Album: The Call of the Wretched Sea
Genre(s): Heavy Metal
Subgenres(s): Funeral Doom
Length: 67 minutes
Label(s): Deviant Records, Napalm Records
01. Below the Sun
02. The Pacific
03. Old Thunder
04. Of the Monstrous Pictures of Whales
05. The Sermon
06. The Hunt
07. Ahab’s Oath
Ahab The Call of the Wretched Sea Review
The Call of the Wretched Sea is the debut album of German funeral doom metal band Ahab. By combining one of the most niche subgenres in heavy metal with their interpretation of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, Ahab create a gripping atmosphere which holds ones imagination as they take you on a voyage of murky obsession.
The atmosphere really is the key to The Call of the Wretched Sea and this even extends to the vocal performance of Daniel Droste, who performs death growls at a staggeringly slow pace that, at times, gives the impression that his voice is part of the soundscape rather than a focal point of the music as you would expect in most other forms of music. This is of course detrimental to the lyrical aspect that they are praised for because if you want any chance of comprehending them then you will need to have the lyrics in front of you when listening to The Call of the Wretched Sea.
Ahab have their sound expertly crafted, that much should be self-evident to any listener early into the album, but their song-writing still leaves something to be desired. This album is 67 minutes long and there isn’t nearly enough variety to justify so much material, especially when five of the songs are upwards of ten minutes long and mostly rely on the same simple approach to playing – the lack of melody or memorable riffs blurs everything into one overly long song. The only exceptions are Old Thunder, which delves into the somewhat more up-tempo territory of the death-doom hybrid genre and the second is the interlude Of the Monstrous Pictures of Whales which leads directly into The Sermon to create a two part song with the drastic change in sound being half the reason it stands out as much as it does.
There are some other sections sprinkled throughout the album in an attempt to diversify their sound and the first example of this is the highly memorable ambient introduction to Below the Sun that is followed by a thunderous shift to metal as ushered in by drummer Cornelius Althammer. The Sermon contains an extended break in the middle of the song that conjures a compelling stormy sea setting that departs entirely from metal. By using recordings of wind interwoven with minimalist clear guitar playing and a spoken word performance that sounds like it has come from an ancient recording Ahab effectively demonstrate what they are capable of doing outside of the realm of metal.
A better balance of these elements, as well as cutting down the overall length of The Call of the Wretched Sea, would have gone a long way but if you want a metal album that truly does bring atmosphere to the forefront then this is an ideal starting point.
Daniel Droste: Vocals, Electric guitar
Christian Hector: Guitar
Stephan Adolph: Bass guitar, guitar, vocals
Cornelius Althammer: Drums