It’s Hard to Have Hope is the sound of crust/hardcore bite and metallic aggression coming together to create 38 minutes of passionate music with a message.
The songs are heavy and energetic, show good songwriting, and have an innate appeal due to their combination of melody and raw passion. In fact, Svalbard’s use of melody is one of their defining features I’d say, as it’s wielded by the band in a manner that has more in common with the most resplendent of post-metal bands; you know the type of band that drips with emotive atmosphere and gradually-building intensity? Svalbard take this approach and stamp it on top of their emotive hardcore template. It’s an approach that probably shouldn’t work, but actually does really very well.
So yes, the band use melody very well and in some ways quite unusually to add a deep emotive edge to their songs. This resplendent feel that the songs have allows the music to become quite transcendent in places, despite the raw aggression of most of the songs. This gives Svalbard’s music an ethereal, epic feeling that’s unusual for this type of style, helping to differentiate them from many of the bands who might otherwise be considered their peers.
Passion, beauty, and intensity; these three words always come to mind when listening to Svalbard. The band have managed to effectively channel and focus these qualities into eight tracks of affecting and enjoyable music, and I heartily suggest that you check out It’s Hard to Have Hope if you’re looking for a band with something a little different to offer.