The Weight Of The Mask


With such album with new and fresh expressions as a Metalhead can ask for, this English quartet is opening new ways. Enter into them, and you won't regret the experience!
January 17, 2024

In the actual days, some bands are resting under what was already created, and have no intention to do something new (that’s not a sin as long as the band uses a personal appeal), but there are a few of bands trying to expand limits and find a new and outstanding formula of playing Metal. And for what is heard on “The Weight of the Mask”, it’s clear that one of these names is the English quartet SVALBARD. Their musical cauldron is boiling with a mix between influences of Black Metal, Post-Rock, D-Beat, Shoegaze, Hardcore, Post-Metal and more musical genres, but in a coherent and weighty form of aggressive and melancholic music.

Heavy and intense riffing is pierced by nasty vocals, but always with huge melodic ballast (clearly heard on “Defiance”, where some clean vocals can be heard as well). It’s different, with many different emotional layers flowing with an aggressive and positive energy. Yes, this album can be heard with the ears, but must be felt deep in the heart to have a complete idea of what it stands for. The album was produced, mixed and had the sound engineering of Lewis Johns, with Matt Janke working as assistant engineer and Grant Berry in the mastering (and Kel Pinchin and Sebastien Sendon worked on the edition), creating a sonority that is crude and aggressive, but clean and defined to give the band the right path for its musical expressions. And the artwork created by Hestor Aspland for the cover is disturbing, yet beautiful.

The band’s musical ideas turn around a central message: to fight against things that put you down (as depression, inner struggles, and all the social vices that oppresses people), and boosted by excellent songs as “Faking It” (simple and catchy melodies flows from the guitars, but in a way between Post-Hardcore and Shoegaze, always with a modern and living outfit), “Eternal Spirits” (a chaotic and aggressive song plenty of a refined technical work, with solid rhythms created by bass guitar and drums), “Defiance” (deeper and melancholic melodies contrast with the savage screams and grunts of the vocals, but some clean vocals can be heard tempering things), “November” (another song with a clear melancholic touch, and the snarls of the vocals sound as an emotional detox to the ears), “Lights Out” (it’s a surprising song with sets of melancholic melodies and arrangements that target and hit the hearts of the hearers with its chaotic contrasts), “How to Swim Down” (a fine and introspective moment that has the feeling as one is breathing air after long times under the water, and it bears excellent drumming), and… Well, as a homework you all must hear to “Be My Tomb”, “Pillar in the Sand” and “To Wilt Beneath the Weight” at the first listen as well. It’s a true exorcism of bad things people have in heart in the form of music.

As final words, it must be said that “The Weight of the Mask” is an album that has a deeper and ample set of emotions flowing from it, so it demands some time to get used to it. But it’s clear that SVALBARD is a great band, and they deserve applause for such an opus.

10 / 10









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"The Weight Of The Mask" Track-listing:
  1. Faking It
  2. Eternal Spirits
  3. Defiance
  4. November
  5. Lights Out
  6. How to Swim Down
  7. Be My Tomb
  8. Pillar in the Sand
  9. To Wilt Beneath the Weight
Svalbard Lineup:

Serena Cherry - Vocals, Lead Guitars
Liam Phelan - Vocals, Rhythm Guitars, Violin
Matt Francis - Bass
Mark Lilley - Drums

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