The Call of the Wretched Sea

Band's List Funeral Doom Ahab The Call of the Wretched Sea
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Band Name Ahab
Album Name The Call of the Wretched Sea
Type Album
Released date 29 September 2006
Music StyleFuneral Doom
Members owning this album120

Tracklist

1.
 Below the Sun
 11:45
2.
 The Pacific
 10:07
3.
 Of the Monstrous Pictures of Whales
 09:54
4.
 The Sermon
 01:46
5.
 Old Thunder
 12:35
6.
 The Hunt
 11:13
7.
 Ahab's Oath
 10:11

Total playing time: 01:07:31


Review @ Satanicarchangel

14 March 2013

We will all drown

The Call of the Wretched Sea seems to be the entry point for a lot of funeral doom fans (Evoken for me); I guess this is understandable having a much cleaner production and being easier on the ears than the likes of Worship whilst still portraying the main atmosphere and doing a very good job of it. The Moby Dick theme might also be deemed attractive to those not wishing to indulge in the more suicidal of the genre. Although assuming it is any less depressive just because of that is foolish as The Call of the Wretched Sea is one of the most bleak experiences I’ve had in a while. To call this music downbeat is a massive understatement, to think it won’t be brutal due to the Moby Dick themes is foolish. Look at the leviathan on the cover, the music contained within The Call of the Wretched Sea is just as heavy, musically as well as emotionally.

Ahab refer to themselves as Nautik Funeral Doom and usually when a band creates a new genre for themselves it’s usually their own way of describing why they think their band is awesome *cough* Liturgy. But surprisingly the label fits no matter how ridiculous that sounds, the music here perfectly captures the image of the sea. Although don’t be fooled, this isn’t the same sea as that found in Spongebob Squarepants where it’s full of vibrant colors, this sea is dark, empty and vast where turbulent waters hide leviathans lurking in the deep.
So how does Ahab stand out from the sea of other Funeral Doom bands? In all fairness they don’t, well not really. The music here sticks close to the Funeral Doom template, there’s nothing particularly ground breaking here but what is here is of a very high standard. Despite being fairly typical Funeral Doom the music is of such a high standard that I can easily look over the fact, well that and the Moby Dick themes.

Endless waves of guitars and drawn out bass riffs give an eerie depth to the tracks. Mix this with some brutal gutturals and distant clean vocals and you’ve got an album that will carry you deep into the abyss. The sparse use of synths creates a haunting ambience throughout the album and the rare clean guitar interludes further elevates the atmosphere. The drum performance is nothing to write home about, neither adding nor detracting from the replay value.
The instrumental aspect may not seem that exciting on first glance but it serves as a catalyst to some of the most crushingly oppressive atmospheres I’ve heard in this genre since Last Tape Before Doomsday. Nautik Funeral Doom is a genre tag that is apt fitting. The atmosphere is brutal, it’s oppressive and above all it’s hopeless. From start to finish not one part of this album has a glimmer of light in it, nothing can penetrate the thick atmospheric veil of loneliness.

The production is crisp and clear creating a vast oceanic feel to the album. I’m really glad the production is this good because if it was on the same level of most Depressive Black Metal bands then this album wouldn’t convey the atmosphere anywhere as good as it does now. To dismiss clear production as making an album sound too synthetic is ridiculous and The Call of the Wretches Sea proves that good production can sometimes be beneficial rather than harmful.

I would recommend this to any aspiring Funeral Doom listener due to it being leagues ahead of most bands in terms of accessibility. Despite this, it is still heavy as hell, the listener will feel drained of energy after it has finished and crushed under several hundred feet of dark water. The Call of the Wretched Sea pushes the atmosphere to the extreme so that the listener can’t help but feel how the album dictates. Go out and acquire The Call of the Wretched Sea and plunge yourself headfirst into the empty black waters.

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Comment @ dranoel

08 December 2010
Two facts concerning AHAB attracted my attention: on the one hand the musical description I heard of before and secondly the reason that two members of Midnattsol also take part in AHAB. Anyone who knows Midnattsol’s music will be very surprised by the sound offered here. No Folk melodies, no canny sentiments, no swinging songs – just depression, darkness, sluggish tempo and hopelessness. Or in short: Funeral Doom Metal!
The band has chosen Hermann Melville’s classic Moby Dick as lyrical inspiration and also the sound creates a dusky and harsh atmosphere the book also inheres. AHAB was the tyrannical captain who hunted Moby Dick and The Call of the Wretched Sea could be a soundtrack for this merciless person’s life. AHAB manage to create a menacing atmosphere without the help of opportunity, just with slow guitar chords and a haunting voice showing some pictures before the inner eye: the vast sea, the cruel captain’s face or the endless hunt. This album takes a lot of time before you get accustomed with it. At first you won’t be very fascinated by The Call of the Wretched Sea, maybe the call will be unheard as well, but after five times of listening, certain suspense will arise. The album has no great refrains, no single hits or easy to consume song structures. All tracks are very long (around 10 minutes playing time except a short interlude) and they live of dark moods – be aware of being not depressed while listening, because this music will bring you even further down. I like these parts best when AHAB use clean guitar melodies just like in Old Thunder which enthuses with dragging riffs and a really impressing voice, so that the over 9 minutes don’t get boring at all. This song is the one with the best alternation, which I miss in some other compositions. As mentioned above, I am sure that AHAB don’t have the aim to compose easy going music, it is music you have to listen to carefully to get swept away by the slow rolling power. The Call of the Wretched Sea needs the right surroundings, which means day’s fall or some rainy autumn nights. So give it a try for a few times, if you like Funeral Doom Metal!

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