ALBUM REVIEW: Holding Absence – The Noble Art of Self Destruction
Holding Absence are a band that have been riding a mammoth wave of momentum ever since the release of their sophomore LP The Greatest Mistake Of My Life, with single Afterlife significantly aiding the band’s popularity, amassing nearly 40 million streams.
The record itself was nothing short of a masterpiece, showing the Welsh band really finding their sound and coming into their prime. Last summer, the band also released a joint EP with hardcore outfit Alpha Wolf, where they dabbled in the heavier side of their music, in a similar style to their 2018 joint EP This Is as One with Loathe.
Fast forward to the present day and Holding Absence have just released their third LP The Noble Art Of Self Destruction, a record that continues the band’s progression of an emotional, heavy and catchy sound, with influences ranging from My Chemical Romance to Thrice.
Kicking off the record, Head Prison Blues’ heavy lyricism about therapy and struggles with mental health make this start not for the faint hearted. Lucas Woodland’s straight-singing honesty is brutal but very powerful, setting the tone for this LP.
Lead single A Crooked Melody follows which is a great, catchy tune and shows Holding Absence exercising the formulas that have given them so much success in recent years. “Sing myself a crooked melody” will undoubtedly be echoing around your head after spinning this one.
Singles False Dawn and Scissors are next in the track list with the former showing the band’s brilliant capability of writing choruses, whilst Scissors puts Scott Carey’s guitar prowess on full display, with the raw emotion during Scissors’ breakdown being a standout moment in this record.
A slightly different vibe follows next with Honey Moon, more of a predominantly acoustic ballad with a fantastic singalong chorus of “Honey, all I see is you” being a true ‘lighters in the air’ moment.
Into the second half of The Noble Art Of Self Destruction, Death Nonetheless has a bombastic start, but the experimental chanting in the back end of the track perhaps does not quite land, but you can’t fault a band for trying something new and you could see it working in a live environment.
Her Wings is vintage Holding Absence, with drummer Ashley Green on fire. The build up to the finale of this track is excellent. These New Dreams is another example of just how talented a vocalist Woodland is, with his range being on full display during this track in particular.
Wrapping up the record, Liminal’s bridge is arguably the best in the record, with that classic Holding Absence chorus following suit, with finale The Angel In The Marble being one of the band’s most ambitious tracks yet.
With a tentative build up and lyrics such as “There’s an angel in the marble that I’m trying to set free, chopping and hacking to get to the best parts of me”, it’s a passionate call out that despite the rough times you can go through, there is good in you that you have to fight to find, and almost saying that in spite of everything Woodland is going through, he knows there is a light. It’s a heart-warming ending to what can be an emotionally tough album. You’ll be sure to see a few “I am a work of art in the making” tattoos knocking about in the coming years.
To conclude, this record marks Holding Absence taking another step in the right direction and adds to why they may be one of Britain’s most underrated bands – surely it is only a matter of time before they are playing bigger and bigger venues and potentially even headlining festivals?
For Fans Of: My Chemical Romance, Neck Deep, Thrice
Standout Tracks: A Crooked Melody, False Dawn, Scissors
Written by: Joe Loughran