Nashville-based nautical rock outfit Rusty Shipp spent the summer and fall building hype for their latest release, Liquid Exorcist. Now fans of 90s grunge with a modern twist have an opportunity to dive head-first into this immersive experience of an album.
Liquid Exorcist is a unique project in that it flows seamlessly from track to track and is best listened to from front to back without pausing, though certainly many songs stand on their own as well. The album leads with instrumental “Mine Factory,” building into upbeat rocker “Liquid Pendulum.” The opener is the first time guitarist Elijah Apperson is featured, laying down incredible riffs before lead vocalist Russ T. Shipp jumps in and shows off his vocal range and on point falsetto.
Thematically the album is based on Operation Liquid Exorcist in 1948, which according to their CD cover occurred when “after a sudden string of naval and civilian casualties, the Coast Guard [discovered] sea mines laced throughout the ocean.” The mission was to find and remove said mines, exorcising the ocean. The songs on this album carry the theme of finding and removing personal mines.
“Mindsweeper” and “Detonator” maintain the theme of sweeping for mines and detonating them to allow for healing. On the latter, drummer AJ Newton provides the beat and keeps the band in lockstep as Apperson continues to shred on the guitar.
“Show Me How to Live” is a southern rock take on an Audioslave song that perhaps deviates slightly off theme, but is strong enough that it’s sure to be a favorite not only on the album, but in live performances.
The band continues with “Blow Your Mine,” anchored by bassist Andrew Speed as they launch full steam ahead in this nautical instrumental introduction to the remembrance of victims of Operation Liquid Exorcist. “Hundred Crosses” features tempo changes from bridge to verse to chorus and frenetic vocals, reminiscent of bands like Polarboy and Stellar Kart.
“They say a hundred mines, they forgot to sweep.
A hundred passersby now a hundred casualties
Casting out the spirits of the innocent
They’ve become like an evil exorcist.”
“Breaking Waves” is one of the heavier tunes on the project, with driving guitars and rhythmic drums setting a backdrop for a pounding chorus while a steady beat is provided on bass for each verse.
The closer is appropriately a simple vocal cover of “Navy Hymn,” circa 1860.
Rusty Shipp has already garnered attention with this album and will no doubt continue to stay the course with their unique blend of grunge and modern artistic elements. Musically this band is tight and features skilled players and vocals on all fronts while lyrically this album is more of a continuous history lesson of a Naval operation that occurred decades ago which the band splendidly ties into spiritual and personal themes of cleansing and healing.
Related Artists: Audioslave, Audio Adrenaline, Stellar Kart, Polarboy