SVAL­BARD

ITHACA/MOR­ROW West Coun­try ragers leave their mark on North Lon­don IT’S AN EvENINg

Metal Hammer (UK) - - Live Reviews - STEPHEN HILL

BOS­TON MU­SIC ROOM, LON­DON

of ‘Holy Roar-core’ down at the Bos­ton Mu­sic Room on this Satur­day night, with three of the four acts per­form­ing this evening la­bel­mates on the hugely re­spected UK la­bel. Although there is def­i­nitely a lot of imag­i­na­tion that per­me­ates through­out self-pro­fessed emo-crust, it feels frus­trat­ingly loose and rough around the edges. The cello and vi­o­lin parts are cer­tainly an in­ter­est­ing touch in a type of mu­sic that usu­ally ig­nores sub­tleties, but they’re drowned out by the fairly one-note, dual vo­cal at­tack of the band. Har­ness the ideas and there might be some­thing in­ter­est­ing to come in the fu­ture.

With a gen­uinely ex­cel­lent de­but al­bum fi­nally re­leased to the gen­eral public, there is a buzz in the room be­fore take to the stage. It’s a great thing to see a large group of peo­ple hyped to see a band in their in­fancy, but, un­for­tu­nately for every­one, the sound in the venue does its very best to ruin the excitement by petu­lantly rob­bing us of any vo­cals what­so­ever. You can see, and even­tu­ally hear, the frus­tra­tion in vo­cal­ist Djamila Az­zouz as she po­litely asks for pa­tience whilst try­ing to sort the grem­lins. When the band do fi­nally kick into gear, their Gal­lows­meets-Dillinger hy­brid sounds fuck­ing mon­strous. They’ll be back, no doubt about it.

The sound seems to have fi­nally sorted it­self out by the time ar­rive, and when it does get sorted out, good god is it sorted out! The Bris­to­lian quar­tet sound as sharp as a scalpel and as raw and sand­pa­per in all of the right places. Gui­tarist and vo­cal­ist Serena Cherry is on un­be­liev­able form, crack­ing her neck back and forth as she peels out ven­omous black­ened hard­core riffs be­fore step­ping up to the mi­cro­phone and un­leash­ing all of her in­ner tor­ment. The rest of the band around her are scin­til­lat­ingly tight, and when she ex­presses her­self between songs, such as be­fore a sav­age

the dis­tain in her voice is oh so real. With the songs from last year’s al­bum ob­vi­ous stand­outs, it feels as if we are very much on the cusp of adding Sval­bard to the list of young, world-class metal bands that this coun­try has re­cently pro­duced.

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