To understand Nervosa‘s struggle, one only has to listen to their music. Since 2012, the Brazilian band have made the kind of acid-burn thrash which instantly culls a fanbase of fairweather listeners and retro trendseekers, leaving only those here for ruthless madness. But while previous albums have paved the way for the band’s steady rise, this year’s Perpetual Chaos — featuring a revitalized line-up of founding guitarist Prika Amaral alongside new members Diva Satanica on vocals, Mia Wallace on bass and Eleni Nota on drums — takes things to a new level. Lean, determined, and hostile from the first chord on, the album makes clear that this band aren’t interested in making music for everyone.
This far into their career, and with such a savage album in the chamber, one could say that Nervosa being an all-female act is incidental. But the band don’t see it that way — for them, the struggles of being women in today’s world, and especially in the metal scene, are much of what inspires their sonic wrath. So in preparation for Chaos to be released on the world, bassist Mia Wallace took a moment to talk to us about the things that women still have to fight for in metal, and obstacles which women around the world must continue to overcome. Here are the harsh truths she laid out for us…
To live free from violence and discrimination
“Every woman, including musicians, has the right to be treated in the same way as a man, without being constantly blackmailed and attacked for their gender. Violence can also exist in a mental/psychologic way. In the music industry, it’s really common to find men who screw you over by faking that they want to help you in your career, but are only interested in taking advantage of you in abusive ways. In my case, I also experienced a powerful woman who screwed me over in order to help the powerful musician she was working for. It was really sad.”
To enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health
“This includes not being abused mentally and physically by powerful men in order to keep your career stable, or to build a career. This happens many times to women in the music business, and most of the time when a woman reacts to this treatment, she loses her career or she is labeled a slut or whore by the ones to whom she said ‘No.’ Due to the power most of these men have in the music industry, a woman’s career can often collapse under constant media attacks.”
To be able to make decisions about their own body.
“Every woman should be free to use her own body as she wants (including dressing as she wants) without being worried about getting tagged as slut or similar.”
To earn an equal wage and treatment as men.
“In the music industry, respect is something still automatically given to men. It’s very uncommon to see a woman being recognized with respect for her musical career. What people usually don’t think about is that for a woman, gaining respect from other male musicians means that you’ve been through hell without giving up. Every effort has put in double or triple [the amount of effort men put in], because there is always this ghost of people wondering if that woman is only a musician because she did something like sell her body.”
To live without fear of gender-based violence.
“Violence is everywhere, but women have the right to fear only what men fear. We should not be afraid of violence because we can be victim of harassment, rape or blackmail due to our gender.”
Nervosa’s Perpetual Chaos drops January 22nd from Napalm Records, and is available for preorder.
Words by Chris Krovatin