Review AHAB ‘The Coral Tombs’

Captain Ahab is a protagonist in Herman Melville’s novel ‘Moby Dick’ and inspired a young metal band from Heidelberg, Germany when they were looking for a name for their metal adventure. The whole process took place almost 20 years ago and Ahab, the metal band, was born.

The southern German metal enthusiasts premiered in 2006 with ‘The Call of the Wretched Sea’ and embraced the slow rhythms and heavy riffs. Different musical directions hereby blend into a mighty maelstrom. On the one hand there are snail-paced riffs with which the guys create an oppressive soundscape. In addition, there are deep growls, which move the sound in the direction of funeral doom. In contrast, clean vocals are used and some reference and bands like Candlemass do stand out.

It was 2015 when Ahab released their fourth album with ‘The Boats of the Glen Carrig’ and although there were regularly a few live shows in their calendar, it still became rather quiet about the band. However, this does not mean that no activities took place under the sea level as the quartet worked on new songs which are now compiled on ‘The Coral Tombs’.

Eight years after ‘The Boats of the Glen Carrig’ Ahab release seven powerful songs, gloomy hymns from the nautical depths, which give you goose bumps.

As usual, Ahab mix filigree and brutality in their songs, epic pieces that are all more than six minutes in length.

Photo: Stefan Heilemann

The start of the new album is a bit surprising and you look twice if you have put on the right record. Blastbeasts and black metal-ish screaming is not exactly what you expect. However, after this stormy first notes Ahab dive into the calmer and darker worlds with ‘Prof. Arronax’ Descent Into the Vast Oceans’.

As on previous albums, Ahab base their album on novel originals and take their fans on the adventures of Captain Nemo and Professor Arronax.

‘The Coral Tombs’ is mesmerizing, melancholic and evil, all at the same time. Slow tracks like the 10-minute ‘The Sea as a Desert’ reveals all aspects of the foursome. Slowly and emphatically, the song waltzes into the listener’s mind and you are enthralled by what you are about to hear.

This album takes the listener into a world that remains mostly hidden from one. Under the blue shimmering sea level one finds a world of beauty, transience and darkness. Ahab invite you to discover this world on ‘The Coral Tombs’ and they do so with musical expertise and passion for the sound they have created. Take the epic title track, for example, where all the trademarks are skillfully showcased.

Ahab’s fifth album is another highlight in the band’s history. The guys know exactly what they want and have all the means to realize their vision of doom-laden metal with depth and context. Away from trends and radio-ready four-minute songs, the four guys have crafted songs that take time to be discovered and at the same time create a moment of fascination upon first listen. This album should not be missed.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

Tracklist:

  1. Prof. Arronax’ Descent Into the Vast Oceans
  2. Colossus Of The Liquid Graves
  3. Mobilis in Mobili
  4. The Sea As A Desert
  5. A Coral Tomb
  6. Ægri Somnia
  7. Mælstrom

Label: Napalm Records

Genre: Nautic Doom Metal

Release Date EU: January 13th, 2023

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