Holding Absence & Loathe throw a night to remember in Leeds

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Holding Absence/Loathe/God Complex/Parting Gift
Leeds Key Club – 04/03/18

Photo: Ashlea Bea

If there was ever an advertisement to support your local scene, this show was it. Holding Absence and Loathe have both existing for a mere two years, yet between them have accomplished what most would be lucky to do in a year. Download Festival, critically acclaimed releases, UK and US tours and a split EP release. Whilst both possessing an incredibly unique sound, both bands grafted relentlessly on their local circuits. Embarking on their duel headline tour, as well as choosing an up and coming local band each for the show, this tour is simply a showcase of the brightest British newcomers and you’d be daft to miss it. However…

It’s a Sunday night, arctic conditions and it’s just started to rain. A wander up Merrion Street and into the warmth of Leeds’ packed, premier alternative venue, The Key Club, we’re greeted with the musical stylings of God Complex (9). Whilst opening the show, they perform as though they’re headlining. A backlit stage creates an ominous viewing to match the fast and enthralling pace of their music, mainly comprising of heavy, low tuned riffs, found in a song such as Insignificant, they then go into more versatile, yet equally as chaotic songs like “Hate Runs Through Me”. The Merseyside four piece only formed in 2017, yet have the stage presence of a band that formed in 2007, whilst still having contemporary flare on Heavy Metal.

Parting Gift (8) follow. PG bring the same energy in a more sombre tone. Ambient tonality layered with snarling bass as well as a chugging backbone allows for a very catchy sound. Once again, Parting Gift put on an incredible performance, with lyrics that touch and pull on emotions, delivered in an angelic tone, it’s clear to see as to why they were chosen to be an opener on this tour. Once again, Parting Gift formed and debuted in 2017, another incredible band that when given the chance, will captivate you.

The first of the duel headlining acts, Holding Absence (9) come on to the stage around 9 o’clock, the room still over a hundred full on a Sunday evening, which speaks for itself on how impressive that is. It’s now common knowledge that if you’ve even dipped your toe into the alternative UK scene that Holding Absence have fast become one of the brightest, hardest working and most enamoured bands to date and tonight proves this once again. Opening with thrasher, Permanent, every member throws their being around the stage. Hair flying, fists punching the air and necks rock as a wall of sound takes the room by storm. Lucas Woodland immediately controls the crowd, standing tall and defiant on the barrier to his audience as every lyric is sang back.

This continues further throughout the set with songs such as Saint Cecilia, Everything and Dream Of Me, as well as the debut of a new song, which shows incredible promise and all show the diversity of the band. Woodland’s powerful projection and fluttering clean vibrato compliments the ethereal lead guitar lines and chordal sequences of Feisal El-Khazragi. Backed by the almost incomparable ferocity and passion from Ashley Green and James Joseph, this set proves HA are without a doubt set for success. They are a Godsend.

This evening’s headliners are Loathe (9). The lights drop, a red swelling light and two TVs atop cabinets show static as the band walk on and open with Servant And Master, immediately creating a rift in the crowd as dancers begin to make their first moves. Diving straight into It’s Yours, a relentless heavy sound rattles the room, an infection that captures the centre of your body and makes you move your head or sway in time, you will not stay still, especially upon the chorus with the combination of soaring cleans and a nasty growl, into the breakdown which drips with disgusting snap, this was the perfect way to start their set.

An incredibly tight and structured setlist and performance, Loathe are without a doubt engaging with everyone in the room. The red background continues to glow, representing a clear reference to both the split EP cover of This Is As One, but also possibly to the black and red of 2017’s, The Cold Sun, their aesthetic adds to the performance and mood no end. Rattling through songs such as Rest; In Violence, Banshee and Loathe, the room basked in heavy. As the band end the set with the emphatic White Hot and Babylon, those in attendance are left with an experience. Something that will not leave them and will impact every band they see, will they live up to the performance piece they just witnessed? All we know is we’re desperate for more, not only from Loathe, but every band on this bill. This is only the beginning.
Review: Adam Jones

9.0 Awesome!
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