This Is As One is a strange beast of a release, a rather mismatched little split with a surprising amount of emphasis placed on it, given the rigorous touring campaign that both acts will be embarking on. Even stranger is the pairing of acts that makes it up, Loathe being blackened, guttural metallic foil to the more melodic, atmospheric post-hardcore of Holding Absence.
What’s more, there are few obvious similarities that lead to any surprising synergy between the two acts beyond being labelmates; the closest that can really be found is how both manage to contribute two okay to decent songs apiece. Of either act, Holding Absence probably fair the best, purely because of Saint Cecilia which, as far as big, emotional rock songs go, has enough gusto and washed-over expanse to temper a rather standard take on Britrock and post-hardcore. As for their other contribution Everything, the emphasis on the walls of synths is a lot less immediate, but the melodic core that comes in the knack for a monstrous alt-rock song remains intact, and there’s a lot already to suggest that Holding Absence could be a force to be reckoned with.
Loathe, on the other hand, have already accrued a significant amount of buzz, but whereas their debut The Cold Year found impact through dissecting its layers of metal, hardcore and industrial noise, their two tracks here obviously lack the capacity to build over a wider canvas, and thus feel a little abortive in stature. White Hot is the better of the two, a half-grunge, half-deathcore monster of a track Frankensteined together for a vicious aural assault, but neither it nor its partner Servant And Master really do justice to what Loathe are capable of, and what every subsequent listen of their debut has proven to be a reality for them.
Ultimately though, while This Is As One is not even close to being a cohesive listen, it showcases its two acts well enough, even if Loathe’s favouring of a wider scale is a greater setback than anything that Holding Absence have. It’s a curio and little else, but that’s really the point, to drum up interest about two new bands brimming with the potential that runs all throughout the underground metal spectrum. Even if it’s not something that would necessarily be returned to, something like this to open the floodgates is worth the time and attention.
For fans of: We Are The Ocean, Code Orange, Hell Is For Heroes
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘This Is As One’ by Loathe & Holding Absence is released on 16th February on SharpTone Records.