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The Divinity of Oceans


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Album Review

Though they're lumped in with the doom subgenre, the German group Ahab are in fact much more interesting than that. Their music owes almost nothing to Black Sabbath or St. Vitus — with its mournful baritone vocals and glacially slow drumming, it's frequently closer in spirit to Swans circa Cop, Greed, and Holy Money, and particularly live albums like Public Castration Is a Good Idea. At the same time, the literary nature of Ahab's lyrics nudges them in the direction of prog rock, though fans of Yes, Rush, or even Opeth are unlikely to find anything here they like. Daniel Droste's slow motion howls, inspired on the band's last album by Moby Dick and on this one by Nathaniel Philbrick's In the Heart of the Sea and Owen Chase's The Wreck of the Whaleship Essex, are reminiscent of Michael Gira's, except when he falls back on doom metal's usual guttural growls, an increasingly bankrupt tactic. The music juxtaposes huge riffs with delicate keyboards, chimes, etc., creating a dynamic that's more interesting than the usual chest-beating and despair-wallowing. Furthermore, Ahab's willingness to punish the listener at length — four of this album's seven tracks pass the ten-minute mark with ease — add to the feeling of rolling endlessness inspired by the ocean. This album is artier than one might expect, and worth the attention of listeners outside the doom metal cult.


Formed: 2004 in Esslingen, Germany

Genre: Metal

Years Active: '00s

German funeral doom trio Ahab were founded in the town of Esslingen by Midnattsol and Penetralia musicians Daniel Droste (vocals, guitars, keyboards) and Christian Hector (guitar), alongside Endzeit member Stephan Adolph (bass, background vocals). Taking inspiration from Herman Melville's classic tale of a great white whale and the infatuated ship's captain who pursued it, Ahab first tested their creation in the shallow waters of a 2004 single entitled "The Stream" and...
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The Divinity of Oceans, Ahab
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