There are bands that exist for one reason, and one reason only -- to be heavy. There are bands where it's never about tempo or dynamic, but about just how thoroughly the band can obliterate the ear drums of anyone who happens to be listening. There are bands that play their music solely to test the limits of the speakers you hear them through.
But not many of those bands are as efficient in their craft as Shipwreck A.D.
And let's not mince words here: Shipwreck is in no way inventive, dynamic, or original in any capacities of those words -- what they are is an exercise in pure, unadulterated rage. The kind of rage that makes you feel as if you could take your fist and put it entirely through a solid oak door.
"Squall" kicks off this punishing half-hour with towering riffs that invoke a violent energy rate from the beginning. If the thunderous drumming in the songs intro doesn't quicken your pulse, you may want to check to see if you have one at all. The slow, pulsating rhythm picks up even more in intensity when the scathing vocals enter the picture. Even in the more âreserved' moments in the song, there's a palpable energy that makes it perfectly apparent that musical explosion is nothing if not imminent. "Nereus" follows up with a very rhythmically heavy flow that completely pulverizes without ever really reaching a frenzied pace. It's a calculated groove that shows off some intricate riffing that couldn't feel more perfect in the track.
Impressive as the first two songs are, it's the third, "Samur," where Shipwreck really shines. This is a song that, much more so than the first two, shows off the band's lyrical abilities. After an acoustic intro reminiscent of some of Skycamefalling's instrumental forays, Shipwreck launches into the vocally-centered attack.
With no sail, I have no choice but drift, approaching clouds carry me this gift / Sun-dried and tattered, each inch of me hurts / Surrounded by water, but still dying of thirst / Because I won't give in to drinking the sea, the ale of defeat -- the true death of meRarely do bands like this have such a poetic way with words, but in that song and most, Shipwreck display that there's thought and meaning in spades behind every brutally delivered verse. "Zenith" is the refreshingly stark and honest expression of how life's journey is never truly complete; each word accented by the harsh and dramatic crescendos from every riff and drum fill alike.
With Abyss, Shipwreck has shown that beauty and brutality do not have to be mutually exclusive; they can even be one and the same.