How Brazilian guitarist Prika Amaral rebuilt her Nervosa thrash-metal juggernaut from the ground up

(Image credit: MAURO PIMENTEL/AFP via Getty Images)

Despite the damned worldview poking through Nervosa’s new Perpetual Chaos, founding guitarist Prika Amaral is at least finding herself in good company as the world burns around her. 

But while this fourth full-length builds off the savage thrash dynamics the outfit have been delivering since forming in 2010, a major lineup shift at the start of 2020 forced the Sao Paolo, Brazil-based Amaral to rebuild the band from the ground up. 

“I started to make a list of my favorite musicians when the other girls left the band; Eleni [Nota, drums], Diva [Satanica, vocals] and Mia [Wallace, bass] were at the top,” the guitarist reveals, adding how she’d first run into Satanica in Spain when the vocalist’s Bloodhunter project opened for Nervosa. 

Wallace had previously held a high-profile spot as the bassist for Abbath, while Amaral discovered Nota’s whip-cracking drum style through social media. After the foursome hit a rehearsal room and worked out the furiously thrashed and face-melting Venomous, Amaral knew she’d found the right foils.  

“We made this song together before they joined the band; this was the test!” the guitarist says with a laugh. “We decided to make it the first song of the album; it’s one of the fastest and most aggressive songs [from the sessions]. It was perfect.” 

Across its 13 tracks, Perpetual Chaos has Amaral mixing precision riffery with raw and bloodied, off-the-cuff leads. Time to Fight is a manically downpicked, proto-thrash anthem for society’s underdogs; Guided by Evil begins with ooze-dripping, slow-mo gloom before erupting into militaristic black metal blasts and a brief but volcanic, vibrato-heavy solo from Amaral. 

“It’s a short solo, but it has a lot of feeling,” she says. “I prefer short solos; they’re better to play live. I’m the only guitarist in the band, so if I put a long solo in there, it’s a bit boring. You’re missing the rhythm guitar in the back. But working with Mia, she’s playing with a guitar pick, so we’re trying to create [basslines that feel like] a second guitar.” 

While Amaral customizes guitars as a hobby, she relied on her Kramer Nite-V to get her through Perpetual Chaos. Tone-wise, the gruesome, skin-corroding rhythms Amaral grinds into on the title cut were cranked out of a custom tube head from Brazilian amp maker Pedrone, and the one-of-a-kind Nervodriver overdrive pedal co-engineered by Pedrone and Brazilian pedal maker Ed’s Mod Shop.

The song itself, which Amaral admits was fit with a Sepultura-like groove, was handcrafted to get metal crowds bouncing – at least when it becomes safe for Nervosa to tour again.

“Everyone can sing, jump and headbang while listening to this song,” Amaral says, before adding, “We’re not sure if this will happen because of COVID, but we have many festivals confirmed. We’ll see what we can do.”

  • Nervosa's new album, Perpetual Chaos, is out now via Napalm Records.

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Gregory Adams

Gregory Adams is a Vancouver-based arts reporter. From metal legends to emerging pop icons to the best of the basement circuit, he’s interviewed musicians across countless genres for nearly two decades, most recently with Guitar World, Bass Player, Revolver, and more – as well as through his independent newsletter, Gut Feeling. This all still blows his mind. He’s a guitar player, generally bouncing hardcore riffs off his ’52 Tele reissue and a dinged-up SG.