From the moment of our first breath to the very last gasp we take before we die, we never stop growing as people. Every trial and tribulation, every heartbreak, success and failure, every scar, blemish and wrinkle is another brushstroke illuminating our life’s unique canvas. As Holding Absence frontman Lucas Woodland sings on “The Angel in the Marble,” the closing track on his band’s outstanding third album The Noble Art of Self-Destruction, we are, each and every one of us, “a puzzle, a painting, a work of art in the making.”
Holding Absence’s new album is a testament to how our life’s story is never fully told, with opportunities for change and growth found in every moment, from the depths of despair to the euphoria of our greatest loves. Whether adding flourishes of colour to an already picturesque painting, or chiselling away at the marble to reveal the beauty within, The Noble Art of Self-Destruction – the final act in a trilogy of records encompassing the first chapter of Holding Absence’s career – speaks to how we are each an unfinished work of art with new meanings and qualities waiting to be discovered.
A record Lucas describes as a form of self-therapy that sees him more candid and comfortable with his emotions than ever before, The Noble Art of Self-Destruction brims with a level of energy, excitement and sheer weight of feeling that is unparalleled in contemporary alternative music. Whether Lucas and his bandmates – guitarist Scott Carey, bassist Ben Elliot and drummer Ash Green – are performing relatable anthems about imposter syndrome and self-loathing like massive singles “Crooked Melody” and “False Dawn,” gushing love ballads (“Honey Moon”) or existential reflections on suicide (“Death Nonetheless”), the four-piece’s approach on their new album is packed with the kind of vigour that saw Kerrang! label them as British rock’s “new leading light” and Loudwire proclaim the Cardiff natives to be “the UK’s most exciting new rock band.”
Recorded at Canada’s Jukasa Studios with producer Dan Weller (Enter Shikari, Bury Tomorrow), The Noble Art of Self-Destruction builds further into the lore of Holding Absence that sets them apart from many of their contemporaries. Taking influence from a varied array of sources including Renaissance sculptor Michelangelo, sci-fi blockbuster Star Wars and the Japanese pottery art of Kintsugi, Holding Absence’s new LP speaks to the desire of Lucas and his bandmates to create a project that exists as so much more than just a band.
“It’s really important to state that this record is the third part of a trilogy,” Lucas says. “The Noble Art of Self-Destruction is the final piece of a wider art project, with this record serving as a bit of a love letter to Holding Absence before we take the next step. In that regard, I really took inspiration from the Star Wars trilogies and how people over the years have completed these epic projects that really fill in the blanks and allow the art to evolve into something bigger and different.”
Having broken one million monthly listeners on Spotify and with top song “Afterlife” racking up in excess of 30,000,000 streams, The Noble Art of Self-Destruction looks a sure bet to bring even more success the way of Holding Absence, who’ve toured with the likes of Funeral For a Friend, Electric Callboy and You Me At Six. Previous LP The Greatest Mistake of My Life saw the band grace the covers of Kerrang! and Rock Sound, with glowing coverage from outlets including Loudwire, Alternative Press and Upset. The Guardian, meanwhile, praised Holding Absence as a band “making pop-rock anthems with rib-rattling drumming and mainstream appeal.”
With that love only set to grow once The Noble Art of Self-Destruction is released, it’s important for Lucas to emphasise how this album represents that what’s come so far is just the beginning of Holding Absence’s journey.
“Our first album (2019’s Holding Absence) was about love, The Greatest Mistake of My Life was about loss, and this album is about the person that’s left at the end of that, and the lessons they’ve learned from their trauma. It’s the end of a trilogy – the album art literally says this is part three of three – but it’s not the end of Holding Absence. The Noble Art of Self-Destruction ends on a note of hope, of looking forward free of fear and of embracing yourself, cracks and all. I think that’s something to be really proud of.”
1. Head Prison Blues
2. A Crooked Melody
3. False Dawn
5. Honey Moon
6. Death Nonetheless
7. Her Wings
8. These New Dreams
10. The Angel In The Marble