Strangers - Holding (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Holding (2007)

Action Man

Strangers are no strangers to powerful, crust/D-beat-inflected hardcore, metallic flair and abrasive vocals all intact. This New Zealand outfit proves it with their nicely packaged four-song CD-R demo EP, Holding.

If Tragedy establishes their dynamic with brooding paths and their surprisingly more reflective passages, then Strangers do it simply with some light modern influence; there's a little aural burliness, some pounding stop-starts and expertly crafted mini-breakdowns, and it helps break up what could otherwise be a monotonous beat. There are also moments where it seems the band already know the art of building and breaking down a song, as shown briefly in "Howl," where vocalist Rhydian is left to howl alone over pummeling drums, making for a strong finish in "Teenagers." Rhydian's general intensity and a frothy recording give the band a monstrous yet raw sound.

The band also tread some dark lyrical paths, composing oddly literary works that feel like classic narratives ("The next day I begged him not to let me starve, and he sneered and leapt and tore; all the while he laughed. So I lay bleeding with saliva on my throat, his shadow beckoned over me and I thanked God, for I hadn't died alone"). It strongly enhances Holding's hallowed feel.

Overall we've got something special brewing here. If Strangers manage to effortlessly stretch this type of experience to even a half-hour it'll be a wild one.