Ahab | ‘The Giant’
Their namesake inspired by the Moby-Dick character, Germany’s Ahab are still a fairly young project, having only been formed in 2004.
I only started listening to the band mere days before being asked to review this album as I knew that previous title ‘The Divinity of Oceans’ was well-received by many.
Presented here is another slice of their personalised brand of nautical Doom/Death Metal. It’s best to avoid throwing around the term “epic” around as the word has lost all meaning thanks to internet morons substituting it with anything that even vaguely means “good,” but in a genuine sense, that’s the approach Ahab aim for and succeed in.
Each track is a story of despair, and the atmosphere emanating from them is more than appropriate to get that across to the listener.
If pressed to describe their sound, it’d be tempting to go for a mix of early Katatonia, latter-day Esoteric and even some of Devin Townsend’s solo work. The melodies here certainly remind of Townsend’s ‘Terria’, in particular the ending guitar lines of ‘Aeons Elapse’, and the more Death-orientated sections can be as much a mixture of chaos and melody than any moment off of ‘Subconscious Dissolution of The Continuum’, and yet there is so much more to them than just that declaration alone.
The vocals are fantastic and wonderfully assorted. From Droste’s somber clean tones, pained screams and hate-fueled growls, they are nothing if not befitting for music that makes good use of clean guitar passages, beautiful lead work and downright nasty Doom riffs.
There’s not an ounce of complacency to be found here.
No “that’s good enough, whatever, just release it” attitude – Ahab know exactly what they want to do. Sometimes filler can be very obvious no matter what angle you’re coming from, and filler is something that has absolutely no place here. Everything belongs where it is and if there was any froth during the writing process, you can almost be sure that it was removed efficiently.
In regards to sound quality and production, everything is pretty much spot on. I didn’t outright notice anything spectacular about it, but also nothing that I can pick fault with, which is all you can ask for really. Each instrument has their required space to be heard without conflict and contribute evenly to the overall massive sound.
To pick apart these tracks individually for the sake of review would only be a disservice. It would only insinuate that the album is a collection of great tracks and not a great whole body of work, which is exactly what it is.
‘The Giant’ deserves all the praise it will undoubtedly receive. I’ve recently made plans to do away with almost all of my CD collection and replace only what I deem to be ‘essential’ albums with their vinyl counterparts where possible and only attempt to buy any vinyl from now and onwards. This has made that grade easily and without question. You also get two bonus tracks if you order the vinyl!
It can be great coming across albums like this. The kind you actively want to listen to from start to finish and maybe even go another round or two straight afterwards.
Listening to crap albums and deservedly tearing them apart can be good fun as a reviewer, but it’s nice to be given something you can only really be positive about.
Easily my contender for Best Metal Album of 2012.
4.7 / 5 – Ricardo Angelone ::: 06/06/12