Following up on a harrowing couple of years, particularly tragic for the group a few months ago (more on that later), 325 is the third EP from St. Catharine’s, Ontario outfit The Holdouts to be released in as many years. Since their first EP, Cause And Effect, was released in January 2020, the band has continued to work hard at incubating their sound, and only now, with the slow return to normalcy, are they fully able to divebomb the live scene.
While the band follows in the sonic footsteps of melodic hardcore acts like No Use For A Name and Pennywise, to my ear, they also evoke impressions of The Bronx and NOFX. Regardless of which side of the melodic hardcore die you feel the case, the group slices up their niche, and they do it with skill. It’s fast, aggressive, and absolutely always showcasing guitar and vocals. On that latter point, while vocalist Rick Lafrate’s piercing shriek is a hell of an accompaniment to the band’s rhythm and guitar, it’s the vibrato on it that makes it distinct, giving it just the right level of sass to let you know they’re not here to follow in anyone’s footsteps but to set out on their own. It’s punk, it’s hair metal, it’s rock n’ roll, whatever: it’s good.
However, if you’ve never seen the lineup before now, you’re already too late. The band announced at the beginning of September that their bassist, Derrick Gordon, passed away. With that said, the group confirmed that someone close to them will be filling in for the foreseeable future. With a new release and lineup, and a string of upcoming shows, you’d do well to catch the band live as soon as you can.
325 Track Listing:
2. Secondhand Smoke
3. A Black Widow In The Zen Garden
4. Skeleton Hell
Run Time: 12:11
Release Date: October 21, 2022
Record Label: Cursed Blessings Records