Svalbard
It's Hard to Have Hope


4.5
superb

Review

by Chamberbelain CONTRIBUTOR (213 Reviews)
May 21st, 2018 | 20 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: but albums like this help.

No one ever changes if they keep getting told what they want to hear. Everything seems to be a touchy subject nowadays because people prefer to pussyfoot around issues in the hopes that problems will solve themselves instead of addressing them directly. Of course, there are those that defiantly stand above others and spew out a bunch of brash words in order to shock a crowd or gain attention but more often than not the ones with the biggest mouths have the smallest brains and the ones with the biggest brains are tight-lipped; in either case, nothing productive is ever achieved. We live in a world where we shoot ourselves in the foot and blame the gun.

Svalbard is the kind of band that has the guts to stand and confront the touchiest of subjects combined with the knowledge, maturity and in some cases, experiences, to address them in such a way that leaves audiences agreeing with why there is an apparent problem and how to solve it, rather than merely acknowledging a problem exists. That feeling where you get so frustrated over something which, to you, is so mind-numbingly obvious or simple to accomplish and despite your best efforts other people still fail to grasp… That frustration is what Svalbard sound like.

Hope slips through Svalbard’s fingers no matter how desperately they claw for it, and a sense of that struggle is ever present throughout the Bristolian quartet’s second album. Every song heavily features tremolo guitars which soar and crumble throughout the album, providing a relentless feeling of yearning intricately sewn into the background of their songs. Cascading guitars and shivering drums are calculatingly timed to explode in time with Serena Cherry’s searing vocal performance during “Feminazi” and the skill in which the band is able to quickly weave between extremities without losing momentum or intensity in songs such as “Revenge Porn” and “How Do We Stop It” maintains a manner of urgency. Combined with the band’s desperate and sincere lyrics, Svalbard’s sound is one that is simultaneously destructive and enriching.

Countless bands base their lyrics on subjects they feel deeply passionate about yet end up diluting their context by overusing metaphoric phrases or cryptic symbolism. Svalbard’s honest approach is less subtle. Far less. “It’s Hard to Have Hope” is bursting with direct denunciations and brazen belligerence spoken with uncompromising conviction, but, what makes Svalbard such a refreshing band is that they focus on issues that are glossed over in heavy metal. Everyone has heard a song about war, corrupt politicians or poverty but when was the last band who highlighted the absurdity of unpaid internships, the immorality of genetically engineered pets or the vile dishonesty of revenge pornography- genuine issues no one is aware of" At times their unflinching attitude comes across as what the unprepared may deem ‘too straight’ or 'too much' but this straightforwardness is so effective for the band. Perhaps the only way to get people to listen, understand and question something so important is by serving them with a healthy dish of brutal honesty.

Nevertheless, where there is a vision, there is hope. Gentle melodies and shimmering atmospheres, particularly the heartening closer, “Iorek”, signal that Svalbard has not completely given up on humanity yet and offer fleeting moments of reflection and a different kind of sincerity within each song throughout “It’s Hard to Have Hope”. Arguably, it’s during these softer interludes that yield more of a response- they sound vulnerable and innocent while the isolated singing highlights key questions or phrases with unflinching composure. The level of passion that Svalbard exudes and, moreover, how they project that passion into their ferocious delivery makes “It’s Hard to Have Hope” not only meaningful but also unignorable.



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user ratings (76)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Madbutcher3
May 21st 2018


2319 Comments


can't wait to hear this one. huge fan of their previous album and the singles have been strong

JS19
May 22nd 2018


7103 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

such an exciting band i swear

Digging: Tim Hecker - Anoyo

Tranqyl
May 22nd 2018


313 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Musically, the album absolutely fucking rips. I don't agree with some of the lyrical content or even entirely agree with the straightforward approach as much of the lyricism isn't that deep or well written IMO. Still a great fucking album though.

Digging: Forever Losing Sleep - I Lost Myself Again

Sniff
May 22nd 2018


5532 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Need to check asap



Track names are very punk

Slex
May 22nd 2018


6627 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Going to try a couple more times with this one but it's super boring and unmemorable, but not bad, for me atm

Digging: Charly Bliss - Young Enough

Chamberbelain
Contributing Reviewer
May 23rd 2018


141 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Now streaming here: https://noisey.vice.com/en_us/article/qvnkkb/svalbard-new-album-political-feminist-hardcore

Evreaia
May 27th 2018


5083 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album is pretty damn great.

JS19
June 28th 2018


7103 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Go see them live btw they rule

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
August 7th 2018


15752 Comments


The album has some really good moments and it's really well produced but it feels a bit stagnant in places. They should use her vocals more, those passages give a lot of fresh air to the album.

Digging: ???? (Ohashi) - ?????? (Nami no Hajimari)

FearThyEvil
August 14th 2018


16795 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

First track is incredible but I don't feel the rest of the songs are able to replicate that one.

Madbutcher3
August 14th 2018


2319 Comments


For the Sake of the Breed is pretty amazing, but I do think this album struggles to be as consistent AND as varied as One Day All This Will End

zaruyache
September 9th 2018


20823 Comments


jamming some now and this is p neato.

Digging: Neckbeard Deathcamp - SO MUCH FOR THE TOLERANT LEFT

NewBallistics
September 10th 2018


872 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

HOLY MOLY.



Listening to this right now, feeling like I've found nirvana. Love the mix of hardcore and post-metal, it's perfectly balanced for me.

wail
October 4th 2018


5 Comments


did they hire buzzfeed to write their lyrics? wew

FearThyEvil
November 5th 2018


16795 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

It usually takes me a lot to get bothered by lyrics in music but these lyrics are absolutely terrible the more i read them. No subtlety at all! I'm fine with the messages behind the songs but at least put in an effort. The buzzfeed comment above me is pretty spot-on

FearThyEvil
November 5th 2018


16795 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This might be the first time lyrics made a huge impact on my rating too because I could not get behind any of this shit. First song still bangs though

Madbutcher3
November 5th 2018


2319 Comments


idk as a turbo lefty i'm down for the utterly unsubtle feminism personally but sometimes i would prefer slightly different emphasis on parts

AgentDeathbat
December 16th 2018


9884 Comments


"did they hire buzzfeed to write their lyrics? wew" [2]

fatneckbeard
February 5th 2019


51 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I love it but I can totally see how the lyrics would turn off some folks

Kurai
March 21st 2019


265 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Saw them play a show in London with Ithaca as the main support on Saturday. Such a brilliant show.



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