SharpTone Records labelmates Loathe and Holding Absence are both rising rapidly through the ranks of UK rock, so it makes sense that they’ve teamed up to release split EP This Is As One.
Featuring six songs, This Is As One is comprised of three tracks from each band. Two of these are brand new, with the third being a live version of a previously released tune.
First up, Loathe open the EP with White Hot. The song begins with frontman Kadeem France weaving between unclean and clean vocals before backing vocalist and guitarist Erik Bickerstaffe steps up to the mic, delivering a performance reminiscent of Chino Moreno of Deftones fame.
This song would have undoubtedly made a splash if it was released in the 90s, because they emulate the alternative metal style with ease.
Although Servant and Master has a more current sound, it would be appropriate to give it the title White Hot Mess. It’s a bit of a disaster.
With a slow, dreary beginning building to a crescendo the song becomes promising, but a bizarre bass-heavy effect overpowers the bridge for no particular reason. It’s unnecessary, more like a teenager playing around on GarageBand than a band who’ve been together for four years.
However, Welsh quartet Holding Absence swoop in and save the day on the second half of this split EP.
Despite forming a mere 18 months ago, the Cardiff-based rockers have a mature writing style which has gained them a lot of attention (notably an appearance at Download Festival after less than 12 months together).
It’s hard to find the words to describe the sheer perfection of Saint Cecelia. With a far more radio-friendly sound than Loathe, the soaring guitars and simplistic drumbeat beautifully complement the gorgeous vocal of frontman Lucas Woodland.
As he croons, “Here’s the thing, you make my heart sing”, it’s impossible to resist imagining the band on a large stage with a rapt audience echoing their lyrics back to them. This song was written for arenas.
Meanwhile, Everything showcases Woodland’s preternaturally perfect performance. You can’t deny that he was born to sing as he eases his voice higher and higher without a care in the world. It sounds effortless, transforming listening to Holding Absence into a transcendental experience.
This Is As One is a split EP, but there’s no competition to which side is more successful. If Holding Absence can continue writing and releasing music of this high standard, they’re going to be one of the biggest bands on the planet before you know it.