I don’t recall being this blown away by an all female Thrash Metal band ever in my life until August 8 at Blackthorn 51 in Queens, New York. Who would have thought that a Monday of all nights would have the Thrash trio from Brazil, NERVOSA completely destroying the place? Now I am a big supporter of women in Rock and Metal, which includes artists dating back from THE RUNAWAYS to the Queen of Metal herself DORO, to my phase with KITTIE and JACK OFF JILL to current bands like BUTCHER BABIES, EPICA, and NIGHTWISH.
However, I have not seen anything in a long time as powerful and tremendous as NERVOSA was this evening all in support of their recently released new album, Agony.
Starting off the night was the local Occult Heavy Metal group from Brooklyn, NY known as MOTHER HARLOT, promoting their new EP which is set to release on September 9. I must say, vocalist Sonia Goldberg surprised me this evening. Her performance, stage presence, and the entire band’s aesthetic was quite impressive. It wasn’t overly theatrical nor did it seem as though they were trying too hard; it worked for them. She reminded me of a demonical goddess as they went through their set including the first single “Paradise Found.” I can say that they gained quite a few additional fans after that night.
Next up was the local Death Metal act from Queens, MONIASIN. There were quite a few headbangers up front, including one whose hair kept on whipping my shoulder.
This was an act that filled the room with screams and mayhem as they continued to perform new songs such as “Blood Red Sky.” MONIASIN interacted with the crowd as they belted out as much brutality as they could. During the end of their set, they incited a chant of, “There is no God!”
Here is where I ended up being in complete shock when I saw three females from Albuquerque, NM take the stage as they were part of the band SUSPENDED. I had no idea what to expect in the beginning, but once they went behind their instruments, I was hooked.
These women knew how to rock and energize the crowd. They left an impression with their DIY attitude, as it was clear they were there purely for the love of metal.
Amanda Castillo moved all across the stage between playing the guitar and ripping out some coarse vocals while Jessica Armstrong on bass held a fierce and unpredictable energy. They went into songs such as “When the Smoke Clears,” and well if you haven’t heard of them, go listen or see them play live next.
The evening shifted once again when it was time for NYC metal act ELEFANTKILLER. These guys were fun. Their performance included a “Sexiest Man Alive” shirt, machete, constant movement across the stage, and for the conclusion, performing directly in the crowd. So much was happening at the same time that I didn’t even know where to look. They went into songs on multiple subjects that include “squeezing tits,” horrible bosses owing them money, and family values.
Here is a pure example that dropping out from a tour or canceling a few shows should be the absolute last option. Unless there was a tragic freak accident or emergency, it is best to avoid canceling. Shortly before NERVOSA’S headlining US tour their drummer Pitchu Ferraz left the band. Therefore Canadian Samantha Landa was asked to join metal warriors Fernanda Lira and Prika Amaral for the tour. Landa agreed and had roughly five days to learn nine songs.
Despite the set being pre-planned, already arranged, and condensed due to this reason, the performance was still in short, fucking fantastic. I cannot emphasize this enough that we need more bands like this as women in metal should headline more frequently, including, and especially at festivals.
I could not keep my eyes off of their ferocious performance that was filled with merciless riffs, headbanging, and a full swing attitude. It was a performance that did not showcase any gender, where you get lost in the music and not look at them as “hot chicks” or “Look at those girls trying to be metal” (which sadly many people do hear which is what makes it difficult for women in the genre).
People need to let go of that way of thinking. When men are performing no one goes “Oh wow, he has his shirt off, that’s hot.” No, they listen to the performance, and that is what happened this evening with NERVOSA, they just kicked ass. Thrash Metal was my gateway metal sub-genre, and I have to say NERVOSA nailed it.
Their style holds that authentic sound as they ripped into songs such as “Hypocrisy,” “Arrogance,” and “Death!” At this point I think I saw people moshing just like any other metal show, headbanging and having an incredible time. The songs continued and even Landa performed with such confidence despite only recently learning the tracks.
Though from the audience end it looked as though she has played them for years as they moved into “Surrounded by Serpents,” “Intolerance Means War,” and “Masked Betrayer.”
Lira and Amaral held such chemistry together on the stage, between Lira’s constant movement and expressions, to Amaral’s intense stares of doom as she continued to shred.
The short set concluded with “Hostages,” “Theory of Conspiracy,” and the infamous, “Into Mosh Pit.” What I enjoyed the most was they stayed there to hang out with the fans for photos, drinks, and chatter.
I also noticed members from SUSPENDED and MOTHER HARLOT decided to stay and hang as well.
I do hope NERVOSA will return, and hopefully book bigger shows and influence more acts similar to SUSPENDED.
LIVE IMAGES AND WORDS: ZENAE D. ZUKOWSKI