Svalbard

When I Die, Will I Get Better?

Written by: PP on 15/04/2022 01:46:13

Svalbard's third full-length "When I Die, Will I Get Better?" was a breakthrough record two years ago that at once catapulted the band to the forefront of the UK heavy music scene. Through ethereal blackgaze soundscapes blending with throaty screamo and soaring post-metal elements, their expression lands somewhere right in between the likes of Touché Amoré, Møl, and Deafheaven.

The opening track "Open Wound" immediately introduces technical wizardry, complex percussion, and black metal style tremolo against coarse screams. It's a brooding sound, but one that simultaneously feels exceptionally upbeat atmosphere-wise. It's an expansive sound, supported additionally by Serena Cherry's silky smooth vocals that add a fluffy and dreamy aspect to their fascinating sound.

"Click Bait" further builds on that sound, introducing an emotional charge that translates to the kind of urgency and immediacy you usually only spot on tightly wound screamo albums. Here, Svalbard manages to capture that within their dramatic soundscapes, all the while avoiding overtly inflating their sound.

The result feels equally fresh and innovative, but at the same time very familiar if you've been dabbling in either screamo or blackgaze during the past couple of years. Words like awe-inspiring and back-chilling are suitable descriptions for the melodies on offer throughout the record. Even when the band goes for a d-beat style hardcore punk/powerviolence piece like "Throw Your Heart Away", face-melting melodies flying sky-high atop the aggressive tempo create a magnificent overall ambiance that feels very much like Svalbard's own. A signature sound, effectively.

"Listen To Someone" is another brilliant example. Starting with a tranquil, dreamy passage that's above all soothing, it crescendoes into harsh screams and stormy black metal-style riffs in one of the highlight moments of the album. Quiet/loud dynamics are heavily utilized here, with crashing waves of riffs sublimely contrasting the celestial soundscape.

And so continues "When I Die, Will I Get Better?" for another four tracks with frightening consistency. The songwriting craft on display is otherworldly, easily positioning Svalbard as one of the best emergent UK artists around right now. Think back to how While She Sleeps broke through on "You Are We" - this is Svalbard's equivalent, and arguably an even better album overall.

9

Download: Click Bait, Listen To Someone, Open Wound, Throw Your Heart Away
For the fans of: Touché Amoré, Møl, Deafheaven, While She Sleeps
Listen: Facebook

Release date 25.09.2020
Church Road Records

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