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Ahab - The Boats Of The Glen Carrig (2015) - Review

Band: Ahab
Album title: The Boats Of The Glen Carrig
Release date: 28 August 2015
Label: Napalm Records

01. The Isle
02. The Thing That Made Search
03. Like Red Foam (The Great Storm)
04. The Weedmen
05. To Mourn Job
06. The Light In The Weed (Mary Madison) [bonus]

The four German sailors, inventors of the term "nautical doom", a band which has been inviting fans of crushing atmospheric funeral doom sounds to read books such are Moby Dick (Herman Melville) and The Narrative Of Arthur Gordon Pym Of Nantucket (Edgar Allen Poe), which were interpreted in their own way by transforming words into music. There's no doubt that Ahab gained a lot of respect and symphaties among the lovers of high quality doom since their inception in 2004 and now they are back with probably their most monolithic and divergent album to date, The Boats Of The Glen Carrig. This time they've got the inspiration in William Hope Hodgson's horror novel The Boats Of Glen Carrig, first published in 1907, hence the title. Some might be surprised what they've prepared this time, the album differs quite a lot from their last one, The Giant, from 2012, on a certain level it's a step back into the past, sometimes it's heard that the new album has some things in common with their early material, but it's much more dynamic, a bit more emotional and flowing, so afterall it's a kind of slight new direction for this band.

With The Boats Of The Glen Carrig, the band seems to leave their typical funeral doom metal style behind them, it's still present but I simply can't call it like that. There's much more emphasis on the atmosphere, driving metal lines and let's say the band discovered its progressive side, which nicely complements with heavy slow crushing riffs, punishing drums, wretched bass and guttural death vocals, maybe one of the best in this genre. The vocal style is a bit similar to the one they've used on their seminal album The Divinity Of Oceans, with many variations between harsh and melancholic clean vocals, which move slowly like a flow of lava and easily take the listener from one haunting mood to another. Once you'll have a feeling of sailing a calm sea on a sunny day, but soon after that Ahab prepares a thunderstorm and you are witnessing the most violent force of waves in all its glory. The album offers a lot of highly emotive melodies, some amazing guitar solos, for example on the epic and the longest track they ever did, "The Weedmen", and on "Like Red Foam (The Great Storm)", or again, the band enthuses with the insertion of captivating acoustic guitars lines like in the beginning of the gloomy melancholic masterpiece "To Mourn Job". But yet, this methodical piece of art offers a lot since the very beginning with the enigmatic and mystical, almost serene "The Isle". There are so many different moods that the adventurist who'll take a ride with Ahab will encounter on this journey, from clear sombre emotions to those almost drunken ones, for example on the before mentioned mid-paced metalic anthem "Like Red Foam (The Great Storm)" (btw... this is the fastes song Ahab ever did!). There's often present a certain dose of humour in Ahab's output, even though being well hidden behind the explicit use of psychedelic, sludge and horror elements, but yet you can sense it anyway.

Ahab this time composed their boldest album to date, it's not the darkest one they ever made but still there are almost no light moments. The Boats Of The Glen Carrig is not an easy album to consume, it's a complex work, more than anything else these Germans ever did. They used a much larger palette of different elements and they put those together with perfection. I think that albums like this could attract not only those devoted fans of extreme doom, but as well those musical adventurists who search for epic journeys full of twists and turns, gloomy soundscapes, musical journeys that can easily take you out of reality into the fantasy world, and guess what, Ahab's The Boats Of The Glen Carrig is one of those albums and in my opinion their best work to date. Those who'll be lucky enough and will get their copies with a bonus will have a chance listening to their first song with only clean vocals - "The Light In The Weed (Mary Madison)". Ahab's obsession with depths of the ocean and sea, with epic adventures, with anything drenched and salty, this time got a truly monolithic form and is the pitch perfect mood setting.

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 8,5/10