From their beginnings in 2007 French melodic hardcore band Holding Sand has steadily been winning over more and more people and on the back of their debut EP “Ebb & Flow” , a 25 date tour around France, and this, the “On Sleepless Nights EP”Holding Sand are poised to use 2011 to spread their sound and appeal further afield.

Their sound is listed as hardcore but there is a much richer blend actually going on. Yes, it has a hardcore like base or a melodic variation on it, but there are also traces of punk, screamo and rock to just choose three elements within the music. Think Every Time I Die, Refused, and The Xcerts bound in one band and that gives an idea of what Holding Sands create. Big impetuous riffs, vibrant melodies, and a good variation of gruff and clean vocals run free in every one of the five tracks on the EP.

Opening track ‘The Future Belongs To Heartless Whore’ immediately reveals some key elements about the quintet. Firstly that they know how to write and produce well formed songs that are full of good strong sounds, secondly that vocalist Clément Horvath has a voice comfortable and strong in which ever delivery he uses switching often within a track, and just for the record sounding very English, and most impressive of all they have one fine bassist in Coralie Fumard. Her basslines everywhere are throaty and exceedingly impressive, like a French version of Emma Anzai she has a real feel for her instrument.

The title track, ‘On Sleepless Nights’ growls in next carrying a slight grunge feel, again with the bass and vocals outstanding. The track is heavier than the first with the guitars of Franck Grison and Matthieu Jacquet grumbling wonderfully, this would certainly be the best track on the EP if it was not for ‘Shooting Stars’, which brings the release to a close. This song rumbles out of the speakers, the drums of Pierre Sionneau driving the intensity alongside Fumard’s delicious bass as the guitars growl all over. There is a touch of In Flames’ song ‘Take This Life’ about it, though there is no obvious reason why, just the thought the track inspired.

‘Black Is The New Black’ and ‘What Eyes Betray‘ come before the last gem, the first a slower paced track with a grudgingly mellower sound, though it carries plenty of attitude and intense emotion. The fact it is a less forceful track actually accentuates the emotion within the song, its menace and bitterness coming through clearly. The other song of the two has a firm punk energy that differs from the more hardcore elements elsewhere and though it may not be the strongest track on offer it certainly does not lower the impressive quality of the whole package.

Holding Sand are definitely a band on the rise and to keep a watching eye on in the months ahead, especially with the release of their debut album “Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid” later in the year. For now the “On Sleepless Nights EP” is the perfect introduction to a band we should be hearing much more of.

Take a look at the latest studio report for an update on the forthcoming album “Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid”:

Holding Sand – MySpace page