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Ahab - "The Divinity of Oceans" (CD)

Ahab - "The Divinity of Oceans" CD cover image

"The Divinity of Oceans" track listing:

1. Yet Another Raft of the Medusa (Pollard's Weakness) (12:40)
2. The Divinity of Oceans (11:03)
3. O Father Sea (7:07)
4. Redemption Lost (10:25)
5. Tombstone Carousal (7:27)
6. Gnawing Bones (Coffin's Lot) (10:48)
7. Nickerson's Theme (8:06)

Reviewed by on December 5, 2009

"Its trudging, melancholic funeral doom atmosphere is perfect for the telling of such a somber and chilling tale."

In 1820, the whaleship Essex was attacked by a sperm whale. Subsequently, the crew resorted to cannibalism to survive. Herman Melville used this incident as inspiration for his classic novel “Moby-Dick.” Ahab’s “The Divinity of Oceans” is a concept album revolving around this event. Its trudging, melancholic funeral doom atmosphere is perfect for the telling of such a somber and chilling tale. It’s an album that is both dark and beautiful at the same time. It may not be for everyone, as the music gets a little dragging, but funeral doom fans will appreciate this album.

The album starts out with a beautiful, moving riff that foreshadows the rest of the album’s mood. Most songs contain melodic riffs and licks that contrast really well against the slow, down tuned dirges. They don’t take away from the atmosphere in the least bit and add a ton to the music to keep it interesting. “Redemption Lost” features stunning guitar work from beginning to end. The title track even features a solo.

The vocals are deep and brooding like any good funeral doom album, but the band has chosen to add clean vocals to the mix. They fit very well among the dark mix. The drums are fairly basic and cymbal heavy; the fills are rare, but they are definitely present. There is also well mixed synth present for atmosphere. The band keeps the tempo pretty slow, but the times they do speed up, it almost reaches a death metal level, such as in “O Father Sea.”

“The Divinity of Oceans” is a very long album. This may be a turn off for some; longtime fans of the genre will appreciate the length of the songs. The shortest song is just over seven minutes, with each song almost like its own little epic. Some of the longest songs seem to drag a little bit, which is saying a lot concerning the funeral doom genre. For example, “Gnawing Bones (Coffin’s Lot),” another song approaching death metal in sound, is over ten minutes long and tends to get a little boring.

Ahab has produced an excellent concept album that relates a very grief-stricken tale, which is perfect for the doom metal environment. Because of how long all of the songs are, this may not be an album that can always be a full listen through every time one plays it, but the riffs and clean vocals make this album stand out from typical funeral doom music.

Highs: Atmospheric music that combines down tuned dirges with beautiful melodic guitar work, juxtaposition of elements works well.

Lows: Some songs are just a little too long.

Bottom line: Mixes some beautiful riffage with a doom sound, a combination that works brilliantly.

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)