Album review: Holding Absence – The Noble Art Of Self Destruction

Welsh post-hardcore heroes Holding Absence astound on epic third LP, The Noble Art Of Self Destruction…

Album review: Holding Absence – The Noble Art Of Self Destruction
Jake Richardson

Artistically, Holding Absence are at the pinnacle of contemporary rock. The creative vision that’s gone into everything the band have released to date – two excellent full-lengths (2019’s Holding Absence and 2021’s The Greatest Mistake Of My Life) along with a string of fine singles/EPs slotted in between – have marked them out as one of the UK’s best young bands.

But what sets the Cardiff four-piece apart from even their strongest contemporaries is the sheer weight of emotive storytelling that underpins the music. Led by charismatic and ludicrously talented frontman Lucas Woodland, Holding Absence have swiftly become experts at their craft, and third album The Noble Art Of Self Destruction is, even by their lofty standards, the most complete and immersive body of work the band have produced to date.

A 10-track epic that ruminates on the ever-evolving journey we call life, The Noble Art Of Self Destruction centres on the theme of self-improvement, using an array of metaphors including the Japanese pottery art of Kintsugi and Michelangelo’s famed sculpture David to reflect on how it’s our imperfections that make us who we are. Highlights include brilliant emo epic Death, Nonetheless, where firebrand drummer Ash Green excels, infectious lead-single A Crooked Melody and magical love ballad Honey Moon.

It all builds to the grand finale that is six-minute-long closing track The Angel In The Marble; Holding Absence’s magnum opus. It’s an outstanding piece of songwriting that demonstrates its creators’ ability to push songs as far as they can go, without them buckling under the weight of the myriad ideas and emotions that go into their creation.

Described by the band as the final work in a trilogy of records that encompass the first chapter of their career, The Noble Art Of Self Destruction sets the scene for Holding Absence to take themselves in whatever direction they see fit. Backed by some of the finest musicianship, lyricism and foresight UK rock has seen in generations, it’s a thrilling prospect to think about how they could evolve next.

Verdict: 5/5

For fans of: My Chemical Romance, Bring Me The Horizon, Creeper

The Noble Art Of Self Destruction is released on August 25 via SharpTone – get your limited-edition cassette now

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