Sunday, February 03, 2008

Tha'r She Blows ...

I'm new to the funeral doom genre with Catacombs as my only other point of reference, however Ahab's full-length debut dirge is nothing short of crushing doom/death metal with musical vividness creating powerful and bleak imagery intertwined with madness. "The Call Of The Wretched Sea" is based on Herman Melville's Moby Dick which may seem odd, but Ahab have presented the tale in probably the most musically faithful way via funeral doom.

Starting with "Below The Sun" the album eases us in with quiet keyboards much like the ambient calm of the sea. The rest of this song crashes into us like the massive bulk of great white whale. The riffs are slow and crushing retaining a rhythmic pattern with gothic undertones.

"The Pacific" is a monsterous epic with thunderous drums and a bleak and dark interlude. "Old Thunder" mellows out with an acoustic intro and some sombre guitar soloing. The song then takes a pummelling turn with unsettling keyboards and bombastic riffs. This leads into the ambient and vivid instrumental "Of The Monstrous Pictures Of Whales" which soothes us shortly before "The Sermon" kicks in.

"The Sermon" is my favourite track here. This doom dirge crashes through riffs and verses like Ahab's vessel The Pequod until it slows into an atmospheric interlude with sound bites from John Huston's film version of Moby Dick. This dense "calmness" is destroyed by a crushing riff and thunderous drums much like the great white leviathon on the cover. Once the excitement and fear is over the song slows into a slow reflective doominess.

After this behemoth onslaught, "The Hunt" is on. With refrained crushing doom we are carried along on Ahab's fall into revenge addled madness. This twisty and sickeningly sludgy dirge drags us through the depths of the ocean and one man's inner turmoil.

The album closer "Ahab's Oath" carries a haunting melody with all that is bleak in death metal. The growls are sickening and the melancholic riffs linger. It is depressingly emotional and mind meltingly heavy. A powerful ending to a tragic album.

Ahab have created a musical sound scape of literary classic and opened the doors for future literary interpretations via heavy metal, albeit they set the bar pretty damned high. I cannot imagine a more appropriate and fitting interpretation of Moby Dick. This seems like a one off deal, which is a shame because this is truly a brilliant creation.

Up next, I'll look at my other funeral doom epic Catacombs' "In The Depths Of R'Lyeh".


Blogger anonymous jones said...

That's one of the best band photos I've ever seen!

7:37 PM  

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