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Ahab - 'The Divinity Of Oceans' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/30/cf/4e/253_Ahab_1270558824.jpg Hot

Added by James Gaden     April 06, 2010    
 
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Second album from funeral nautic doom metal merchants.

 

In an alternative universe it’s conceivable that one day Ahab will turn in a set of short ‘n’ snappy happy songs, but in the meantime in the here and now the world’s prime purveyors of what Napalm call ‘funeral nautic doom metal’ (they do like categorising things at the label) have followed up their debut album ‘The Call Of The Wretched Sea’ with another healthy dose of brooding, doom-laden metal.

Formed in 2004, Ahab 2009 is a collaboration between founder members guitarist and vocalist Daniel Droste and guitarist Christian Hector (in between gigs with their day job in Midnattsol), and bassist Stephan Wandernoth and drummer (and album producer) Cornelius Althammer from Dead Eyed Sleeper. The final part of a trilogy (the band opened their account with an EP ‘The Oath’ in 2005), ‘The Divinity Of Oceans’ is based once again around whalers, and this time tackles the story of the whale ship Essex. The subject of a couple of books (including one by Owen Chase who was the First Mate on the vessel), the Essex was attacked by a whale in 1820 and sank, reducing the survivors to misery, despair and ultimately cannibalism – perfect subject matter for the dark lyrics, grinding, remorseless riffs and vocals which swing from brutal to plaintive.

‘The Divinity Of Oceans’ is extremely well written and performed, but is not easy listening by any stretch: if you think Type O Negative is too slow, then forget it. (Hector himself describes the album as “Carcass in slo-mo and Morbid Angel going beyond the slowness of ‘Blessed Are the Sick’.”) But persevere with it, and you’ll discover an album that is exceptionally inventive and truly atmospheric, with the mariners’ pain dragged relentlessly across the album’s seven lengthy cuts. The production is imaginative too, and brings out the best of the dark and darker material, where twists and turns still lurk like leviathans in the deep.

By the way, for those of us who’ve regressed to vinyl, there is a spectacular limited edition double album available direct from Napalm.

John Tucker

 

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