Holding Absence
Holding Absence


4.5
superb

Review

by Mason Pearmain USER (58 Reviews)
March 10th, 2019 | 125 replies


Release Date: 2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Young blood with the heart and soul of a veteran act.

Bands mixing glossy alt-rock soundscapes and post-hardcore sensibilities aren’t really anything that new in this day and age. Emarosa had it down to a science in the late 2000s/early 2010s with albums such as Relativity. I the Mighty did it while flirting with more progressive elements around the release of the Hearts & Spades EP. Need I mention the influence that Hands Like Houses have on that wing? In other words, the sound itself isn’t exactly new. There’s a level of predictability that can’t be ignored if you aren’t already attuned to the style in question. Hailing from Cardiff, Wales, Holding Absence is a new band that, based on the sound of their music, tries to mix the atmospheric feel that you’d get from a random post-rock act with that aforesaid combination of alt-rock and post-hardcore. Given that each genre involved in their writing process has a knack for its expressiveness, one would at least expect a decent emotional experience. Needless to say, Holding Absence not only meets, but may just exceed nearly every expectation you could ever ask of it.

Whether it’s the slow, melodic piano-driven “Marigold” or the energetic yet still ethereal “To Fall Asleep”, it’s hard to argue that there isn’t a fairly diverse set of songs. Thus, this album offers something for everyone. It’s not to the point where the album sounds like it’s all over the place, but it won’t feel like it’s repeating the same song over and over. The more energetic moments feel like a cross between the last effort from Too Close to Touch and the first two Emarosa albums. Opener “Perish” makes this clear right away, as do songs like “You Are Everything”, “Like a Shadow”, and “Monochrome”. The more ethereal moments on the album almost feel like something you’d find on Break My Fucking Sky’s Eviscerate Soul. There’s no shortage of points where you’ll likely be awestruck by how serene the album feels. “Wilt” sums up the gist of Holding Absence within a runtime of about six and a half minutes as it bookends the album. By taking elements of each track before, the song bears a stark similarity to what The Wonder Years intended to do with their closer to The Greatest Generation; that being the grandiose epic “I Just Want to Sell Out My Funeral”.

The icing on the proverbial cake of Holding Absence lies within Lucas Woodland’s powerful vocals and expressive lyrics. To put it simply, he’s a Welsh version of Parker Cannon in some areas but versatile enough to calm the storm. Woodland is already proving to be a driving force in the band, as said versatility brings the instrumentals to another level in more ways than one. His vocals make each song feel more complete than if he wasn’t there, rather than feeling tacked on. Like other singers in the genre, he embodies sort of a “tortured soul” persona, as his emotive delivery accents the lyrics in a manner akin to the last Movements album. Depression, anxiety, and failed love are the focal point for Woodland’s cathartic release set to music. Whereas “A Godsend” would plead out to a deity in a way that’s anything but subtle (but every night, I speak to Him / I shut my eyes and speak in hymn), other songs would lament about loss in a more general manner; such an example of that is on “Like a Shadow” (The echo of your goodbye, it lingers like a shadow). While it may come off as too melodramatic for some listeners, the blunt honesty in Woodland’s lyricism is a sure mark in favor of the album.

Holding Absence is an experience that ought to be heard to be believed. It may not be the most innovative piece of work, but damn if it isn’t well-written and exquisitely performed. They play the game almost as well if not better than most veteran acts in the genre, and this is merely a debut. Europe has been the home to a great deal of impressive musicians for a good while, and Holding Absence are no exception.. From the looks of it, that isn’t due to change any time soon. As long as there’s a home for bands like these to unleash their brand of honest, driving rock music, we’ll have no shortage of great material that’s worth your time for a while longer.



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user ratings (71)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
AgentDeathbat
March 9th 2019


9596 Comments


A couple days late (there's a reason I did a write-up on Warpaint before tackling this beast), but I needed to take some extra time on this one. This is one hell of an album.

STREAM THE ALBUM HERE: https://open.spotify.com/album/4QjyWGfAEiYmHQRAZiAdA1?si=YoBleZTkTS-zN_2D_eGrNQ

Constructive criticism is appreciated!

