AHAB — The Call of the Wretched Sea

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AHAB - The Call of the Wretched Sea cover
4.28 | 13 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 2006

Filed under Funeral Doom Metal
By AHAB

Tracklist

1. Below the Sun (11:45)
2. The Pacific (10:07)
3. Old Thunder (9:54)
4. Of the Monstrous Pictures of Whales (1:46)
5. The Sermon (12:35)
6. The Hunt (11:13)
7. Ahab's Oath (10:11)

Total Time: 67:32

Line-up/Musicians

- Stephan Adolph / Bass, Guitars, Vocals
- Daniel Droste / Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards
- Chris R. Hector / Guitars
- Corny Althammer / Drums

About this release

Released by Napalm records on September 29th,2006.

"The Hunt" and "Ahab's Oath" are taken from their first demo, re-recorded.

2xLP released by Deviant Records in 2007.

Pressing info:
- 100 copies in green vinyl
- 100 copies in red vinyl
- 300 copies in black vinyl

The sample in "The Sermon" is from the movie "Moby Dick" by John Huston.

Thanks to Prog Geo, UMUR, adg211288 for the updates

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AHAB THE CALL OF THE WRETCHED SEA reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

Warthur
This is the debut album by the German funeral doom outfit Ahab, and as you might guess from their name and the title it's a Moby Dick-inspired piece. Drawing heavily on the similarly-themed demo The Oath - The Hunt and Ahab's Oath are rerecorded tracks from there - it showcases a group with a delicate and nuanced understanding of their chosen subgenre, who are able to add their own twists and turns to the funeral doom metal formula and refresh it. Daniel Droste, in particular, is a star player on the album for his light but significant use of keyboards - check out that mournful droning organ tone that the album kicks off with and which excellently sets the atmosphere.
Wilytank
Ahab are often the entryway into funeral doom metal for newcomers. Their modern clear production and their 'Moby Dick' themes are more attractive than the raw production and weirdness of Skepticism or Esoteric, two primary influences to the genre. Do I wish it was different? I guess so. I love Skepticism and Esoteric much more than Ahab. Is it really that big of a deal? No, because Ahab has its charms as well.

Look at the artwork for 'The Call of the Wretched Sea'. Then, listen to the music. You will realize that the music is as heavy as the leviathan on the cover. The production on this album really makes for a dark, ocean deep atmosphere here. And don't think for an instant that this ocean has a bunch of colorful fish and coral reef formations. This ocean is deep and dark like there's a storm brewing in the sky above the surface, and the only sea animal you might possibly see is Moby Dick though you might not want to lest he see you first and swallow you whole. Ahab play their music here on a low minor key to really boost this tone. But, not all of it is heavy guitar with a lead either. All the songs on this album start out with some atmospheric opener. "Below the Sun" in particular does a fine job of executing the atmospheric opener with an eerie, slow keyboard passage especially since it's the album's opener. Once the metal instruments kick in, it's the guitars that take the lead and evoke the album's melody. The keyboards are still there, but they're more of a background accessory. Like most funeral doom acts, Ahab layer their guitar work on this album having one taking the rhythm role and laying down all the heavy sounding riffs, and the other take the lead with some melodic sounding playing. That lead style isn't maintained throughout the entire album though, and there are lots of instances of the lead guitar sinking down and playing along side the rhythm.

'The Call of the Wretched Sea' has a nice, even flow to it. This isn't only from song to song either, but also how smoothly the songs transition in their variations. The last thing a funeral doom fan wants are songs that barely change at all. Though this album does make a few close calls, like the first section of "Below the Sun" (after the eeire intro) going on until the 4:21 mark, it makes up for it by having subsequent parts that are really interesting like a slightly faster section with a slow, yet very memorable lead. I guess the only thing I could complain about is that this concept album doesn't conclude the 'Moby Dick' tale; it just stops right in the middle of the book with "Ahab's Oath". Hopefully, Ahab can create a fitting conclusion to this tale with another album. To date, though, they haven't returned to the tale or even the dark tone of this album. The two subsequent albums by this band are all lighter sounding, which I hope they don't have if they do return to conclude this tale.

Is it the most likable funeral doom metal release out there? Not really to me. Is it very likable in its own right? Yes. 'The Call of the Wretched Sea' is worth every ounce of praise it's received and, after giving it some thought, I believe it does meet the minimal criteria to be placed in my top tier review rank. This is a very excellent album for funeral doom metal veterans and newcomers alike.

Members reviews

gatekeeper
German Funeral Doom trio Ahab reveals a plodding sound that gives an impression of the vast depths of the Ocean during this full-length debut. Inspired by Herman Melville's oft-influencing novel Moby Dick, Ahab explores the depths of the blackest of waters, in turn coming up with one of the most impressive interpretations of this tale of the murky depths to date.

You'll recognize both Daniel Droste,(the group's vocalist, guitarist and keyboardist) and guitarist Chris R. Hector as being known for their contributions to both Midnattsol and Penetralia. These two talented players join with bassist Stephan Adolph (who also contributes guitars and vocals), in order to form this behemoth of plodding doom. As the near twelve-minute "Below The Sun" sets the stage for the album with thick, weighty resonations and mournfully melodic guitar work, Ahab articulates sounds of despair that are in a word, massive.

While Ahab is not as slow as many of the Funeral Doom acts hailing from Europe at this time, the fact makes their sub-sonic buzzing and pounding that much more digestible. While "The Pacific" emotes the very essence of what the voices from below the turbulent waves must sound like, Ahab are at once mighty and foreboding.

Meanwhile the mournful, liquid harmony present during "Old Thunder" is surely sufficient to gain the respect of any lover of melancholy, saddening sounds. On "The Sermon," the group opts for more saturation than during other instances and the playing of Droste is highlighted well on the album’s closer "Ahab's Oath."

It must be said that the production here is commendable; especially the tone of the drums, there’s a lot of emphasis on a good kick drum sound, which is a crucial factor in doom, being that individual sounds, while expansive, are much easier to dissert from one another.

Ahab breaks the mold of the general theme of Doom Metal on The Call Of The Wretched Sea, and putting such a well-known story line behind this type of music certainly conjures up a lot of great mental images while listening to the record. Standard-setting in terms of creativity and delivery, this is the album that can bring Funeral Doom Metal before a much wider audience.

Ratings only

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