Band – Svalbard

Album – It’s Hard to Have Hope

Country of Origin – UK

Genre – Blackened Hardcore

Release Date – May 25, 2018

Label – Translation Loss Records

                                                                                 Author – Hayduke X


I have heard commentary that It’s Hard to Have Hope is too straightforward lyrically, that there is no obfuscation of meaning, that it’s political diatribe, not art. To that I say, have you read the news? Around the world, fascism is rearing its ugly head, shifting its toe ever further over the line to see how far we will let it go. This is the time to say what we mean, and to prove we mean what we say by how we live our life. I know what you’re thinking….this is supposed to be an album review, and we will get to that soon. However, music has always been political for me. I love metal and have listened to it all my life, but I’m probably more punk than true metalhead. Even the pen name I chose, Hayduke X, has political connotations to its choice. So, feel free to skip over this, but I will continue to talk about the politics of music if, and when, it’s appropriate.

Hailing from Bristol in the UK, Svalbard is a quartet making hardcore punk music that is both melodic and fiery. These eight track are sing-along anthems to help us vent our venom in solidarity with each other. Arm in arm, fists raised, we call forth the demons of late stage capitalism in order to exorcise them from our collective subconsciousness. Called forth, we can bravely face them and stand together to defeat these demons. It’s Hard to Have Hope is not a hopeless album. On the contrary it is brimming over with hope that we can keep fighting in the face of the world, while acknowledging the difficulty of doing so.

The foundation of the band is Mark Lilley (drums) and Adam Parrish (bass). Through their rock-solid work, the other half of the quartet can build their musical and lyrical statement of passion. That other half is Liam Phelan (guitar, vocals) and Serena Cherry (guitar, vocals, lyrics, artwork). These two weave gorgeous, melancholic riffs together to ensconce you in their musical web. Once there, the lyrics give their manifesto through vocals that range from rage filled yells to haunting beauty. Among other things, the quartet cover capitalism, feminism, porn, and wealth inequality. May this album be the match that lights the kerosene soaked rag…

Recommendation – Essential. Let me play you the music of my people.

Rating – 5/5



Biography:  Hayduke X has been writing for MoshPitNation since June of 2016. Prior to joining the MoshPitNation team, Hayduke published reviews on his own blog Rage and Frustration. In addition, he has DJ’ed an online metal radio show of the same name as his blog, written for, done interviews for Metal Rules, and collaborated with The Art of B productions to create video interviews with a wide variety of bands.