Ahab The Boats of the Glen Carrig 01Ahab has been the proud flag-bearer for funeral doom during the last ten years, with three full-length releases fleshing out a decade which has seen them achieve great popularity for such a niche genre. The AMG ranks are infested with attention-impaired sodomites who don’t understand the genre, but Steel Druhm deservedly credited their third album, The Giant, with a strong 3.5. The German whale-meisters maintain their trend towards nautical literature, this time drawing on William Hope Hodgson’s The Boats of the “Glen Carrig,” a survival-horror turned adventure tale. The creeping tension and monstrous beings provide fitting inspiration for the oppressive doom presented here, and Glen Carrig continues the musical developments made on The Giant.

As was the case with its predecessor, Glen Carrig is funeral doom but less dirgy and at a marginally less glacial pace. Indeed, “Like Red Foam (The Great Storm)” is the fastest song Ahab has written. They expand on the post-rock and progressive influences integrated into The Giant, with ambient passages and greater diversity from their core doom style. This dynamism is demonstrated as the album’s moves through phases of heaviness and subtlety uncharacteristic of an often-overpowering genre. There’s a greater mixture of instrumental and vocal textures in the Glen Carrig repertoire than ever previously, and it’s certainly an interesting listen which avoids the typical funeral doom caveat of musical homogeneity. All this is evident on the four long songs, omitting the comparatively short “ Like Red Foam.” A variety of guitar tones are used, as is the case with Christian Hector’s vocals. His growls are typically excellent but he exercises his cleaner tonsils here, accompanying the atmospheric quiet moments with somber and emotional chants.

Ahab The Boats of the Glen Carrig 02bUpholding the vocals are the riffs. Considering the relative pace of this album among its peers, the guitar work largely impresses in and of itself rather than just contributing to a wider atmosphere. They make a strong impact such as that at 3:37 of “The Thing that Made Search” and the opening lead on “Like Red Foam.” However, these riffs are strung quite thin when most tracks exceed ten minutes. There is a lack of melodic and technical development on the guitars as the songs progress, grinding promising work into banality. This isn’t a slight against the guitarists’ abilities, rather the song-writing. I enjoy a long song wherein a core lead is retained but evolves: this feels more progressive and cohesive than artificially extending a song by stitching together multiple riffs. However, only the highlight, “The Isle,” consistently demonstrates such development. “Like Red Foam” also updates an earlier riff at the 4:20 mark with an additional melody which heightens the mood.

If I’m harsh on this aspect of the song-writing it’s because Ahab has improved in another: these guys are increasingly utilizing more complex and compelling compositions. Each track has sections in which the harmonies pull together brvtality with melody, offering pleasing milestones as the listener advances through the length. The layering of guitar tracks providing rhythm, leads and shredding is great at the aforementioned moment in “Like Red Foam” and in the last four minutes of “The Weedmen,” to name two examples.

Ahab The Boats of the Glen Carrig 03

Referencing this layering of guitars, Ahab favors a large production job. Despite the huge sound intrinsic to the genre, the audio quality is quite clear, bypassing dirty or fuzzy productions preferred by others. The quiet moments almost glisten. I don’t mean this as a negative however, as the instrumentation is clear and strong in the heavy moments and delicate in the subtle ones. It may not be cvlt with such studio work but it’s powerful. My only complaint on this front is that guitar solos could be mixed better. I get that the clean shredding tone isn’t typically a part of funeral doom, but they’re almost superfluous since they’re so far back in the mix.

Overall, Glen Carrig is a strong marker of progression in Ahab‘s career. It continues from The Giant but has improved in the harmonies constructed and production utilized. The issue I take with the riffs does let it down, but this is a solid choice for doom aficionados. Journey into the unknown with these seafarers.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320kbps MP3
Label: Napalm Records
Websites: ahab-doom.de | facebook.com/ahab
Releases Worldwide: August 28th, 2015

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  • brutal_sushi

    I love this band. I need to go back to The Giant, I tend to just listen to The Call of the Wretched Sea whenever I have the Ahab itch.

    • Hideous destructor

      Yup, call of the wretched sea is immense. Everything that followed is slightly less immense. Giant squid retain the nautical metal crown.

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        Giant Squid rule!

  • I was reading this on my phone, and had to zoom the first band pic to make sure I wasn’t being mooned by a guy. Then I saw it actually was baldy’s head. I was very confused and I guess not totally awake.

