For a debut album, Finnish band Nerve Saw (great name), seem to be existing an almost monistic existence from a virtual world perspective with very little in terms of a social media presence. It’s almost as if the band are operating as a wet work, black ops surveillance team, an undercover renegade force with a destroy and exit mission (much like the A-Team but far less shit and without the cabbages). Which in some degree is exactly what Nerve Saw’s debut album Peril does. It arrives without fanfare, unburdened by a smorgasbord of press platitudes heralding the second coming of Christ. This is dirty, grimy, sweat stained under the radar metal that delivers…and delivers in spades.
Brainchild of bassist Markus Makkonen, who also pulls double duty with Sadistik Forest, Nerve Saw have created what can be best described as a metal ’n’ roll epic. It’s like a punk band, that have slowed things down, raided Entombed back catalogue and guitar pedals and then sunk back into their deck chairs, next to their trailers somewhere in the Appalachian Mountains or the swamps of Florida whilst binging on Obituary. I have seen Obituary, Six Feet Under, Malevolent Creation eta described as ‘Pick Up Truck’ metal. I’ve never heard that before but it’s a pretty nice way of describing the whole Floridian Death Metal sounds that Obituary, Chris Barnes, et al purloin to this day.
Actually, this album does take me back to an amazing gig I attended in Madrid last year that saw Obituary open a four-band package, that also included Anthrax, Lamb Of God and Slayer (on their final tour around the world until the inevitable special ‘guest’ slot of numerous festival stages in 2021, followed by a glorious reunion tour thereafter). Obituary absolutely tore the roof off the packed arena and as the final strains of ‘Slowly We Rot’ drained away and Obituary walked off stage, they did so safe in the knowledge that they absolutely stole the show. Anyway, that’s slightly staying from the (left hand) path. Nerve Saw have a lot in common with Obituary and their low grinding, swaggering death metal brilliantly segues back and forth between hardcore truisms and punk, all the whilst building on a lovely smooth and epic production job, that belies their humble origins.
Opener track ‘A Fool’ contains DNA from beforementioned Entombed, whilst also employing some lovely gargled Carcass-esq/Rotten Sounds vocals on a buzzsaw, Boss HM-2 guitar tone that bounces, grooves, daring you to shake your booty whilst headbanging yourself into a dandruff infused maelstrom. ‘Life Goes On…Not’ (especially relevant in these challenging pandemic effused times) slows the pace further, before speeding things up like a hit of cheap coke, before slowing down again on a riff that wouldn’t sound out of place on earlier albums by Brazilian thrashers Sepultura.
The album goes on like this for its duration and whilst it does suffer a little from not staying from this musical paradigm, it’s able to stand up on its own two feet and deliver an album of not only competent, genre stretching excellence but pays witness to Nerve Saw trying something that is different and hugely enjoyable. It’s curious melding of punk, hardcore, death and trad metal that works and works well. This album is immensely enjoyable, and I can only hope that the current situation improves enough to see this Finnish three-piece in the flesh at some point later this year.
(8/10 Nick Griffiths)