Svalbard // The Weight Of the Mask // Album Review
Since forming in 2011, Svalbard has been creating music that people have struggled to pigeonhole, with their blend of Black Metal, Post Rock, Hardcore and Post Metal as well as other influences as they make their own sound.
Having released the debut album One Day All This Will End in 2015, the band swiftly gained traction and started turning many heads. Releasing Its Hard To have Hope in 2018 and then When I Die Will I Get Better in 2020, the band really showed just how raw and emotive the reality of mental health issues can be.
Having released such an album, the next question was where the band would go from there. Well, the answer is taking on depression and fighting back. Those issues on previous albums haven’t just disappeared, but this is the soundtrack of that fight.
Opening up with ‘Faking It’ all the influences previously mentioned are on display and the full force is felt. With an atmospheric haze, the guitars provide a beautiful yet haunting soundscape as the drums provide the heartbeat to pump blood and keep the fight going. Throughout this the vocals sound emotive and raw, you can just imagine that exhausted stage of the battle but you know you can’t give up and dig deep to find anything that’s left.
As the album progresses, this feeling continues as you feel the sounds move like the tide, you feel on top then like you’re hanging on and not sure where you will get that boost from that you need to stop the decline. The despair and fear is real and the way the music makes you feel it is something that is rare but really special.
‘How To Swim Down’ is a more stripped-down track, with cleaner vocals that are just stunningly beautiful and whilst still emotive are hugely contrasting to the vocals you have heard already on the album. The content is as disturbing as what you have heard as well, however with less of the additional influences, just gets you.
The album is 9 tracks that span 44 minutes of the most relatable, raw and emotive music you are likely to hear. The way that Svalbard continues to create this music that any person will be able to relate to, no matter where you are with your mental health, is something that should be celebrated. I am convinced that the album will be a source of support and a cathartic journey as people listen to it over and over again.
The Weight Of The Mask will be released Friday 6th October 2023 via Nuclear Blast Records.