Digging: Attalus - Into the Sea

9Hammer
March 9th 2019


80 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Well written and I can agree with the points you've made to an extent. The tortured soul description of the vocals makes sense now that I think of it.



Out of curiosity, did you mean "it's expressiveness" instead of "it expressiveness" in the first paragraph?

AgentDeathbat
March 9th 2019


9596 Comments


@9Hammer: yes, lemme fix that real quick

Lucman
March 9th 2019


2138 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Nice review, dude. Yeah, this one really took me by surprise. Although I don't think the melodies are all that impressive across the board (save for a couple of highlights) the atmosphere and sheer weight of the music alone almost makes up for it.

Digging: Emily Scott Robinson - Traveling Mercies

Lucman
March 9th 2019


2138 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

"Lucas Woodland"

Now that's a name I can look up to.

AgentDeathbat
March 9th 2019


9596 Comments


@Lucman: Ayo, thanks! Yeah, I'd say that makes sense.

Durrzo
March 10th 2019


1664 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I've been following these guys closely since they dropped their first single with Lucas. I'm so glad that they finally have a full release out there. Hopefully they get some love and attention because I think they're a pretty special band.

JesperL
March 10th 2019


356 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

great review, though i don't get how people like this. might end up reviewing this as well.

nightbringer
March 10th 2019


223 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

The faux emotionalism of the clean vocals and the over dramatic angsty lyricism basically ruin this for me.

JesperL
March 10th 2019


356 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

^ exactly that. vocalist sounds competent when he's doing the half singing/half yelling thing but as soon as he has to rely on either cleans or screams it shows that he can't do either well. on top of that, the instrumentation is vapid as hel.

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
March 10th 2019


15209 Comments


awesome review my man. pos

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
March 10th 2019


8882 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Not too bad of a review man, getting better at proofreading and keeping things tightly wound. If I may, however, I have to say you get bogged down in comparisons a lot here. There's nothing wrong with drawing connections, but you do so much of it in the second paragraph that there's very little said about the music itself per its own merits. Honestly, having so many similarities crafted just leads me to think this doesn't have an ounce of originality or unique flair inside it.



I'd also avoid repetition of stuff like 'ethereal' and 'energetic,' as such descriptors lose their power when used so frequently. Helps to broaden the vocabulary bank to really color the aural paint a record presents.



Food for thought, hope it's helpful!

Digging: Ni - Pantophobie

ItsTheSquirrel
March 10th 2019


202 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I’ve been listening to these guys since that split EP with Loathe and have high hopes for this

Digging: Children of Bodom - Hexed

ItsTheSquirrel
March 10th 2019


202 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ok that was just as good as I expected

AgentDeathbat
March 10th 2019


9596 Comments


@Jesper, Nightbringer: Damn, that's precisely what drew me in to this album.
@Mars: Thanks for the feedback!

AgentDeathbat
March 10th 2019


9596 Comments


If anything it's just nice to finally have a record like this to lengthen that playlist I have on Spotify to something halfway reasonable

AgentDeathbat
March 10th 2019


9596 Comments


Also, didn't notice this earlier, but thank you so much for the feature!

nightbringer
March 10th 2019


223 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

@Agent, yeah, I get why what I described negatively could be experienced as a perk of the album. I don't find the idea of being impressed with this unintelligible. But it just so happens that the features I described are real turn offs for me.

nightbringer
March 10th 2019


223 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

And I should add that there is a lot of energy and force to the album, which I'm drawn to. So it's a shame, for me, that the lyrics and vocals ruin something that I'm otherwise prepared to enjoy.

AgentDeathbat
March 10th 2019


9596 Comments


@nightbringer: Considering some of the records you've got in your high rankings (i.e: mwY, Thrice, Emery), this is a bit surprising to see that you didn't enjoy this much. Different strokes for different folks though! At first this was a little offputting because of how similar Lucas sounded to Parker Cannon to me, but I grew to love this album. And yeah, you weren't going to just write it off because of the vocals.



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