REVIEW: HOLDING ABSENCE - "HOLDING ABSENCE"
Holding Absence’s long-awaited debut album has been one on many peoples’ wish list and for good reason. This band have done something which not many young bands are able to do, which is to absolutely nail their own brand of nostalgic, dream pop-tinged post-hardcore within a blisteringly short time frame. Like the softer baby brother of Sam Carter of Architects, vocalist Lucas Woodland leaps between heartfelt croons to belted near-screams with perfect precision. For a band that have swept across the live scene, there was relatively little music to their name apart from six tracks (including a split with label buddies Loathe) which kept us all in anticipation of a fully realised debut album. Having a full-length album finally from the Welsh five piece is just what's needed to fully immerse yourself into the atmosphere they present so well.
Setting the scene with that aforementioned atmosphere, “Perish” sets the tone of the album perfectly: cold pads, lush melodies, subdued electronics and a punchy rhythm section. The pads and instruments then meld together as soon as “Your Love (Has Ruined My Life)” launches which hints at its huge emotional chorus but it is in “Like A Shadow” that the bands real song writing merit shines boasting a chorus big enough to fill arenas. “Marigold” changes up the tone of the album with a piano ballad that really shows off Lucas Woodland’s emotionally charged vocal tone; it reminds me a lot of bands like The Elijah and Sleep Token.
The album kicks it back into chorus mode with “To Fall Asleep” which sees Lucas belt out some incredible pitched shouts that fit perfectly into the atmospherics of the track. The following track “Monochrome” continues the trend of pure, cathartic choruses. The clean guitar driven “A Godsend” is another chance to come up for air as it focuses on the vocals without the punch of the more intense tracks. The piano lead approach of “Marigold” returns near the end in the interlude“Purge”, which is full of lush vocal harmonies that build up the aptly titled final track, “Wilt”, a heart-wrenching anthem that brings the album to a close.
At times it is hard to tell where the guitar parts end and the atmospherics begin which is what sets Holding Absence apart from the crowd. Where comparisons with now defunct band The Elijah could be a starting point, their styles only overlap so far, with Holding Absence borrowing cinematics from bands like Architects while avoiding the cliches associated with being labelled as a 'metal' band. Now, with an incredible album to their name, the future for Holding Absence is truly exciting.
ROCKODILE RATING - 9/10
Words by William Alex Young