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Holding Absence – The Greatest Mistake of My Life

Holding Absence
The Greatest Mistake of My Life
by Tommy Mulhern at 24 June 2021, 1:17 PM

I hate to be cynical about any sphere of metal music because chances are there is some degree of talent behind it; and the musicians, particularly the singers, who record post hardcore or emo are normally very proficient. It is, however, the one genre I can’t help but feel has a blueprint for success that very few want to scribble new ideas on. From the shouty, sweet but raspy vocals, to the kindly keyboards and samples, to the semi acoustic lows and heavy stuttering highs of the guitars, it just all seems so formulaic. Now, fans of this will say that it definitely is not; “It talks to my very soul, we feel their pain and live their anguish”, but I just don’t buy it. And there’s obviously a market out there, which I imagine is more concerned with style over substance, because these guys have it all, the great production, the moody photos and the slick videos. Truth be told, they seem like a manufactured boy band for teenagers that feel a bit more misunderstood than everyone else. Thankfully there’s loads of them.

The album itself seems to fall between three stools. It strives to be MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE but isn’t anthemic enough. It tries to be TESSERACT but isn’t inventive enough. And it would like to be COHEED & CAMBRIA, to some degree, but can’t get close to their originality. Then again, I  might be giving them too much credit for trying to emulate any of these bands, when the goal could be just to tick boxes, which they unashamedly do. Don’t get me wrong, these guys can definitely play their instruments, but that only seems like more of a waste than anything. Some might say there’s no point being able to play if it doesn’t eventually pay, but the best music is made when this doesn’t come into the equation. We all know that is the case in metal music, more than anywhere.

In the 1990s the best rock and metal magazines I could get were Kerrang and Metal Hammer. Sadly, near the end of that decade they started featuring these pseudo styles of rock, mainly emo. It was obviously done to cater for a record label driven – tee shirt selling - cash rich juggernaut, that any publication wanting to survive would be foolish to turn a lift down from. And like any aspect of a business that is keeping it going, these bands now dominate their pages, albeit to a less musically adventurous degree than the pioneers of the genre. I am pretty sure that the complete package that this Welsh quartet will garner the plaudits from these publications and others like them, they fit the mould and look the part. If and when this does happen then I’ll be happy to say “I just don’t get it”, and that hearing “The Greatest Mistake of My Life" has definitely not changed that. So, in this case, I’m afraid, ABSENCE has made this heart grow a little wearier.

Songwriting: 4
Musicianship: 6
Memorability: 2
Production: 8

2 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Awake
2. Celebration Song
3. Curse Me With Your Kiss
4. Afterlife
5. Drugs and Love
6. In Circles
7. nomoreroses
8. Beyond Belief
9. Die Alone (In Your Lover’s Arms)
10. Phantoms
11. Mourning Song
12. The Greatest Mistake Of My Life
Lineup:
Ashley Green – Drums
Lucas Woodland – Vocals and Keyboards
Scott Carey – Guitar
James Joseph – Bass
Record Label: Sharp Tone Records
     


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Edited 22 May 2022
 

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