creatively inflamed in a song which you could describe as Cancer Bats and Dillinger Escape Plan meets Sofy Major and the sadly demised Kabul Golf Club.
The final offering from Vergentis In Senium, which sees guest vocals from Yann and Fred from post-metallers Aside From A Day, is a smouldering flight of warm and evocative ambiences under a similarly enveloping atmosphere of keys and melodies but emotionally corrupted by the raw character of the vocals. Whereas previous tracks make quickly penetrating impressions and successes, the final offering is a long-term involvement needing more exploration to unveil its full might but again resulting in nothing less than rich satisfaction and enjoyment.
Nerv was arguably a name known more than a presence felt before the release of Vergentis In Senium but is now revealed as a band that can bring the metal and hardcore world a new exciting breath. Well they already have with their excellent new album.
Vergentis In Senium is available now @ https://nervhxc.bandcamp.com/album/vergentis-in-senium