In a way, it’s remarkable that we’re getting to hear the UK band Svalbard’s new album When I Die, Will I Get Better? at all. A few weeks ago, two different women came forward to accuse Alex Fitzpatrick, founder of the UK label Holy Roar Records, of things like rape, sexual harassment, and emotional abuse. (Fitzpatrick denies the allegations.) Holy Roar was scheduled to release Svalbard’s new album today, but Svalbard joined the exodus of bands leaving Holy Roar in the wake of those allegations. Amazingly, the Svalbard album has now come out on three different labels, and they’ve dropped it on its previously announced release date.
It would be truly fucked up if the whole Holy Roar saga overshadowed the release of When I Die, Will I Get Better? The new album is just monumental. Svalbard have followed up their great 2018 LP It’s Hard To Have Hope with something even grander and more powerful.
Svalbard’s sound combines hardcore fury, black metal bleakness, shoegaze sweep, and glacial post-rock beauty into one vast and soaring whole. These days, a whole lot of bands are making great music at the intersection of all those different genres, but Svalbard might be the best of them. Svalbard’s songs get deep into feelings like depression and anxiety, and they build towering emotional vistas out of them. We’ve already posted the early songs “Open Wound” and “Listen To Someone,” and now you can stream the whole album below.