Album Review: Svalbard – The Weight of the Mask (Nuclear Blast)

British post-hardcore giants Svalbard are back with their new album, and first for Nuclear Blast Records, ‘The Weight of the Mask’, to be released on October 6th, 2023.

Utilising this new album as an opportunity to exorcise some demons, Svalbard are back and sounding more focused and passionate than ever. The Weight of the Mask is a triumphant release, where no single song is found lacking, and they couldn’t have a more spectacular start then they do with Faking It.

A powerful and intense anthem, it’s mean as hell, but is also filled with a stunning amount of emotion, as is often key with the Svalbard sound. The chorus is bloody epic, and while everyone in the band is working their socks off, the drumming has to be highlighted as being such an outstanding element.

There’s no chance to catch your breath as Eternal Spirits comes racing out of the blocks, Svalbard showing a more chaotic edge, but having these dreamy clean vocal moments too. It’s a contrast that this band are so good at, and those moments help make the heaviness so much more impactful.

An apt title, Defiance is filled with determination and depth. Where instrumentally, the band creates vivid emotion and vicious intensity, but vocally, captivate the heart, soul, and mind, with a thrilling back and forth of styles. This track will be a fan favourite. Although, it’s fair to say that could apply to just about everything on this album. Take November and Lights Out as the next examples. The former, a dramatic and melody-driven listen that oozes heart-wrenching atmosphere and increases in strength as it goes on. While the latter is an emphatic post-hardcore delight of speed, heaviness, and wistful melody.

It’s impossible to envision this album dropping in quality as the it enters the latter half, such is the talent of Svalbard, and with How to Swim Down, they continue to exceed expectations. Delivering a poignant piece of music, before exploding with erratic and exciting energy on Be My Tomb. The flow of this album, tracks like this working so well together, is another exceptional aspect.

Then there is Pillar in the Sand, where a pensive vocal performance and drifting melody rises in mighty fashion. It is an incredibly relaxed track, until it reaches its latter part, and the excellent drumming signifies a shift. Svalbard digging down deep to reveal some of their most passionate playing. Leading to a crashing and frenzied finale called To Wilt Beneath the Weight, a track that fills the soul to bursting point, and a finale befitting of what the rest of the album has delivered.

Svalbard are one of the best bands in the world and it’s albums like this that prove it unequivocally.

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Svalbard – 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


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  • Carl Fisher

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Svalbard – The Weight of the Mask (Nuclear Blast)
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