Holding Absence – The Noble Art Of Self Destruction (Sharptone Records)
Undoubtedly, The Greatest Mistake Of My Life was an album that forever changed the lives of Holding Absence. Since the album’s release back in 2021, the band has been touring non-stop all over the world, including a myriad of supporting slots, festivals, as well as their own high-energy headline shows.
The album itself is a masterpiece, a testament to the deeply emotional songwriting and emotive sound the band has an undying loyalty to. Which means that it will take something truly powerful and inspiring to follow up.
Thankfully, the band’s dedication to creating such touching, anthemic tracks remains as they head into their new album The Noble Art Of Self Destruction. Not only is this the third album by the band, but one which they consider to be “The final part of a trilogy”. This isn’t to say that the band is planning on closing up after this album, but it finishes what was started with their self-titled album all the way back in 2019.
“Here I am. Heart In Hand,” are the first six words uttered by lead singer Lucas Woodland, and really it manages to sum up exactly what this album is all about. It’s Holding Absence at their most emotional and honest, but also at their most triumphant. The opener ‘Head Prison Blues‘ is a pacing and melodic track with an underlying desperation, one that revolves around the idea of being so confined within your mind that you slowly consume yourself.
‘A Crooked Melody‘ furthers this metaphor, but there’s also a clear resolution and resolve to continue, “Sing myself a crooked melody/Where I tell myself that it’s gonna be alright.” A clear belief then that while everything might be falling apart or inherently bad, sometimes denying it and forcing yourself to believe that things will be okay is the first step into making it out the other side.
While Woodland’s incredible lyricism is what helps to make these songs so powerful and impassioned, each track is underpinned with the incredible work of guitarist Scott Carey, bassist Benjamin Elliot, as well as the mesmerising drums of Ashley Green.
Together, the culmination of the gripping lyricism and vocals from Woodland and the larger-than-life accompaniments from the rest of the band help to make this album the band’s most theatrical collection of songs to date. Each song is lined with a sense of drama and tenacity that exceeds most if not everything that has come from the band before.
For further evidence of this, look no further than ‘Scissors‘ – a track littered with some of the album’s most gut-wrenching lyrical content, an angsty breakdown that harkens back to some of the band’s earlier work, and one of the rawest vocal performances Woodland has laid down in years.
The racing drums on ‘Death Nonetheless‘ also serve as a reminder of the band’s status as a prominent member of the post-hardcore scene, while the band’s emo influences really shine through, from the glitchy and distorted analogue introduction to the transcendent chanted outro, it certainly feels like a track that wouldn’t be too out of place in even My Chemical Romance‘s discography.
Since their last album, Holding Absence have begun to become something of a household name, and their live shows have had an important contribution to that, which is why the massive chorus found in ‘Her Wings’ is certainly going to be one that fans will anticipate on the setlist ahead of their UK tour later this year, destined to ring out across the rooms that will be filled from side to side, front to back.
Both ‘These New Dreams‘ and ‘Liminal’ find themselves sharing similar lyrical sentiments as previous tracks in the album, each is fresh in its sound and delivery, but it is the smooth transition between the latter and the final track that helps to guide the listener towards what will surely go down as one of the band’s best songs.
Concluding song ‘The Angel In The Marble’ is this album’s pièce de résistance. It is as much of a piece of art as the marble structures it references throughout its lyrical content.
The allusion to the Japanese art of Kintsugi, a way of mending broken sculptures and fragile ceramics using gold inlays to create something mended and beautiful is evocative and one that will echo with listeners – “Look at my scars they are beautiful/They held me together when I wanted to let go/I’m a kintsugi sculpture and I need it to be known.“
While the entire song is filled with stirring lyrical moments, the bridge is where Woodland’s lyrical Midas touch can be found; “I am a puzzle/I am a painting/I am a work of Art in the making/Trust in your hand and trust in the process/I am a work of Art in the progress/I learned from my flaws and I cut myself open/Glued myself better/Golden/Unbroken/Now all I have left is a handful of hope/And a thousand laments that I can’t leave unspoken.“
This song, and this album as a whole, is a rallying call for those out there who have suffered at both the hands of others and themselves, but are slowly learning that sometimes breaking yourself down is what is required in order to build yourself up again to become something even better than you were before.
Holding Absence want you to know that you are the artist with a hand in your own design and that every wrong stroke of the brush or accidental trike of the chisel will ultimately help to create something more beautiful than ever.
I personally fail to see how this album will do anything but propel this incredible band beyond anything that they have achieved before, and while their upcoming UK tour is made up of mid-sized rooms and academies, it wouldn’t be at all surprising to me if those rooms become arenas by the time this album cycle comes around.
God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.
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