Svalbard is the most northern point in Europe, situated well into the Arctic Circle roughly halfway between the North Pole and the tip of Norway. Despite the arduous journey there, Svalbard attracts a dedicated set of explorers who bear the brunt of the cutting Arctic winds and biting cold. The diligent few consider the brutal weather a small price worth paying to bask in the glory of the northern lights, fall silent at the majesty of the frozen glaciers, and become at one with the unspoilt winter wonderland that is Svalbard.
Perhaps the above is a longwinded analogy, but it so perfectly applies to the relentless and under-appreciated Bristol-based outfit, because if you can endure the frosty ferocity that envelops Svalbard then you too will be rewarded with breath-taking feats of metal at its purest, finest form.
If you’re unaware of what Svalbard have created, then be prepared to be dumbfounded at their damning ingenuity and raw talent. Like many of the best acts on the scene today, they don’t just fall into one category. No. They smear the boundary lines and have integrated a glorious amalgamation of sounds that encompasses post-hardcore, black metal, crust, and many more to conceive their own genre defying noise.
Their debut album, ‘One Day All This Will End’, has been painstakingly crafted, where every song has been meticulously honed with devastating precision to capture the bleak yet powerful message they wish to convey. This album is erupting with inspired guitar work, ranging from atmospheric ambiance to an unparalleled fury, all accompanied with an unyielding rhythm designed to trigger your skull into a beholden headbang.
The music alone will grip your spine with its frosty hand, dispersing shivers throughout your vertebrae damn near afflicting you with frostbite, but when fused with the brutal, throat-tearing vocals, the effects are both awe-inspiring and devastating. Whilst you could argue that the tracks are somewhat indistinguishable from one another, this is merely a consequence of a very precise vision that drives the tone of the album.
Since Svalbard possess such a unique sound, it’s a tad problematic when making comparisons to existing artists. So, perhaps the best way to approach this is to place Svalbard in the same inventive, prestigious league as Oathbreaker, We Never Learned To Live, and Pianos Become The Teeth. The devotion and passion poured into the music they make, combined with the unrelenting commitment whilst performing it, all culminates in a genuinely moving experience from the moment you press play.
‘One Day All This Will End’ is not a cursory listen and requires an earnest ear, but, should you embark upon this gruelling aural journey, you will be greatly rewarded.
Written by Andy Roberts (@Sassensquatch)