Holding Sand
On Sleepless Nights

The hype-machine surrounding France’s Holding Sand seems to be in full-swing and it appears as if the band is at the verge of breaking through—at least in France. Having played through their 17-minute EP On Sleepless Night, I can see why. Pure metalheads need not apply, since there’s isn’t much for you here, even if I mention Raunchy and Khoma for shits and giggles.

Combining anything and everything between pop, rock and alternative into a some sort of a metalcore-mix, the band does have an aura that caters towards mass appeal. Luckily there’s a small edge—let’s call it a hint of ‘French metal’—to separate it from its (whogivesafuck) American counterparts. Not surprisingly, the package is very nice and the execution reeks of proper working attitude, shielding the band from any accusations of being a mere cash-in. There’s definitely integrity and enthusiasm here.

Perhaps the above is the reason why I spun the EP a lot more times than I originally thought I would, as this really isn’t my bag. The digital promo I got had the songs in alphabetical order, with “Black is the New Black” kick starting the album. That’s the second reason why I listened to the album as many times as I did. The song works in harmony and I have no problem admitting that it’s one hell of a catchy tune and vocalist Clément Horvath packs a nice rasp to his ‘cleans’. The rest of the songs, much faster than the first, didn’t really do anything for me—aside from noticeable hardcore-group-chant part in “Shooting Stars” and grinning at the forced, growl-rap at the end of “On Sleepless Nights” .

The overall vibe I got is that the band is driving towards a T-intersection. They could go either left or right. On the left is a faster route to mainstream success and on the right is a bumpy, slow road towards the unknown. I’m oversimplifying things by having only two options—I know—but this is my piece, so fuck you!

The point is that by streamlining their sound and polishing the overall presentation even more, there’s no doubt success will come to the band ‘soon’. They’ve got a solid effort and apparently the work ethic to back it up. If that’s the way, then I bid the band adieu and wish them luck. However, the mix of more rock-oriented songwriting and harsher yet melodic presentation does carry a bit of a charm, so if the band decides to gamble and experiment with the combination even more—whilst reducing the amount of metalcore bullcrap—I’ll admit that it’ll raise my interest a few notches.

From a mere unbiased viewpoint, I’d say Holding Sand shows a lot of promise and quality in what they do, even if it’s not necessarily coming together here just yet. Certainly, they’re one of the more interesting bands out there doing this type of music. From a more personal standpoint, I doubt many of our readers will get much out of it, but I’ll end this by repeating myself: “Black is the New Black” is a catchy little tune that could be easily overplayed on radio. And I wouldn’t mind it one bit if it did.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Mikko K.
October 8th, 2010


  1. Commented by: Chris 1426

    Sounds very interesing, well written review Mikko!

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