Holding Sand

Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid

Written by: TL on 15/03/2012 18:31:26

A couple of fun facts about this review before I even get it started. 1) I'm writing it flying mile high in the sky, on my way to England, trying wifi on an airplane for the first time in my life, and I'm pretty stoked about this. 2) I just noticed that it's actually been a year to the day, since the last time I reviewed Tours, France quintet Holding Sand. Back then I was a few months late reviewing their second EP "On Sleepless Nights" and it pleases me to say that I am slightly less behind schedule with this, the review of their debut LP "Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid", which they dropped in late January.

What I said about the band when I was reviewing "On Sleepless Nights" pretty much still applies on "Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid". Holding Sand play post-hardcore/metalcore with complete disregard for the trends that are currently making most bands in the genre unbearable to listen to, rather sounding like their main influences hail from the period around the turn of the millenium, when nu-metal was gradually evolving into the metalcore that we know today. Bands like Finch, Blindside and 36 Crazyfists come to mind when listening to the soundscape which, although constantly heavy and menacing, relies more on groove and conservative (in the best sense of the word) songwriting, than on technical wankery or shallow production tricks.

So you get barrages of harrowing riffage and prominent basslines, combined in a mix that for once sounds as raw and organic as you'd think badass metal music should sound, and structured into fairly accessible songs, narrated primarily by singer Clëment Horvath who delivers both a hoarse, bitter scream - again sounding delightfully free of digital enhancements - and some raspy, attitude-filled clean singing that reminds me of old Papa Roach. He also occasionally receives some backing from bassist/back-up singer Coralie Fumard, whose clean, girly voice is used for both harmonies and haunting call/response vocals.

For the most part, I consider "Some Things.." a fairly enjoyable listen, for all the reasons I've stated above, and it offers some solid, recognisable tunes in the likes of "Lidocaine", "On Sleepless Nights" and "Bound To Go Wrong", all of which help to ensure that you don't forget the album as soon as it ends. There's also a bonus remix of an old song, "Superman", which puts a quite enjoyable electronic spin on the band's sound. One point of criticism however, is that I still consider "The Future Belongs To Heartless Whores" - the only track that's been carried over from the EP - to be the catchiest song on the album, and it could be a slight concern that Holding Sand haven't come up with any equally memorable refrains in any of their newer songs. Overall though, this band has a good sound, a knack for decent songwriting, and a characteristic identity among a sea of overproduced modern competitors. That alone should make them worth checking out, even if they'll have to make at least one more album before I think they can break into the big leagues.

Download: The Future Belongs To Heartless Whores, Lidocaine, On Sleepless Nights, Bound To Go Wrong
For The Fans Of: 36 Crazyfists, Blindside, Finch, Deftones
Listen: facebook.com/holdingsand

Release Date 30.01.2012
M&O Music

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