In closing my review of Process Of Guilt’s last album, I was almost certain that work of such quality would be difficult to replicate in the future, not only for the band itself but also by other bands that had tried their hand at doom post metal. As it often happens, thanks to this formidable record by the Vicenza-based Whales And Aurora, I find myself in the pleasant condition of having to reconsider: The Shipwreck in fact, not only stands up to Faemin but in some ways is complementary to it, exhibiting a slightly different approach to the matter created in the past by Neurosis and reshaped over the years by various bands in the most varied forms. In fact, where the Portuguese do not allow glimmers of light in a proposal dominated by a darkness that oppresses and nullifies any glimmer of hope, the Venetian band inserts, in addition to a few instrumental episodes, several passages revealing that dim light at the end of the tunnel that is possible to grasp in the album’s epilogue. Refused Recounting Words and Achieving The Unavoidable, placed at the opening of the album, are two splendid examples of dark lyricism and anger that at certain junctures would like to be repressed but which, after moments of apparent calm re-explodes with all its charge of existential anguish. The Aground Hard-Ship, an ambient interlude, is a kind of introduction to Abandoned Among Echoes, a track that keeps the emotional tension within the work intact.
Next comes Awakened By The Aurora, another instrumental, strangely (or maybe not …) close to the sounds of the Brian Eno-era Before And After Science, which paves the way for the album’s seminal track, that A New Awareness which, as the title anticipates, at the end of this painful inner journey leaves a glimmer open to the acquisition of a new awareness; this authentic sonic gem is followed by the last track Floating On Calm Waters which, in practice, constitutes its instrumental coda. Whales And Aurora with this debut explode like a supernova within an Italian scene that never as in this moment sees the emergence of bands with enormous potential; these guys from Vicenza have achieved excellence at the first shot and, as always happens in these cases, the real challenge that awaits them will be the ability to confirm themselves at these levels. But, for now, let us think about enjoying an album of rare intensity like The Shipwreck.
2012 – Slow Burn Records