Review: Surra – Ninho de Rato (self-released, Aug 14)

Santos, Brazil trio Surra have been around for the better part of the last decade, but it’s been a while since they’ve released something as brutally concise as Ninho de Rato (Rat’s Nest), a new EP whose twelve tracks comprise less than ten minutes of runtime. Guitarist Leeo Mesquita’s verbose, ranting lyrics, often bolstered with unison-shouted support from bassist Guilherme Elias, are flowing at full force and fervor here, and one doesn’t need to be fluent in Portuguese to appreciate their impact (although a quick Google Translate scan, while granularly unreliable, is always a good idea); from the wake of the introductory snare roll in opener “No Lixo” (“in the trash”), a misanthropic anthem not just to Brazil but to humanity at large, the sprawling lines tumble over the frantic music with such velocity that they seem to blur into each other. Indeed, the subsequent “Motor da História” (“engine of history”) is one of the most infectious tracks from a vocal standpoint, as the boundaries of separation between successive succinct phrases start to dissolve with melded enjambments like “Replicando / O que eles querem” and “Sobre como / Os grandes Heróis.” The band’s “thrashpunk” self-description is accurate enough, but Ninho de Rato, somewhat unexpectedly, doesn’t have the hyperactive structural volatility of true thrashcore titans like Hellnation or Threatener—yet that doesn’t end up being a bad thing at all. Instead it’s traded for tight, focused songs that feel like efficient executions of single ideas; take “Brasileiro, Otário e Triste” for example, which maintains the same chromaticism, riff shapes, and transitional tension the first few seconds introduce throughout its whole length. Each half of the EP is also capped off by some well-done covers, first of Nuclear Assault’s “Hang the Pope” and then of Cruel Face’s “Convivência,” neither of which halt the unbridled, pell-mell inertia that remains reliably constant. Thanks Surra; I needed this today.