So, first off, May the Hand... isn't actually the title to this album. I cut out most of the title because the actual title is May the Hand that Holds the Match that will Set this World on Fire be Blessed Above All. Second off, it's been far too long since I've last reviewed a grindcore album. I'm really happy to have some more crushing grind to show you guys again.
Nolentia is a sludgy, noisy, grind/ powerviolence band straight from what sounds like the darkest depths of a homicidal maniac's mind. Now, sludge and grind have been blended together before and there have been some pretty sweet albums as a result of mixing filth with more filth. Nolentia don't break this trend in the slightest. May the Hand is a grimy, disgusting record that grabs you right from the get go and doesn't let go until it's beaten the complete shit out of you.
I'd describe Nolentia to be a blend between the off-the-wall chaos of Brutal Truth and the more hardcore-y dual vocal grind attack of Napalm Death. Vocalists Raf and Ghis belt out some high shrieks akin to Mitch Harris of Napalm, and some truly ferocious growls that sound like a more raw, more evil Barney Greenway. I'm really glad the two dudes both trade vocal duties within the album as well as share speaker time with awesome results. When Raf and Ghis bust out the simultaneous vocal attack, it sounds like an orc army charging down a battlefield. I'm glad that both of them contribute to the vocals because if the album consisted only of one or the other, it would get pretty boring pretty fast.
I have to applaud drummer Vince for his awesome skin pounding skills. Not only does he grind like a motherfucker across most of the album with mach speed blast beats, but they're actually in time with the rest of the music, which is something I absolutely love in my grindcore. Vince isn't just a grind machine though. He can bust out a solid groove when he needs to when things take a turn for the slower on May the Hand.
Raf and Ghis are also the bassist and guitarist of Nolentia respectively. I have to hand it to them, there are a couple really sweet riffs here. A lot of the really chaotic grinding bits have some pretty standard issue riffs, but things like harmonics in "All About" and the heavy as fuck sludgefest titled "The Second Principle" really shine through as memorable spots on the album. I really dig their sludgy bits, and I honestly think that they're what make the album stand out as much as it does. I wouldn't say May the Hand would be a bad album without the sludgy bits thrown in, but I'd think it would easily get lost among the other fifty million Brutal Truth worship bands. I can't argue that good grindcore isn't good grindcore, it's just in a market too saturated by average-to-good bands.
Bomb-Ass Tracks: Too Far Gone, Encoded, The Second Principle
On a Playlist With: Brutal Truth, Hivesmasher, Pig Destroyer
Nolentia have put together a really enjoyable grind/ sludge album. It's quirky enough to have decent replay value, but not enough for it to stay on permanent rotation on my iPod. It's a tried and true mix balls to the walls grind and tar-like sludge that takes on it's own disgusting and disturbing form. Like I said, good grindcore is good grindcore, and Nolentia have definitely made good grindcore.
May the Hand that Holds the Match that will Set this Wold on Fire be Blessed Above All (fuck yeah, got it right in one try!) comes out February 4th in France, March 4th in the UK, and March 12th in North America on Kaotoxin Records.
That's all for now, folks! It's almost 3AM now, and I'm going the fuck to bed.