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Ahab: The Boats of the Glen Carrig

Reading Moby-Dick was a formative experience for me during graduate school. I had to read it several times in a row and was later quizzed in detail about it during my oral exams. Since those days, I've taught the novel, read criticism about it, and have let its various themes and literary powers work on me. What endures the most for me is the strength of the language, the way it evokes things beyond itself. There's also that brooding figure of Ahab, the mad captain hell-bent on his hunt for the white whale. Ahab, the band, obviously takes its name from that character. The band has also regularly turned to images and themes and words from the novel in order to explore its own themes of madness, power, and so on. The first album by the band is considered by many to be a classic of its kind. Since those days, the band has released several other albums, all of which have something to do with the sea. This release is no exception. The title of the album is the same as the source—William Hope Hodgins The Boats of The Glen Carrig. I haven't read much by Hodgins, but I know the name because H. P. Lovecraft, one of my favorite authors, praised him for some of his work.

Like other albums by Ahab, this album has touches of funeral doom, doom metal, and melodic metal. The pace is often very slow and very patient. There are plenty of heavy, even crushing, moments, but this album has little interest in rushing things. Instead, the music ebbs and flows patiently but powerfully. It's hard to play things slowly and well, especially if one is prone to moving quickly through things. As I listened, I thought of those scenes in Jaws where the three men were on the boat at night hoping to catch the shark. The confrontation with the shark will come, but first there needs to be a period of work, of searching, of waiting, and even of singing. This album makes much of those kinds of moments, adding layer upon layer of musical ideas to every track. I'd recommend listening to this album multiple times, if only to appreciate more and more of what this band is trying to do. Some listeners will need a little extra patience on this one, especially if they like their metal to be restless. Daniel Droste's cleaner vocals may require some adjustment. His guttural growl is as effective as ever, but his melodic side takes getting used to. It's a fine voice, just one that is so melancholic, so yearning, that it took me by surprise at times. This is a strong, moody, and creative new release.

Track Listing:
1. The isle
2. The Thing That Made Search
3. Red Roam (The Great Storm)
4. The Weedmen
5. To Mourn Job

Added: October 20th 2015
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 1658
Language: english

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