“A lot of solos in metal definitely have a formula... To me, a solo really hits home when you don’t hear the magic coming”: How Svalbard’s Serena Cherry is tearing up the metal guitar playbook

Serena Cherry
(Image credit: Katja Ogrin/Redferns)

Serena Cherry puts it simply. “Metal is my outlet for anything that’s troubling me,” says the lead guitarist and frontwoman for Bristol, UK quartet Svalbard. “If you’re having a bad day, metal is the thing that lifts you up and helps you release all those negative emotions.”

These words will no doubt ring true for anyone who’s ever experienced the uniquely therapeutic effect that plugging in, turning up and thrashing out some savage riffs can have on both the heart and mind. But the band’s brutal yet vulnerable new album, The Weight of the Mask, is about more than just personal catharsis for its author.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month**

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Ellie Rogers

Since graduating university with a degree in English, Ellie has spent the last decade working in a variety of media, marketing and live events roles. As well as being a regular contributor to Total Guitar, MusicRadar and GuitarWorld.com, she currently heads up the marketing team of a mid-scale venue in the south-west of England. She started dabbling with guitars around the age of seven and has been borderline obsessed ever since. She has a particular fascination with alternate tunings, is forever hunting for the perfect slide for the smaller-handed guitarist, and derives a sadistic pleasure from bothering her drummer mates with a preference for “f**king wonky” time signatures.