30 Jan 2019

The call of the wretched sea

Artist: Ahab
Genre: Funeral Doom Metal
Origin: Germany
Year: 2006
Label: Napalm Records


In 2006, Ahab released what is undoubtedly one of the best and most unique funeral doom metal albums ever created. 

The band formed in 2004 and very soon moved on with a single the same year, but it was next year's demo that was the most important and the first installment to the known Nuntacket trilogy, featuring their first three releases, other than the The Stream: The Oath demo, The Call of the Wretched Sea in 2006, and The Divinity of Oceans in 2009.

In these releases, it seems like they had some struggles with recording and producing their music, or to put it more correctly: it is obvious that they moved on to a "professional" studio with The Giant in 2012. Of course, this has never been a problem for metalheads with trained ears in the harshest shit ever.

It turns out, the sound in the early Ahab records is soul crushing to heavenly levels, fitting the concept of the band ideally, as they only elaborate on ocean subjects, books about the sea and such. The Call of the Wretched Sea is also about my personal favorite book of all time, Moby Dick (hence, the name reference too).

Fans of such literature might be interested to check a couple of more books: Owen Chase's The Wreck Of The Whaleship Essex and Nathaniel Philbrick's The Heart Of The Sea, which were both influences for Herman Melville as well.

Ahab moved towards a broader sound later in their discography, bringing jam / rock elements as well, and more clean vocals of course. In my opinion, they have never failed. I don't know if they have become better, because their first recordings are amazing.

I wouldn't say they were ever neck deep into funeral doom, but there isn't another genre closer to the claustrophobic, haunting and unbearable heaviness and atmosphere of The Call of the Wretched Sea. If this band has a funeral doom metal album, that is it. Especially the first two tracks, "Below the Sun" and "The Pacific", had me hooked very quickly, and they haven't lost their initial beauty after a thousand listens until today.

The album's fourth track "Of the Monstrous Pictures of Whales" is a reference to a chapter from Moby Dick, which you can read here.

There are not similar bands to Ahab, but if you are in the mood for their first album The Call of the Wretched Sea, it's safe to say that you should dig more into classic funeral doom metal bands. Mark my words that this is one of the best metal releases of the previous decade and a thrilling experience to listen through.

Track listing:
1. Below the Sun
2. The Pacific
3. Old Thunder
4. Of the Monstrous Pictures of Whales
5. The Sermon
6. The Hunt
7. Ahab's Oath


Listen on Spotify | Youtube

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