07 Mai Holding Absence: The Greatest Mistake Of My Life (English Version)
After a black and white world, Holding Absence’s second album feels like a story of colors.
Their first EP with Loathe and their self-titled album had felt like a punch in the guts, a reminder that life was hard but worth it, that no one was alone in their struggles.
The Greatest Mistake of my Life is like coming up for air after thinking you were drowning. The words still hit very close, the melodies are powerful, but it feels like finally coming to terms with your own struggles and telling the world about it.
The album opens with an instrumental track : Awake. You can only hear one sentence being whispered ; “I’m alive”, it’s the words opening the album, words continued in the second song titled Celebration Song. To open your album with words like those is a statement, it’s a taste of what this album has to offer. It’s a celebration of surviving depression. Lucas Woodland’s vocals are some of the best he’s ever put out there, the instruments are flawless, everything blends perfectly together. It’s a powerful, hopeful track that shows everything Holding Absence is.
Afterlife was a single and showcased what this album was going to be. With a new, softer but still powerful sound, the welsh group talks about a love that will last even after death. Inspired by Mipha from Breath of the Wild, Afterlife is about having someone watching your back even after death, knowing you’re not alone because their love transcends the mortal realm. It’s also a taste of one of the themes of this album ; grief, loss. Not necessarily death, but loss as a concept.
Drugs and Love is a very catchy song featuring incredible vocals and a sublime instrumental performance. It deals with the tendency people have of using drugs or love as a way to numb the pain. It’s a song about guilt, about sadness, about loneliness, about escapism.
In Circles was described by Lucas Woodland as an anthem about existentialism and it feels just like it. A cyclical song about doing the same thing day after day after day, it’s about being stuck in a grey cycle of monotony and dread. The existentialist aspect of it is in the fact that people inflict it to themselves without even realizing it because in the end we are the ones dictating our own actions.
With a heavier melody, we enter Nomoreroses. An intimate and beautiful track about a bad relationship with god, asking the question how can I believe in a god who doesn’t believe in me. Of enduring so much pain that you start to question the grace of god entirely.
With Ashley Green on the drums and Scott Carey on the guitar, the tracks sound mesmerizing, their talent and passion can be heard and felt on every single verse. And a special mention for James Joseph on the bass, who announced at the beginning of the year that he was parting ways with the band to pursue other dreams, such as his new band James And The Cold Gun.
Beyond Belief is a love song, a kind and hopeful track about how scary it can be to engage completely with someone but throwing any fear you have aside.
With a feature of Lucas Woodland’s sister, Die Alone (In Your Lover’s Arms) is about the two sides of a deathbed ; realizing the love you dedicated almost your whole life to meant nothing in the end and realizing your final moments have been wasted. The two voices mix perfectly together, associated with the incredible drums and guitars, it escalates to explode into one of the most powerful climaxes of the album.
Mourning Song is one of the most beautiful, saddest songs I have heard. It’s a track about how losing a loved one can, in retrospect, make you live and love harder, how it can ease the mental battles you’re going through. It’s a track about living for those who couldn’t. It’s unfair, it’s painful, it’s an ode to all those we lost, all those we sing to. I think that when you relate to that song, it almost automatically becomes one of those who will hit you the hardest. It’s a seven minutes long track ending on a beautiful guitar melody.
The final track is the self-titled track : The Greatest Mistake of my Life. A cover of Gracie Field’s song. Lucas explained that his uncle had sang this exact song on vinyl years ago, singing it again while keeping the old record player sounds was a way to come full circle.
The Greatest Mistake of my Life is one of the best albums I have heard since the beginning of the year and Holding Absence’s best work. It deals with important themes such as grief, depression, loss or guilt, always with a glimpse of hope. It’s like a light in the dark, a reminder that even though you might feel broken, you will be okay. That you endured everything and that you’re still alive, despite everything. It’s an album about coming to terms with all of that, with all your struggles, and finally telling the world about it, to help others.
Holding Absence announced an European and UK Tour for 2021. All details on their website. You can also check the interview we did with the band back in 2018 as they were on tour with As It Is.
Photo credit : Bethan Miller – https://www.bethanmiller.co/