Not so long ago I went to the Boston Music Room to see Holding Absence.
After a few changes in the past and their reformation in 2016, the melodic hardcore quintet from Cardiff (Wales) now comprises vocalist Lucas Woodland, drummer Ashley Green, bassist James Joseph, as well as the two guitarists Feisal El-Khazragi and Giorgio Cantarutti. So far, they released the four singles ‘Permanent’ (2017, Sharptone Records), ‘Dream Of Me’ (2017, Sharptone Records), ‘Penance’ (2017, Sharptone Records) and ‘Heaven Knows’ (2017, Sharptone Records), as well as their collaborative debut EP ‘This Is As One’ (2018, Sharptone Records) which they co-released together with Loathe. Musically, Holding Absence show influences of melodic hardcore with elements of post-hardcore, combined with post-rock atmospheric. A major element of their music are the emotional and deep carried through Lucas’s clean and roughly screamed vocals.
The sold-out 250-capacity venue, which was the iconic Boston Music Room in London where legendary post punk bands of the 80s and 90s started, opened the doors around 7.30 pm to a rather young but excited audience. First band on the stage was the British masked and anonymous melodic post-rock band Sleep Token who mix soulful strong vocals with melodic but heavy guitars and create a ghostlike ambience. Their sound was very unique and seemed to be from another world slowly crawling from the stage, filling the room just like fog starting to build a veil blocking someone’s sight and senses. So far, the band released two EP’s which are ‘One’ (2016, self-released) and ‘Two’ (2017, Basick Records). Unfortunately, there is no information about the band themselves to be found which makes them even more special and creates a mystic appearance. Nonetheless, the crowd really enjoyed their set and seemed to be excited about both the music and the visual show.
Following Sleep Token, Holding Absence entered the stage and the crowd was absolutely amazed. While Sleep Token created a very dark, emotive and melancholic but calm ambience, Holding Absence’s set was filled with loads of energy and emotions. The crowd went mental, jumped around, danced and screamed the lyrics of every song back to the band who was deeply honoured and humbled. Opening the set with ‘Permanent’, they continued with ‘Saint Cecilia’, ‘Perish’ (new, unrecorded), ‘Everything’, ‘Heaven Knows’, ‘Dream Of Me’ and finished off with ‘Penance’. They couldn’t thank the crowd enough and seemed to enjoy the show as much as their audience did. Sadly letting Holding Absence leave the stage, the crowd welcomed Loathe with the same level of energy as the had before.
Loathe, comprising vocalist Kadeem France, guitarist Eric Bickerstaffe, bassist Shayne Smith, drummer Sean Radcliffe and guitarist Connor Sweeney, is an in 2017 formed metalcore band from Liverpool (UK) who mix different genres such as progressive metal, nu-metal, experimental metal and metalcore. So far, they released an EP ‘Prepare Consume Proceed’ (2016, Sharptone Records), a full-length album titled ‘The Cold Sun’ (2017, Sharptone Records) and the co-released EP ‘This Is As One’ (2018, Sharptone Records) together with Holding Absence. Musically, they provide a complex sonic creation showing elements of post-punk, hardcore, deathcore, djent and heavy electronics, paired with hints of prog-rock. They are influenced by bands such as Korn, Deftones or Slipknot, and mix heavy guitars with mainly screamed vocals.
The energy they create on stage with their music and performance directly cached the crowd and was much appreciated. Everyone engaged and screamed along, run around in mosh pits and jumped, setting all the remaining energy free. Loathe played a good mix of both older and newer songs which was highly appreciated by their fanbase. At the end Kadeem jumped off the stage and joined the pit in the crowd.
Not only the performances of the bands and their artistic as well as musical skills were on point, but also the acoustic and tight show was provided pleasantly. The lights were kept quite dark and simple on a rather cold colour scheme which suited all three sets and created a dark, mystic as well as cosy vibe. Holding absence additionally used four incense stick which were installed in front of some mirrors at the back of the stage. The vocals and instruments were mixed well which increased the listening experience.
Overall, it was an amazing evening with three very talented upcoming artist who keep the scene alive. Both, the bands and the audience, had a lot of fun and a great time. The crowd was very energetic, jumping and moshing around, as well as there were a lot of crowd surfers which was highly appreciated by the bands who gave their best on stage. It was a special time for everyone and I am looking forward to hearing new music from all of the bands in the future.