Funeral Doom Friday: Take A Ride on AHAB's The Boats of the Glen Carrig
It’s the weekend! What better way to get it started than with the latest installment of “Funeral Doom Friday”. This weekly column looks to shed some light onto some of the darkest, most depressing, and discordant metal out there. Funeral Doom stems from the deepest depths of death-doom and dirge music. Each week, my goal is to highlight some of the newest music or rediscover classic works from some of the earliest bands and originators such as Australia’s Mournful Congregation, United States’s Evoken, UK’s Esoteric and the Finnish Thergothon. Feel free to share your opinions and suggestions in the comments!
Had I started writing for Metal Injection months sooner than I did, this album would have already been featured. Germany's Ahab are a nautical-themed Funeral Doom Metal band that have been formulating aquatic terror since 2004. Named after the captain of the Pequod in the Herman Melville classic, Moby Dick, the German quartet has always been in touch with the ocean. Taking a brief glance into their discography, all of their albums have dealt with the beauty and ferocity of the untamed waters. Their full-length debut, The Call of the Wretched Sea, depicts the epic battle between the great white whale and the Pequod on its album cover. Their sophomore effort, The Divinity of Oceans, features a beautiful painting from Théodore Géricault that is named "Le Radeau De La Méduse" (French for The Raft of the Medusa). The maritime motif is different twist on Funeral Doom. Aha breaks away from the normal funereal/death topic and delves into briny tales.
Their latest album, The Boats of the Glen Carrig, naturally follows suit. Released this past August, Ahab's fourth full-length album clocks in at sixty-seven minutes and it covers that time over six songs. Their lineup remains the same as it has since 2008. Cornelius Althammer (drums), Chris Hector (guitars), Daniel Droste (vocals/guitars/keyboards), and Stephan Wandernoth bring their best on this concept album based on William Hope Hodgson's novel of the same name. The Boats of the Glen Carrig opens on "The Isle", a ten-minute titan that starts the album on a beautiful clean rhythm and vocal section before erupting into a roaring wave of crippling requiem. This change between soft, calm moments and tempestuous sections happens throughout the album like the changing tides and stormy seas.
The album's biggest moments come through the middle twenty minutes with "Like Red Foam (The Great Storm)" and "The Weedmen". The former, a (relatively) short and relentless piece, while the latter is a fifteen minute tale of the men on the lifeboats from the sunken Glen Carrig encountering plants that have taken on human shape and emit harsh screams while they attempted to fill their water bottles in a spring. It is a song as harrowing as the original novel's passages itself. The Boats of the Glen Carrig in its final third includes "To Mourn Job" and "The Light in the Weed (Mary Madison)", both massive compositions much like the rest of the album. For those who own the vinyl copy of The Boats of the Glen Carrig, they are lucky enough to have a bonus track following the conclusion of Ahab's story. The quartet does a cover of an Alan Parsons Project song, entitled "The Turn of a Friendly Card". The version of the album included in this post features that cover.
A great concept album is always greatly appreciated. Any album that can tell a cool story or create a musical adaptation of a book or other media piques my interest. The Boats of the Glen Carrig certainly holds attention and creates some wildly vivid imagery. It also has spurned the desire to find a copy of Hodgson's original novel and read it, consider it first on the summer reading list. Ahab brings a unique twist to Funeral Doom Metal. It provides the listener with an opportunity to revel in brilliant storytelling for a change and not get so hung up in the throes of sorrow. Have a listen and enjoy your weekend!