    • Ahab: now featuring extra squid and moon landings!

      • Monsterth Goatom

        Usually, moonrises can be quite beautiful.

        • basenjibrian

          Is it wrong of me to almost find the squid tentacle…erotic?
          LOL. J/K

          • Monsterth Goatom

            It does seem to have a lascivious, serpentine look to it.

            What struck me were the two band photos, which seem to tell a before and after story. Squid appears in the first photo, while, in the second, band member is picking the remains of the Squid dinner from his teeth (no Squid in sight).

    • Monsterth Goatom

      Hell of a wake up call if that was true. I would say follicly challenged, not bald.

      • It was one of those “What the hell I’m seeing here” moments. Now that I know it’s a follicly challenged head it’s hard to imagine anything else. Maybe if I squint a little.

        • dblbass23

          I have no idea what the hell you guys are talking about.

          • basenjibrian

            Ignore them and focus on that luscious, luscious tentacle.

    • Didn’t even notice that first few times I saw the promo pic. Now I can’t unsee it.

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      You need a holiday dude!

      • [not a Dr] Gonzalo Salazar

        a holiday dude would make it all all right

  • funeraldoombuggy

    I agree with this statement 100% “I enjoy a long song wherein a core lead is retained but evolves: this
    feels more progressive and cohesive than artificially extending a song
    by stitching together multiple riffs.”

    • ZEbyiUWvbe

      On the other hand, the reverse can be excellent too. E.g. The Local Fuzz by The Atomic Bitchwax is nothing but multiple riffs stitched together without any vocals, and that for 42 minutes. It’s still great (according to me, that is).

      You just never know.

  • Pimpolho

    I agree with everything, but maybe me not being an attention-impaired sodomite makes me think this is a 3,5. Great review El-Cuervo, great indeed.

    • basenjibrian

      3.5 for me!

  • Alexandre Barata

    Meh I would never give this a 3.0. A 4.0 is more in the reason ;) They are immense and their live shows just prove that. Best Funeral-Doom-band-that-isn’t-really-that-Funeral-Doom-band-ever

  • chitownproud85

    So Ive never heard of this band before this article…but goddamn I like that embedded song. To Spotify, quickly now, quickly!

  • If the octopus put his suction cup thingys on that dudes ass, the album art would fucking slay.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    I don´t know what the cover means or representes but it is awesome! Teenager Me would have snatched that album off the shelf straight to the cash register just because of the cover.

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      Me too.
      Totally agree, could be album art of the year for me.
      It would be impressive in vile format!

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        It is very likely you should be able to find this on vinyl, since vinyl is making a strong comeback.
        I read on some website a long time ago about the writer having an “artwork wall” where he put up the albums whose covers he liked the most. The coolest thing was that he talked about it as it if was something everybody normally did.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    This sounds good to me.
    I really enjoyed The Giant and Like Red Foam has got me interested to check out the album.
    The promo clip is excellent too

  • Shangsean

    I quite like the embedded track, but the clean vocals are pretty weak. They turn me off a bit. I’ve been listening to The Antichrist Imperium a bit lately too and that has the same problem, but probably worse (otherwise, it’s great). If you can’t sing… don’t.

  • Luke_22

    Been looking forward to this one, I’ve liked the way they have kept evolving beyond the typical funeral doom boundaries. Good review.

  • Doomdeathrosh

    Definitely interested in the album. And that album art is definitely desktop background material!

  • Doomdeathrosh

    On a completely tangential note, you guys seemed to have missed out on the latest Wolfheart….

    • We got the promo late, but I’m working on it now.

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      I’m keen to hear that

  • Monsterth Goatom

    The style of the cover art was reminding me of some artist, and now I remember: R.S. Connett. A great artist worth googling.

  • euthanatos

    that embedded song is fucking amazing.

  • Jan

    I reeeally don’t get how some people who like or even love AHAB have developed this aversion to THE GIANT. I get that there’s differences. But it’s not like this is some kind of HERITAGE system shock situation. It’s still doomy and gloomy as fuck, despite the longer psychedelic clean parts.

    Anyway. I don’t think GLEN CARRIG will surpass the other three records in my listening experience. But it might as well take a place among them. Also, gotta love these Lovecraftian song titles. After all, cosmic horror à la Lovecraft and all things nautic mix almost super-naturally well!

  • I’m not sure you gave this record a high enough rating, man.