REVIEW: AHAB – “The Boats Of Glen Carigg”
Owais 'Vitek' Nabi
Nautical doom metallers Ahab from Germany are one of the most underrated bands out there. But those who do know of them, also know of the power and uniqueness of their music. There really isn’t a band like Ahab in my opinion and three years after their magnificent ‘The Giant’, their latest offering ‘The Boats of the Glen Carrig’ has further highlighted the incredible creativity and dark elegance that defines these German metallers.
The album begins on a strong yet subtle note with ‘The Isle’, Daniel Droste’s voice as soulful as always. Only around the 2.20 mark does the heaviness set in with sludgey riffs followed by paced, deep growls that continue on till the end. The eerie mysticism on this one and subsequently the rest of the album is one of it’s strong points and keeps you captivated throughout. A beautiful instrumental passage takes over halfway through the song in one of the smoothest transitions you’ll ever hear as it beautifully leads into the rest of the track. The stomp of that chugging bass closing this track is an absolue delight as well.
‘The Thing That Made Search’ begins with a rather enchanting, proggy intro and brings out the more post-rock side to the band but only just. The airy tunes will have you day dreaming – all you can really visualise is sailing across the vast expanse of ocean before the storm tides come in and things take a turn for the heavy. Rhythmic riffs that sail between brutally majestic and catchy grooves are addictive to the extent that you’ll find yourself headbanging in time with every beat. There’s a certain groove that guides the length of this mesmerising 11 minute track.
Fast and deeply melodic ‘Like Red Foam’ is by far one of the heaviest and a track that exhibits the versatility of this band. They’ve clearly experimented more on this album than on their previous works while ‘To Mourn Job’ has another psychedelic atmosphere throughout living up to the typical funeral doom persona of Ahab. To put it quite simply, this album goes through mood swings of airy yet haunting textures of metallic pleasantries to the more crushing phases of heaviness. The beauty however lies in the unknown; never can you predict with an Ahab record which comes first – it’ll happen when you least expect it.
‘The Light in the Weed’ is another 10 minute opus of mid-paced, ambient melodies that you get completely lost in, visuals of aquatic bliss consuming your thoughts. Distortions kick in for a sudden twist a little after halfway through the track and the soulful voice of Daniel continues to send chills down your spine. The clean vocals balance out more intense, heavier sections perfectly, a balance that Ahab have mastered right from the very beginning.
Bipolarity in the most positive sense of the word is one describing factor of Ahab’s music as they take you along a rather emotional journey. The layers of melancholic complexity and intracacies are the marks of excellent instrumentation and musicianship. With ‘The Boats of the Glen Carrig’, the German’s have once again proven their multitude of skill, maintaining their signature doom style but also exhibiting the ability to weave in darker, more progressive elements and thus experimenting to create what is undeniably a masterpiece; a work of art that boasts heartfelt music and the sheer beauty of the Seas.
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