Is it possible to enjoy an album like May the Hand that Holds the Match that will Set this World on Fire be Blessed Above All when it is such an abrasive and destructive endurance to suffer? Quite simply yes though it took time to make its final persuasion though it might just be it wore down the defences and forced a submission. Either way by its completion the new album from French agiteurs Nolentia leaves one infernally violated but rewardingly spent.
Released through Kaotoxin Records, May the Hand… is a furnace of seventeen unbridled grindcore annihilations. Fusing a mix of grind, hardcore, doom, crust, and sonic blistering, Nolentia rip the senses into whining victims whilst simultaneously burning synapses with a venomous acid which eats away until only mental sushi is left. As you can imagine the band which formed in 2007, is not an encounter which holds back on unleashing pain and a merciless form of intensity which permanently brands, but at times it is also a tempest with the most compelling and bewitching of grooves and imagination submerged within the full on abuse. From their first demo Sell Your Soul to Grind’n’Roll! of 2008, the band found themselves sharing stages with the likes of The Arson Project, Benighted, Dagoba, Disgorge, Imply In All, Inhume, Knut, Sylvester Staline, Textures, and more. The following year brought their debut album …One Loud Noise and It’s Gone, a release which put them on the horizon of a great many with its unpredictable squalling sounds. During the next years the Toulouse trio successfully left Brutal Grind Assault 2011 buckling under their storm with bands such as General Surgery, Maruta, and Wormrot, playing alongside bands like Atara, Exhumed, Magrudergrind, Mass Grave and Rotten Sound, and late last year the signing with Kaotoxin.
Their second album is an intense and dark monster which either invades and consumes with the predatory instinct of an exhausting malevolent swamp or just chews up and spits out the listener in a violent brawl of sonic outrage, often combining the two as with opener The Boiling Frog Principle a track which prowls with a malice which explodes into sheer nasty turbulence. As throughout the album, the bass in first song is a deliciously intimidating and bruising spoke in the wheel of sanity, its insidious breath as corrosive and threatening as the sonic discord fervour which slashes with sabre like accuracy on the ear elsewhere.
Songs like A Lament for the Road Kill and Xie Xie continue the pleasing unrelenting heavy ache in sound and effect with a varied yet uniformal sonic profanation, though they do not spark any lasting addiction to be honest. That is soon offered by the soon to revel highlights of the album starting with Too Far Gone, a song which actually recedes in its aggressive stance to unleash hypnotic rhythms and a strangely seductive melodic wooing within the persistent heavy grazing. The album as it progresses gets better and more appealing, its mid waypoint where the convincing is won in the favour of the release, brought on by tracks like the mighty caustic barracking of Wright. The song is a magnetic assault with twists in attack, pace, and invention to leave one equally intrigued and compelled as they are left smarting under its demanding assault.
Throughout the bass is a thrilling aggressor and in The Ticking of the Clock, a brutal hunger upon the ear which drives the destruction of the song deeper than ever. The dual vocals rip through flesh across every song on the album, their two levels of extremes a perfect ravishment against the equally devouring sounds and here they find their nastiest pinnacle. Gasoline and All About, the best track on the release, leave their own distinct sonic rape on the senses with the latter stealing top honours through its stalking gait and teasing sonic flamed groove which spears the thunderous ruptures which explode within the delicious inflexible grind.
May the Hand… is certainly not an album for everyone, as quite simply it is a release which either hurts or pleasures; for those who truly connect with its grindcore might though it satisfyingly does both. If the likes of Pig Destroyer, Brutal Truth, and Napalm Death hit a chord than Nolentia definitely needs an investigation, they convinced us…eventually.
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