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  • Writer's pictureOrla Joyce

Album Review: Holding Absence - The Noble Art of Self Destruction.

Updated: Oct 4, 2023

Described as the third in a trilogy of albums, Welsh Post-Hardcore band Holding Absence have released their album The Noble Art of Self Destruction. The record, much like the ones preceding it, will take you on a memorable introspective journey.

The album opens with the track Head Prison Blues, and works as a strong opener. Structurally it is well balanced between heavy, musically, and vulnerable songs, as well as songs of familiarity. Holding Absence, from the get-go never strayed away from editing any raw emotion featured in their tracks. Something admirable about this band is that despite the honesty in the lyrics, they do not steal the attention from the music accompanying them. In Head Prison Blues, the listener can get swept up in the lyrics and there is a powerful drum element. These drums almost act as breathing space between verse and chorus to allow the listener time to digest the lyrics.

There is a beautiful balance of unheard tracks and the singles that have been released prior to the album. The singles are A Crooked Melody, False Dawn, Honey Moon and most recently, Scissors. The album demonstrates the storytelling ability of the lyricist(s). The song False Dawn is like a musical time lapse of a day. depicting the ebbs and flows that come with day to day life and the shifts in energy when juggling emotions or mental struggles. In the single Scissors, the vocal range of frontman Lucas Woodland truly shines. The track Liminal also highlights Woodland's vocal capabilities, not only in range but also in techniques. This track is fast and fun, a crowd of any size in any venue would be alight with rhapsodic energy.

The four members of Holding Absence standing in a stairwell
Photo Credit: Bethan Miller @bethanmillerco

Though the album is just 10 tracks, each one packs a punch that offers more on each listen. It is an album packed with metaphors, such as the Michael Angelos sculpture of David, that our imperfections do not make us imperfect. This metaphor can be found in the closing track The Angel In The Marble. The song comes in at 6 minutes and it's the perfect closer to the album, again giving the listener time to process the music.

Holding Absence are a young band, on the precipice of what could be a long, fortuitous career. To come out with an album like The Noble Art of Self Destruction is a testament to the sheer talent and hard work they put into their projects. It demonstrates an in depth knowledge of how their music works together and how create an experience for the listener. An experience that encourages introspection, and goes beyond just listening to a song because it sounds nice. Like any good piece of art it can be appreciated on multiple levels, and doesn't have to be disected to be appreciated. It's a damn good record that can be just thrown on, but I'm sure many people will find solace and company in the vulnerable lyrics, emotive melodies and thought provoking metaphors.

Rating: 5/5

Track Favourites: Liminal, The Angel In The Marble and False Dawn

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