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Ahab - The Call Of The Wretched Sea review


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Band: Ahab
Album: The Call Of The Wretched Sea
Release date: 2006

01. Below The Sun
02. The Pacific
03. Old Thunder
04. Of The Monstrous Pictures Of Whales
05. The Sermon
06. The Hunt
07. Ahab's Oath

I bet many of you know the story of Moby Dick that traumatized Ahab and eversince Ahab swore to lead this whale to its doom for all the suffering it caused him, yet the only doom that was lurking was his own and his men that followed him in this dreadful journey in the shadows of the sea, to finally find themselves in the depths of the ocean, in oblivion. But how would it seem to you if a funeral doom metal band covered musically and lyrically this story? I believe it would seem obscure to most of you, but not until you listen to Ahab's debut album, "The Call Of The Wretched Sea". All the answers lie in there and all the signs lead to only one conclusion, this German trio knows how to create overwhelming funeral doom that will strike you down to the lowest parts of the sea.

Through the whole duration of the album you feel the waves of the raging satin sea striking with no mercy your hopeless body, the essence of the dissonant waters is always present and there's nothing you can do to avoid it, you just float in woe in the most terrifying waters until you finally drown, cause of death: asphyxiation and relentless torment. If you don't believe me all you have to do is listen to "The Call Of The Wretched Sea" and you'll find yourselves how powerful this attempt can be! Melody and terror are present from the first moment of this journey with bitter end until its last. The soul-crushing guitar riffing is always present to evoke an imposing and horrifying atmosphere with its ultra heavy distortion that seems to me at times as if it is slowly rising from the bottom of the darkest ocean, whereas the wailing and distressing guitar melodies (accompanying the riffing and strengthening its cause) or the beautiful acoustic chords (evoking the calmness of the great vast sea) float like wraiths of those perished in the waters. Some oriental melodic solos here and there (like on "Old Thunder") are a definitely good addition which actually shows that funeral doom musicians can be creative and qualified if they want to, don't let the simplicity of the music they tend to present misguide you, and in the end, Ahab is high quality funeral doom.

Some keyboard melodies and FX are distinctive here and there, but they tend to remain in the background somehow, without this being something negative, not at all, especially since they give you the impression as if they were a whale's lament echoing from beyond as the journey of Ahab and his ship martches on until they meet their doom (the threatening keyboard passage after the 7th minute of "The Hunt" is perfect!). The rhythm section is bombastic, quite fast for a funeral doom release, but maybe it's just the fact that the overall album won't rely only on low-tempo compositions and tends to sound quite upbeat at times, escalating the emotional charge of the compositions, flowing along with the ship in the pace of the wind; "The Sermon" for example is quite an upbeat and terrifying funeral doom/death metal composition that rages wild! And last but not least the vocals and the question that follows is simple: "What can i say about them?" Well, i suppose i have to say a few things about them and my opinion is the most positive of all, they are ultra deep grunts, powerful and menacing to the core, at times seeming as if they are coming from the deepest caves of the sea consealing the tranquility of the peaceful seeming waters for danger lies ahead (like on "The Pacific"). Some very few choir oriented vocals here and there are always welcome and they consist of a very interesting addition!

"The Call Of The Wretched Sea" as a title is exactly what the album is all about and in cooperation with the cover of Ahab's debut it prepares the listener of what will follow. The album is almost flawless, but i have to admit that songs like "The Hunt", "Old Thunder", "Below The Sun" and "Ahab's Oath" are just perfect, evoking distress in the devastating atmosphere and the walls of sound this German trio manages to create in such a mesmerising way.

Concluding, just a few words, Ahab managed to release one of the best funeral doom releases of 2006, a release that can easily compete with big names in the scene. All you have to do is go and get it; and one last thing, welcome Ahab, because Germany's not only about Bethlehem and Worship!

Whale Ahead!

Rating breakdown
Performance: 10
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Production: 9


Written on 04.10.2006 by "It is myself I have never met, whose face is pasted on the underside of my mind."

Guest review by
Doc G.
Have you ever sat in your back yard at night staring up at the stars when you suddenly come to the unfortunate realization that your life is completely pitiful and insignificant? What? You haven't? Then I assume you have never heard this album!

Funeral doom... that's that really boring genre with no face-melting solos and the guitars going too slow, right? Wrong! The name of the game here is atmosphere, and never have I heard a band set up such a perfect atmosphere. Being a man who generally appreciates ferocious riffs above anything else, the word "atmospheric" generally doesn't attract me to an album, but after hearing "The Call Of The Wretched Sea" my eyes were opened to a whole new power some music can have. The tranquil, yet ominous, grandiose guitar leads, interspersed with the occasional heavy chugging "heave-ho!" type rhythm based sections would have made a great instrumental album on its own, but it doesn't end there. Laced in between the fantastic guitar work is some grotesque (albeit fairly unremarkable) growls, and some Gregorian-chant like clean vocals, that both really do justice to the type of scenes they are trying to portray. Now lets not forget the drumming! Though it usually plays its part effectively, yet fairly predictably - slow and thundering, occasionally you'll hear some great speed put into the drum work, while managing to maintain the tempo at a crushingly depressing crawl.

published 30.06.2009 | Comments (9)

Comments page 2 / 2

Comments: 33   Visited by: 228 users
01.08.2011 - 02:32
After albums like this.... I realise that I need to listen to more doom.
30.12.2011 - 07:02
This album is the best funeral doom has to offer. I've listened to other bands such as Evoken, Esoteric and Shape of Despair and none of them do it like Ahab does. Can't wait for their third album!
10.01.2012 - 13:09
Account deleted
Written by EmperorIX on 29.12.2011 at 10:56

Written by Guest on 08.06.2007 at 20:07

Moby dick definitely. Absolutely fantastic concept album. Even reminds me of Pinocchio in a humourious childish way.

This album has some fantastic technical musicianship without doubt and for there first album, wow. Watch this space.

Written by Guest on 05.10.2006 at 01:43

I also listened to the album and i liked it pretty much, despite the genre isn't familiar to me. can someone please tell me who are the big names of Extreme Funeral Doom? thanks!

You cant go wrong with the GODS: Skepticism, Shape of Despair and Esoteric. But these guys haven't the added advantage of a terrific drummer on board. Not that Skepticism doesnt, there drummer is probably the 'coolest' (yes cool is the only term that comes to mind (=/) but if its the pace you like as well, then maybe Agalloch is something you should try. Though, there slightly faster and wouldn't be classified as Funeral doom. For extreme funeral doom there is only Esoteric. There the bench mark nobody will ever surpass.

I could not help but suggest the almighty Evoken, if you have not heard of them already. Antithesis Of Light - the best funeral doom record ever in my opinion.

Definitely Evoken. Evoken - A Caress of the void. What an album.

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