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Ahab – The Boats of The Glen Carrig

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Last Updated on 04:44 PM by Lilliana Tseka

Genre: Nautik Funeral Doom Metal
Country: Germany
Label: Napalm Records
Year: 2015

Usually, bands with self-labeled genres tend to be funny and people make fun of them. With Ahab though, I never for a second thought of mocking the term “nautik funeral doom” since the musical delivery is so good, you actually feel the weight of the ocean crushing you and swallowing you into it’s depths. In case you didn’t know them, they are dudes obsessed with the sea and every album has a strong related concept adapted from a book behind it.

I fell in love with them when I listened to their debut album “The Call of the Wretched Sea”, released in 2006 and one of the best metal albums you’ll ever listen, a piece you have to experience at least once before you die. Their sound kept progressing and evolving in their next two full lengths, “The Divinity of Oceans” and “The Giant” and as they have been keeping a schedule of an album every three years, we now have the latest “The Boats of Glen Carrig”. The record’s title comes from a book with the same name, written by the novelist William Hodsgon around a hundred years ago and talking about the story of the survivors of the ship Glen Carrig, which crushed into something mysterious somewhere. I’m being intentionally vague here.

The path of the band all these years made it clear that this wouldn’t be a funeral doom metal band settling inside the borders. In fact, they have totally found their sound by now and I wouldn’t even call them funeral doom, more of simply Ahab. They have injected perfect doses of post-rockish passages, clean vocals, a bit of ambient between the more heavy parts, in their own characteristic way. The post-rock term goes to the parts of the clean guitar melodies and the mourning vocals, present in “The Giant” as well in case you need a reference point, yet it doesn’t sound like any other band of that genre. Once again, it’s Ahab.

In my opinion, “The Boats of Glen Carrig” has the best production of any other album of the band so far. Even though I miss the drowning sound of the first record a bit, especially the sound they used for the drums there (Jesus fucking Christ) but this is crystal clear and absolutely enjoyable. All the instruments sound great, in the calm moments as well as the more intense. I mean, the distorted guitars sound so good, every riff is a god damn avalanche on you. I don’t know how they achieve that, even the simplest melodies are played in such a powerful manner.

Daniel Droste’s vocals have also improved and he has added another style in his work. Apart from the deep growls and the cleans he does, this record features the grunt-type element in some moments of the tracks, making his singing even better and more suited to the instrumentation. An interesting aspect of the album is that it features the shortest as well as the longest track they have ever recorded (excluding interludes, of course). “Red Foam (The Great Storm)” lasts just about six minutes, while “The Weedmen” goes as long as fifteen.

Every track is a whole chapter on it’s own. The first two, “The Isle” and “The Thing That Made Search”, include all the talent of the band and their ideas perfectly melded together, moving from clean to heavy parts and into eerie melodies in between. This is some of the band’s best stuff right there. One could say that they go a little faster with “Red Foam”, a track with excellent guitar melodies, but then “The Weedmen” strikes with a typical funeral doom introduction, then a haunting ambient part and a soul-ripping guitar part afterwards. It’s impossible to ignore this chaos once it’s unleashed, it’s like the band has been circling around their gold stop all these years and now they have finally sat snugly into it.

While “The Giant” is praised as a peak moment for Ahab, I don’t prefer it to their first two albums, because at times I didn’t fully enjoy the change from the clean parts to the heavy ones. In “The Boats of Glen Carrig”, it’s finally done so naturally that it’s impressive and astonishing. The penultimate track “The Mourn Job” is a great example of this, where one part building the other wondefully. The synergy is awesome in that track, as well as the previous ones for the same reason. There is also a last, bonus track named “The Light in the Weed (Mary Madison)”, which has touching melodies and clean vocals only, closing the record with a bitter feeling of nostalgia.

All in all, this record is a stellar performance, nothing less. I would say it is their fullest album musically and the best expression of the band so far. Every guitar line is amazing, the vocals are remarkable, the subject is very intriguing and everything works great as it was meant to be. “The Boats of Glen Carrig” will surely be in my toplist of the year and a record I will be listening for many years to come. I’m going to find where these guys live and I will hug them one by one for this masterpiece. Please find the book and read it while listening to this album on repeat until you finish. You’ll not regret it.

5/6

VJ
VJ
The gate of the cavern is despair, and its floor is paved with the gravestones of abandoned hopes. There Self must die; there the eagerness, the greed of untamed desire must be slain, for only so can the soul be freed from the empire of Fate.

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