"some music was meant to stay underground..."

A Ship Going Under - "The Failure Design" (CD/EP)

A Ship Going Under - "The Failure Design" CD/EP cover image

"The Failure Design" track listing:

1. I Don't Know Names, Just Bodies (5:00)
2. Broken Noses And Recollections (4:31)
3. I Believe This Knife Is Yours (5:14)
4. Elms & Embers (3:42)
5. I'll Meet You At The Lighthouse (3:53)
6. Release & Depart (4:43)

Reviewed by on March 30, 2012

"'The Failure Design' is constantly energetic without being overly melodic, and extreme without losing focus on infectious song writing, which makes it one to check out for fans of pretty much any style."

Reviewing underground and fairly unknown bands is always a toss up, as it’s just as likely that any given group deserves to stay in the basement as it is that something unique or explosively awesome is going to come around. A Ship Going Under thankfully ends up more of the latter than the former, with a blistering collection of heavy and headbang-friendly tracks on “The Failure Design.” Based on the band’s name and the promo photos it might be easy to expect something like electronic dancecore, or maybe yet another djent rehash, but neither holds true at all as A Ship Going Under is pretty much balls to the wall metal through-and-through.

The track listing should give potential listeners a good idea of where the music is going, with song titles like “I Don’t Know Names, Just Bodies” and “Broken Noses and Recollections.” The EP consists of a groovy version of death metal, oscillating back and forth between sounds from different sub-genres. There’s definitely some thrash to be found in the guitar work, a strong modern death metal influence, and even a dash of ‘core here and there.

A good balance is struck between these different styles, and there’s a nod to the way metal has been going lately, but the music doesn’t actually fully embrace the modern deathcore shtick. Influences are readily heard in these songs from bigger names that are obviously going to affect how lesser known bands play, from Lamb of God to Slayer, but “The Failure Design” doesn’t really neatly fit into any one specific genre tag or greatly copy any one particular act.

There isn’t much bleed through between the tracks, with each having a fairly unique identity. Most of the music is consistently on the massively heavy end, and there are plenty of sudden slowdowns where the music takes on an immense tone and the vocals really fill the sound. A Ship Going Under is definitely an underground act, so the production is predictably iffy – sometimes the drums are too punchy, the guitars have too much reverb going on, and so forth, but overall it’s not bad and the instruments pretty much always remain audible. Unfortunately the bass doesn’t get much love, tending to be buried underneath a bit, but it does shine on “Elms and Embers” for those who happen to be using headphones.

“The Failure Design” is constantly energetic without being overly melodic, and extreme without losing focus on infectious song writing, which makes it one to check out for fans of pretty much any style.

Highs: Full of energy without losing the heaviness or death metal brutality.

Lows: The sound quality could definitely be better, and the bass seems a bit lost.

Bottom line: Groovy and energetic death metal that's both heavy and infectious.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)