The discovery of a new band is always exciting. Will it be something you’ve heard countless times? An experience that leaves a bad taste in your mouth? Or is it a treat from which you cannot stop consuming? I wanted to take a trip back in time to reminisce about bands/albums that not only introduced me to heavy music, but kept me coming back for more…
From The Archive: Ahab – The Call Of The Wretched Sea
I try to explore every facet of music as I can so I don’t miss out on something, and in terms of metal music, it was all thrash and burn for me. But as time went on and my tastes changed, I found myself venturing towards doom metal and suddenly realized all that I was missing out on. Doom metal, being known for it’s use of slower tempos, low-tuned guitars and “thicker” sound, is a genre of metal that is prominent amongst the other genres, but like everything else, it has a wide range of sub-genres within itself. So the hunt for bands was quite a daunting task, but once I became more familiar with all that doom metal had to offer (took a bit of time), I quickly found bands that struck a lasting chord with me. One band in particular though caught my interest, not only with their sound, but the theme at which their music is based on, thus creating a bleak atmosphere for me to dwell in and enjoy…
Enter Ahab, a funeral doom metal band from Germany, where the majority of their discography revolves around Herman Melville’s literary classic Moby Dick, and the ocean itself. And if the name alone doesn’t get the point across, than the lyrical content and album artwork will drill it into your head that these guys are fascinated with the elusive white whale and the world in which he dwells. And I for one share the same sentiment for the beast of the sea, as the tale of Moby Dick is one of my absolute favorites (so much that I have a tattoo of the giant whale on my upper thigh). So couple that with the epic sound of doom metal, and I suffice to say, I was completely immersed in their music, most notably though, with their 2006 release, The Call Of The Wretched Sea.
At just over an hour long, Ahab manages to keeps things interesting with a very consistent interplay of melodic, calm passages that are also intertwined with crushing rage that is reminiscent of the insane Captain Ahab in his search of the white whale. The albums atmosphere is that of despair and haunting beauty, and this is why Ahab succeeds in not only creating an amazing album, but a doom metal one at that. They’ve taken the story of Moby Dick and put a soundtrack to it. To push the mood even further, Ahab also includes actual lines of dialogue from the story in their lyrics, as well as featuring samples from the classic Moby Dick film to enhance the feeling. As for the vocals, they are not in the forefront of the music, they come across as more of an instrument themselves, adding to the already mammoth sound Ahab is delivering. Daniel Droste conjures up some deep, yet passionate vocal work that flows along with the music flawlessly.
The guitar and bass work on this album is incredible too, they work together to overwhelm the listener with a vivid sense of the story that Ahab is trying to tell. The riffs are just crushing, but at the same time, very mournful. The drumming is complex for such a slow-moving album and the melodies are often created through the use of a synthesizer, which give off that extra bit of aura this album uses so well. It also helps that the production is spot on, offering no flaws, allowing every instrument to be heard perfectly.
To sum this album up, it’s heavy, dark, distorted and gloomy atmosphere is what Funeral Doom is all about, and more importantly, it’s what Moby Dick is about. A man in search of a beast that maimed him, leaving him a rampant, delusional mess with the sole purpose of ridding it from the earth. We all have our “white whale”, it’s just a matter of time until we confront it…
Ahab – “Ahab’s Oath”