After the release of The Boats of the Glen Carrig, Ahab interrupted the three-year cycle that had characterised the release of their full lengths up to that point; it took eight years before we heard a new long-distance work from the inventors of the so-called ‘nauthik funeral doom’. Even if it is an overused saying, it is necessary to reiterate that this long wait has been repaid by The Coral Tombs, a work of extraordinary quality that confirms the uniqueness and talent of the German band. On the other hand, if the collocation in the funeral sphere was more than justified, at least with regard to the first productions, today this label is likely to be tight on Ahab, perhaps never before able to support with masterful fluidity all the drives that animate their compositional visions. Wanting to remain in his imaginary world, the band founded almost twenty years ago by Daniel Droste and Chris Hector appears in 2023 as a tentacular sea creature with a doom body and a progressive head, and in this sense, I do not think I am being reckless in describing their current sound as a deviation in the doom direction of what Opeth did magnificently in the last millennium. The contrast between the reasoned extreme parts, the executive cleanliness of the more rarefied passages, the uncommon ability to make tangible what is evoked by the narrators from whose books they have been inspired from time to time (this time it is Jules Verne’s 20000 Leagues Under The Sea) and the balance achieved in every possible compartment of their music makes The Coral Tombs the first real musical event of 2023 in the doom sphere (and not only). What was already easily deduced from the album’s two anticipatory singles, Prof. Arronax’ descent into the vast oceans and Colossus of the liquid graves, positioned at the beginning of the tracklist, is confirmed along every second of the work’s almost seventy-minute duration. I do not like to abuse the term masterpiece, but on this occasion I can think of nothing different to define what Ahab have just given us.
2023 – Napalm Records