Ahab

The Divinity Of Oceans

Written by: EW on 04/08/2009 21:57:46

With what has undoubtedly been the most eagerly anticipated funeral doom album ever in Rockfreaks.net history, German funeral doomsters Ahab return with their sophomore album "The Divinity Of Oceans". In the event that you've forgotten or just never knew, this anticipation was caused by the general delight towards their debut album "The Call Of The Wretched Sea", an album which had PP known anything about doom at all would've got a greater mark than his 7 those three years ago. Thankfully I love all things doomed and disgusting and that debut album sits near the top of the funeral doom tree, alongside classic cult bands like Thergothon, Skepticism, Asunder and Funeral.

In a sub-genre that is so underground it makes black metal look popular, the template of funeral doom has managed to remain largely malleable over the years since Thergothon and Funeral slowed down death metal to a point of almost complete standstill. This is important because Ahab have fostered their reputation through building on the genre's blueprints over these two albums - largely deep guttural vocals, morose pondering drums, bass heavy guitars and a lead guitar playing eloquent tomes of misery and despondency - as well as adding a special magic all of their own. Compared to almost every other sub-genre, funeral doom is not actually full-to-bursting with bands; however the bulk making up their number represent competency in being miserable whilst cheerfully lacking in any spiritual identity.

Ahab's affection towards the oceans helps provide their unique element. From the fantastic album covers to have adorned both LPs the scale set is truly titanic and this permeates throughout every moment of the music. The production is vast and with beats taking longer to emerge than it will do for you to say 'supercalifragilisticexpialidocious' these time spaces reveal a cavernous void through which the feeling of being lost at sea emerges. The over-riding sound is of a crushingly heavy band who, in songs like "Yet Another Raft Of The Medusa (Pollard's Weakness)", have the ability to change tone and key like true artists as if the pleasant sea journey is abruptly ended by an atrocious storm. Yet when Ahab chose to, for instance in "O Father Sea" and "Redemption Lost", their cleaner doom moments flirt with a sound of Solitude Aeturnus (especially in the clean vocals of Daniel Droste) and acoustic Opeth that are the key to separating this band from the pack of funeral doom also-rans.

As is often the case in the genre of doom as a whole, bands who specialise in long songs fill much of this time through cyclical, slowing evolving riffs which at times may feel as if time is standing still. Ahab avoid this trap through always keeping the song moving forward, albeit at the speed of a rain-sodden funeral procession, and displaying a colourful palette of tones and riffs that ensure one minute is always different from those either side of it.

As has been proven by PP's affection towards Ahab's debut album in the last few years, they would probably register as the only band with half a chance of entertaining those not yet fully immersed in the world of doom metal. Given they are on a fairly major label too suggests that there is something about this band that really deserves you giving them a full spin or two. Perhaps not quite as doom-ridden as "The Call Of The Wretched Sea", "The Divinity Of Oceans" is still a superb album in it's own right and cements Ahab's position at the top table of the bleakest of tables - that of funeral doom metal.

9

Download: Nickerson's Theme, O Father Sea, Yet Another Raft Of The Medusa (Pollard's Weakness)
For The Fans Of: Warning, Solitude Aeturnus and extreme/funeral doom metal
Listen: Myspace

Release date: 24.07.09
Napalm Records

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