Friday, October 9, 2009

Ahab - The Divinity Of The Oceans

Artist: Ahab
Album: The Divinity Of The Oceans
Label: Napalm Records
Year: 2009

01. Yet Another Raft of The Medusa (Pollard's Weakness)
02. The Divinity Of The Oceans
03. O Father Sea
04. Redemtion Lost
05. Tombstone Carousal
06. Gnawing Bones (Coffin's Lot)
07. Nickerson's Theme


Way back in 2006 Ahab released The Call Of The Wretched Sea, a crushing funeral doom album based on Herman Melville's novel "Moby Dick". The album went on to win the Metal Storm Award in the Extreme Doom Metal category.

So how would 2009's follow up, The Divinity Of Oceans stack up?

For starters, the nautical theme continues with this album. The Divinity Of Oceans is based on "The Loss Of The Ship Essex, Sunk By A Whale" by Owen Chase and Thomas Nickerson. The book is about the horrors suffered by the crew of the Essex after the ship was sunk by a whale… some 20 sailors spent 90 days floating around the South Pacific, thousands of miles from home and hundreds of miles from land in small wooden boats. The book was also the inspiration for the climactic scene of "Moby Dick".

The album kicks off treading the same musical water as its precursor. A nice quiet, serene clean piece slowly ushers in the album until a tsunami-sized riff slams home and consigns you to a watery musical grave.

But whereas their initial offering was fairly one dimensional (albeit a fantastic album within that dimension), The Divinity Of Oceans has more depth to it, primarily in the vocal department. You aren't more than a couple minutes in to the album, with familiar riffs and growls before vocalist Daniel Droste switches to a clean tone, which is every bit as mournful as the growls are menacing. He alternates between both clean and guttural through-out the record.

The music itself has a bit more to offer as well. Aside from just crushing, slow riffs that seem to ebb and flow with the tide, there are some great melodic and melancholic guitar leads over the riffs adding to the atmosphere. At another point during a calm break around the four minute mark of "Tombstone Carousal" a nice clean, almost optimistic, guitar comes in for a few seconds that reminded me of acoustic wizard Adrian Legg's Guitar For Mortals and conjures images of the crew languishing in their little life boats during a light rain… Of course the peace is very short lived. It's as if they added a couple shots of darkwave to their own brand of nautic funeral doom.

The nutshell version? They took the same formula that spawned the immense The Call Of The Wretched Sea and built upon it, resulting in an album that surpasses their initial, award-winning offering.

Doom ahoy, mateys. -by BitterCOld @


Anonymous said...

This album is awesome as the review above states. I discovered this band about a year ago through a friend and they have continued to surprise me completely.

Anonymous said...

Great post and an insightful review. Keep up the good work.