Released: 2015, Napalm Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
For a band that took their name from a whale hunting character in Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, it’s no surprise that literature has once again had an influence on these nautical metallers for their new LP, “The Boats Of Glen Carrig”, a title taken from the William Hope Hodgson novel of the same. But it’s not just a title that AHAB have taken and made their own here, the whole fibre of this record draws its influence from the said psychedelic story of adventure and survival. Unsurprisingly from a group that play “nautik funeral doom”, the novel in question features heavily aquatic monsters and underwater creatures, depicted by the blindingly colourful cover art.
Musically, this much more akin to predecessor, The Giant (2012), than earlier works such as The Call Of The Wretched Sea. Opening serenely, with luscious, vintage sounding guitar chords, at moments this record could be a lost gem of sophisticated, early 70s prog if it was not for the monstrous barge of heaviness that plunges this LP into extreme metal territory again and again. Daniel Droste’s growls sound as monstrous and inhuman as ever, with a rumbling low end in their execution to accompany Cornelius’s reverb-drenched drum sound, with which his rhythms sound bold and booming.
This is AHAB’s most exploratory, experimental work to date, and in an age where breaking genre boundaries is becoming commonplace, these Germans have not missed the boat (pun intended). Over the course of the five tracks, the hour long LP feels cinematic, with the doom riffs hammering and hypnotic, and the softer moments feeling free and relaxed, but never lackadaisical. In fact, they’re as just as poignant as the record’s most devastating points, such as the foreboding, dissonant chords on “Red Foam (The Great Storm)”.
As a bleak, mournful record, much darker than the cover art deceivingly suggests, enjoying this album is an experience not be disrupted. It is hypnotic, entrancing and even after sixty minutes will leave you up for more, as the band skilfully select the most mysterious, murky and melancholic track, “To Mourn Job”, as this LP’s closer.
Review by Jarod Lawley