Going off on one here as this post was originally intended as just another Hey! Listen To This! post for the UK post-black-hardcore-grind act Svalbard. Plans change though and I’ve now decided to shine the bright light of Heavy Blog’s glorious torch onto their home, Holy Roar Records. Starting with Svalbard’s most recent audio outpouring, One Day All This Will End, I’m gonna be looking at some amazing records that this indie label has put out. Specialising in acts that skirt genres with a delightful disregard for preconceptions, this indie is home to more than a handful of acts who are the bright, bright future of dark, dark music.
One Day All This Will End, to me, is the perfect combination of gut wrenching emotion and musical creativity. Now, I know that we’ve covered a buttload of shoegaze and post-metal acts here at Heavy Blog. A buttload. Honestly, very few of them have appealed to me. There’s never enough for my child like attention span and it lacks any content that has me reaching for the feels. Svalbard aren’t a shoegaze band, nor are they blackgaze or whatever other term is getting banded around just now. It’s post-metal with more than a touch of heart on the table, honest as they get feelings. It’s also really fucking heavy. Opener “Perspective” grinds and blasts with some truly black riffing while the next track d-beats as hard as the skin on my feet. Though the album drops in and out morose passages, there’s always the imminent threat of some crust inspired hardcore around the corner. Not necessarily the hardcore that one might expect either. Almost taking cues from “true” screamo and punk, there’s even a bite and snarl to the slower, softer tracks. It’s the classic disparity of quiet and loud but the quiet never gets too light and the loud never over imposes.
The classic juxtaposition of loud, gnarled screaming and sombre guitar parts is great, sure. What makes One Day All This Will End a step above any one else doing this is the creative word play and raw, almost brutal delivery of said words. I feel the pain, anger and every other emotion being wretched all over this record. Lyrics are the last thing I bother with so it’s a big fucking deal when I feel any kind of connection to words in music. The appropriately titled “Unrequited” is at it’s heart a lost/failed love song but it smarts and cuts pretty deep for anyone who’s missed out:
“Keep painting pictures of what could have been
And I promise I’ll stay at a distance
Where every inch of them can be seen.”
Normally I’m the last to put on the “emosh” hat and let spill but it’s too difficult to not feel where this particlar line comes from. Whether the pictures are just in the head or (more likely) on Instagram, it’s incredibly easy to keep beating yourself up over the what ifs. Even with distance, the self indulgent need to keep torturing yourself is always gonna be there. Because we thrive in that pain. Svalbard certainly do anyway. There are other fantastic turns of phrase all over One Day All This Will End, far too many to share but another lyric stuck with me. The song “Unnatural Light” feels like a song that isn’t about how much time we spend on devices, more about how we’re using them for the wrong reasons and obsessing over the wrong parts of ourselves.
“Lose the voice that’s frustratedly typed.
Walk away from your image
And take it outside.”
I know, I know. You’re reading this from a device and I’m typing this out on one too. We’ve heard all the “put down your phone and go for a walk” spiel before. I get it. I’ve just never heard it put so well. You can flog a dead horse but if you’re doing it with this much style, flog away.
I guess I really just wanted to harp on about how great this band and album are but now I’m going to show off more reasons why I think Holy Roar are fucking fantastic. As this is just a spur of the moment decision, it’s unplanned. I’d love for you to sound off in the comments with your favourite releases through this label, they might be ones I’m yet to hear and I’d love to share my feelings on them. Use your device to open a dialogue. I can promise I won’t create anything as pretty sounding or looking as this record but I’ll give it my damnedest.