REVIEW: Adelaide – Shipwrecks (EP/2013)


Artist: Adelaide

Album: Shipwrecks (EP)


When I was young (and still now, to some extent) I had an intense and detailed love of the Titanic, and her sister ships. My interest, however far surpassed the Kate-and-Leo love story that took over the Box Office—it permeated the very being of the ship. Its architecture and construction; its dynamics and engineering—everything from the bilges to the tip of the smokestacks I knew like the back of my hand. In great part, I attribute this to my dad, who was (and is) scuba certified and roamed the depths where forgotten ships sleep. While it more likely than not didn’t occur this way, my youthful imagination would often paint vivid scenes of him fighting off sharks and daring treacherous risks to study the skeletons of these sunken monoliths—as if an Indiana Jones of the sea. Several years later, I’ve matured, but both my rambunctious imagination and love of attention to detail and perniciousness (requisite of one who deals in sunken artifacts) is preserved—and the same can be said for Georgia’s barn-burning metalcore act, Adelaide. While only one year has passed since the band’s previous EP, Inch by Inch, they’ve matured at least ten-fold. Shipwrecks is an EP which pays meticulous attention to instrumental detail and dynamic song structure while keeping more than enough bounce per ounce to ensure the listener’s constant engagement. The result? An edgy, heavy and fun EP which is sure to light up your summer.

From the very beginning of “Fingers Crossed,” the musical backbone of Shipwrecks takes on a much more aggressive and in-your-face approach than that of Inch by Inch. The guitars work in devious harmony, creating murky, grimy grooves one minute, only to spring back up from the depths and soar at Icarus-like heights. “Rest(Less)” opens in a manner similar to this—hard hitting, bone-busting grooves which incorporate subtly-strummed fills into the mix to twinge the listener’s attention. While the guitars are unchained and bounce from fathomless depths to measureless heights at free will, the bass and drums stay entrenched, providing a constant booming, steamrolling low-end which grounds the album. “Borrowed Time” begins with a grinding, jarring, kick-drum heavy crunch which knocks the listener out of their chair. Likewise, the EP’s title track, “Shipwrecks” kicks off with a bouncy—if not filthy and low—bass riff which keeps the track plodding and crushing. The leaps and bounds made by the instrumental aspects of Adelaide’s arsenal are perhaps best categorized in this track—the riffs are fast-paced, but leave room for haunting, looming heaviness. Likewise, the bass and drums crush every obstacle in their path, clearing the trail for the vocals to take to greatness.

Vocally, rather than change in leaps and bounds, Adelaide have refined the already stellar dynamic they had displayed in Inch by Inch. Shipwrecks makes continued and consistent use of a gruff, mid-range shout which is more than adept at lurching into an evil bellow or screeching scream.  “Rest(Less),” for example, begins with the hoarse, mid-range yell, but dives to a fierce growl to accompany the spine-shattering pressure made by the chugged-out, earth-cracking breakdown which surrounds it. Finally, after the pressure seems as if it is too much to take, harsh, yet catchy crooned singing greets the listener like a life preserver, dragging them to safety. While the vocals are less varied in pitch on Shipwrecks, they are ultimately much more effective at keeping the listener interested and involved with the flow of the EP. The newfound consistency and depth to the vocal efforts Adelaide put forth on Shipwrecks allows it to complete a much more intense and unique dynamic than the likes of the band’s peers.

The combination of grating, aggressive vocals and dynamic, yet technical instrumentation allows Shipwrecks to create a truly immersive experience. From “Fingers Crossed” all the way through “Borrowed Time,” the listeners head will be bobbing (or banging) and their feet will be tapping (or stomping) along with. The vocals, rather than constantly roaring away overtop of the instrumentation, allow the guitar room to shine, and give way to the drums when need be, as seen in “Rest(Less)”’s interlude. However, tracks like “Apologies” find themselves vocally dominating, persistent in the story they are written to impart upon the listener. In this manner, Shipwrecks never gets old. When it just seems like Adelaide might rely too heavily on dizzying, skull-smashing instrumentation, “Apologies” kicks in, and the vocal prowess which accompanies it shines more brightly than ten suns. The careful attention to detail used by Adelaide in the construction of this EP would not only please the most perfunctory deep-sea adventurer, but satiate the hungriest fans of both heavy and melodic music alike.

Take a second to explore Adelaide’s latest EP with the same scrutiny you might apply to a long-lost sunken vessel. If you do, you’ll find a world of hard-hitting heaviness and relieving harmony within Shipwreck creating a dynamic the likes of which simply sink the efforts of these Georgian Gargantuans’ peers.



For Fans Of: Memphis May Fire, Sworn In, Barrier, It Lives. It Breathes.

By: Connor Welsh