Shipwreck a.d. – Abyss


Album

Abyss

Label

Deathwish

Year

2007

Genre

For Fans Of

Blacklisted – Integrity – Sinking Ships

Summary

The word inconsistent springs to mind…

Rating

65 / 100

Since releasing a 7 inch on the
prestigious Deathwish label in 2006, Shipwreck has become
one of the most talked about bands in modern hardcore. Due to the amount
of hype surrounding the group I opted to ignore them and didn’t give
them a proper listen until I received a copy of their recent full length, Abyss. Having played the album countless times I cannot for the
life of me work out why Shipwreck are held in such high regard. Sure, there are some impressive moments
on display however these are heavily outnumbered by mediocre riffs and
uninspiring songs. 

Shipwreck’s bio claims
that they are “driven by their contempt for humanity and true hatred
for mankind”, and while that may look good on a press sheet I was
expecting something far more aggressive to come out of the speakers
when I pressed play on Abyss for the first time. That’s not to say that the album lacks merit,
but I feel the band’s thoughtful lyrics and the conceptual approach
to their artwork and song titles could have made more of an impact if
the music had been up to par. 

For all my criticisms “Squall”
is an amazing song. The slow amble of the drums creates a mood that
many bands would struggle to re-create while the harder edged guitar
work is surprisingly cliché free… not to mention the inclusion of
the album’s most poignant lyric: “Find me a reason, to not sink
in these waves”. Call it want you want but the passionate delivery
makes this a standout moment. 

Before I knew it the record had
already made its way to the fourth track and no, it wasn’t because
I was talking shit on the forum. The reason being that both “Nereus”
and “Samur” share exactly the same problem… they are both boring.
It’s as simple as that. Shipwreck demonstrate a willingness
to break free from the restrictions of the hardcore songwriting rulebook
but just as I think I might hear something slightly original the band
falls back into its comfort zone. Here, I’ll show you the formula: 

Slow, drawn out intro (with more
than a hint of Slayer worship) + repetitive down stroked riffs
+ the same vocal patterns on at least eight of the songs = Shipwreck

I’m not trying to be an arsehole
here (because I really wanted to like this band as I’m a sucker for
impressive artwork and lyrics) but of the eleven songs on Abyss
only four of them caught my attention. “Beached” has some promising
moments but it’s another song that starts well and ends poorly. The
aggressive guitars and drums of “Helix” make for a welcome change
as it’s the first track that really moves past an amble, the creative
riffs throughout the song’s mid section saving it from the same fate
as the rest of its comrades.  

Note to the members of Shipwreck,
when you write an intro as eerie as that of “Miasma” you shouldn’t
follow it up with a cheesy, third rate Slayer riff. I’m sorry guys,
but leave the metal to someone else. “Lotus” shares the same (exactly
the same actually) song structure as its predecessor and “Erebos”
loses its aggressiveness courtesy of another poor attempt at staccato
styled metal riffing. The saving grace is album closer “Zenith”,
a genuinely heavy tune that utilizes some almost Converge styled
guitar and vocal work to round the album out.

Conclusion

With the band rumoured to be touring
our shores later this year I hope that their live show can prove me
wrong.

Tracklisting

  1. Squall
  2. Nereus
  3. Samur
  4. Beached
  5. Helix
  6. Miasma
  7. Lotus
  8. Erebos
  9. Thaw
  10. Ascent
  11. Zenith

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