The nautical lords of doom have returned with another aquatic album filled with masterful music. Taking the time to let songs find their own stream is a specialty of these Germans, which could be heard on their 2012 epos The Giant. Three years later they return with The Boats Of The Glen Carrig.
The literary reference is clear here, pointing to the horror novel with the same name by William Hope Hodgson, which was later even praised by H.P. Lovecraft (which is never a bad thing if you write horror). Obviously, the literary work is related to adventures on the sea as well. The band has a tendency to dive into the books for their records, but they don’t call this a concept album. Previous works referenced for example Edgar Allen Poe and obviously the work of Herman Melville.
The songs start on the coast, the music slowly trickling in like the water when you step onto the edge of where the breaking waves flood out to. Mellow guitars are playing, wavering in the air for a bit. Lingering like a warm summer sun, because AHAB knows how to lure you into the madness. The deep vocals of Daniel Droste are like a siren song, giving of a charismatic pull towards the depths. It’s only when you are in too deep, that the sudden waves start clashing and roaring, but always in that steady pace. This is how most songs work, they feel so natural, so much like the ocean. Beautiful, haunting and treacherous all at the same time.
The moments when you get in too deep are the most wonderful, because the music just suddenly turns around and washes over you with a torrent of droning guitars and reverb, accompanied by fantastic vocals. There’s the deep grunts, like rising from the depths, but also clean vocals of an almost operatic quality. This helps to tell the horror story of a lone survivor, which has the threatening guitar play, the grandeur but always a looming presence to it. The music can feel for a moment light and frivolous, but then dive into minor despair again.
What is most peculiar is how controlled the sound is, particularly during Red Foam (The Great Storm), which you would expect to be a bombastic sonic bombardment, but instead there’s a gruff series of sludgy riffs. The video accompanying this song is strange to say the least by the way. The ease with which AHAB combines the beautiful, languid sounds with grim funeral doom is striking and part of the reason, why this is such a haunting record.
Scribed by: Guido Segers