Ahab - The Boats of the Glen Carrig
Napalm Records
Funeral Doom
5 songs (66' 59")
Release year: 2015
Official Myspace, Napalm Records
Reviewed by Andy

Ahab's quickly grown into one of the most accessible funeral doom bands I've heard. Like their past albums, The Boats of the Glen Carrig is a tale of the sea, this one a fictional shipwreck/survival story that quickly turns to horror. Just like The Giant, their recent bent towards clean singing and gentle melodies combine with massive riffs to create an exquisitely grim, lonely atmosphere.

The Isle starts lonely and quiet, giving the impression of the Glen Carrig narrator sitting in his boat, gazing out over a still, endless sea. Daniel Droste does a great job with his deep, slightly rough voice singing this ocean dirge, and when the guitar riffs and growling come in they simply crush. His death metal vocals are a perfect match for the riffing, which are as big and slow as whales getting dragged up a beach. They are so immersive that it was easy for me to think the band had gone back to its clean sound for atmospheric effect by the end, but no -- it just ends abruptly and segues to The Thing That Made Search, which has a pensive quality, underscored by bassist Stephan Wandernoth's little melodies. Mirroring the story, the music gets heavier as sea monsters attack or storms lash the boats. Occasionally Droste switches to clean vocals during the heavy parts too, which gives the song some nuance and keeps it from merely alternating between two extremes.

The longest and most varied is The Weedmen. The quiet strum of the clean guitar is like the wash of the tide, and Droste's voice is utterly despairing as the song lumbers on, ending with a lugubriously beautiful guitar solo. I'm not sure why they made The Light in the Weed (Mary Madison) a bonus track, given that it ends the Glen Carrig story and seems to be on all the purchaseable albums (I didn't get it with my promo and ended up having to listen to it somewhere else), but it's quite a bit different than the rest of the songs, with only clean singing and an instrumental portion that lasts most of the song.

This isn't much of a change musical-direction-wise from The Giant, and I think most fans will probably welcome that. The riffs are choppier than their debut, The Call of the Wretched Sea, and I've already heard a few people complain that Ahab's moved their focus away from funeral doom, but I disagree. The Boats of the Glen Carrig, clean vocals aside, is still as sorrowful, lonely, heavy, and above all, slow, as plenty of other funeral doom masterpieces (with the exception maybe of Like Red Foam (The Great Storm)). These guys have once again turned out a high-quality album that has plenty of atmosphere, but which is still listenable by newcomers to funeral doom.

Killing Songs :
The Isle, The Weedmen
Andy quoted 88 / 100
Other albums by Ahab that we have reviewed:
Ahab - The Giant reviewed by Jaime and quoted 91 / 100
Ahab - The Divinity of Oceans reviewed by Charles and quoted 78 / 100
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