Ahab
The Coral Tombs


3.5
great

Review

by Miloslaw Archibald Rugallini STAFF
January 19th, 2023 | 63 replies


Release Date: 01/13/2023 | Tracklist

Review Summary: There's hogsheads of sperm ahead, and that's what ye came for.

Ahab (the band) can, should, and do feel proud of their achievements to date. The Coral Tombs' official press release even refers to their previous record, The Boats of the Glenn Carrig, as “chart-impacting”, and I'll give a juicy whalesteak to any good Christian who thinks they can dispute this verity. It might seem funny to you, omni-cognisant peruser of all things musical, but this is a big deal for a[n ex-]funeral doom metal band.

We'll move on from this fish-in-a-barrel routine of japing about/at a formerly solemn metal band's marketing strategies momentarily, but there's one more detail disclosed in the press release that proudly spoils the opening moments of The Coral Tombs, and it bears mentioning. Take your expectations and cast them into the Mariana Trench, throw yourself in afterwards, and grip that brass Mark V with all of your God-given might, because this one's a doozy: it starts with a blast beat! Pull, will ye? pull, can’t ye? pull, won’t ye?

Simple and satisfying though it may be to heap chum on the self-appointed pioneers of Nautik Doom (patent perennially pending) for indulging in such shopworn late-career metal memery, The Coral Tombs is a good/great album. Purchase it immediately, hold it aloft, and rejoice, for this bathysphere is big enough for the both of us, and plus-ones are allowed (if—as always in the realm of metal—discouraged, should you want to maintain any existing fellowships you have formed).

Do keep in mind though; we are dealing with a band who have put self-serious funereal tendencies in the backseat. Ahab are not wearing cloaks and masks and hiding alleged epistemological epiphanies behind a screen of lo-fi production and disarming composition choices. They are adapting Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea to the musical realm and are doing so with gaiety and jollity, even when portraying tussles with leviathanic beasties — this is Fun Doom, just not in the Sabbathian tradition (as, uh, far as that statement goes).

That said, mellow excursions frequently ballast the augured cataclysms, and these subsist in a simple subtlety defined by stark guitar lines with light coatings of effects. Turbulent opening aside, you'll have to float through a fair bit of beauteous grandiosity before the defining Riffs of The Coral Tombs (found in 'Colossus of the Liquid Graves' and 'Mobilis in Mobili') allow you to cast your Ornithopter into the tempest and trust that Fate's got your back. For me, these hard-earned moments of surrender to the swirling swells will always be the appeal of the genre, and these two instances in particular do a more-than-fine job of establishing the universal problem of all things as the principal adversary. The latter track even cleverly uses plodding guitar work to accentuate some unearthly vocal harmonies before reprising its ship-sinker of a Riff to really get the ambergris flowing, and the resultant harvest is bountiful and beautiful and I wish I could live in its ever-expanding ripples.

Outside of these clear highlights there is almost an entire album. That album is amicable, and I like it. Atmosphere of a decent strain is evoked, and Ahab give us an adept medley of their bag of tricks. Each track is thoughtfully composed, and 'The Mælstrom' in particular closes the album out with career-spanning aplomb. Elsewhere, the enveloping fog sometimes threatens to disperse, compromising the integral and egregious grandiosity that is so essential to the genre. If your attention is snatched away from a patient build, the resultant Riffage does not retain the inherent potency to snatch it back. Then, as you tune into the vocals for a second or two, you might just hear snippets like “funeral procession” or “hadopelagic, entirely unknown”, and think precisely nothing of it.

I hate to cast my own expectations over any artist in particular, but I can't help but feel that Ahab's trajectory at present is one that pushes them away from ambition. They are not overshadowed by their early work so much as they have chosen to sail to safer shores (as they insist on remaining literally littoral)—shores that allow for chart-impacts and live shows with live people. This is cool, and I endorse it, but it does not make for albums that distinguish themselves quite so thoroughly from their peers. Fortunately, Ahab's contemporaries track as mere whaleboats to their Pequod, and the chops of the fated ship's instrumentalists prove that wicked though they be, their product is spotless as a lamb. I guess it's like the good book says: “better sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunken Christian.”



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user ratings (87)
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
MiloRuggles
Staff Reviewer
January 19th 2023


2347 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Sincerest condolences for the tardiness, but we are berthing baybee!

DDDeftoneDDD
January 19th 2023


21185 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Its my fisrt Ahab and loved it. Feel it could be better ballanced towards the end. The sea gets tamer when there should be more storm, like in the opener. This said, beautiful record. The first half has some really rocking riffs in their doom outfit.

MiloRuggles
Staff Reviewer
January 19th 2023


2347 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yo, deeeeefinitely check their first if you're into funeral doom, it's a ripper

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
January 19th 2023


28867 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

Aye Aye captain!! We here, and we going down the sperm corals! Time to (re)jam!

DDDeftoneDDD
January 19th 2023


21185 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I mean I'm into The Longing and Phyrrric Existence iykwIm

MiloRuggles
Staff Reviewer
January 19th 2023


2347 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Oh shit, and a big thankee to Dewinged for providing his experienced advice to tighten this piece up! Sperm ahoy!



That'll do DDD, get on in

Dewinged
Staff Reviewer
January 19th 2023


28867 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

I honestly tried to sabotage it cause I can't allow so much brilliance to surface, but I failed.

Sunnyvale
Staff Reviewer
January 19th 2023


4558 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Avast lad, great review!

Cimnele
January 19th 2023


2344 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

cheering for hogsheads of sperm

MiloRuggles
Staff Reviewer
January 19th 2023


2347 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ahoyhoy sunny, much obliged!

Aren't we all, Cim? Aren't we all?

Willie
Moderator
January 19th 2023


19319 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3 | Sound Off

Easily my favorite of the Ahab albums I've heard. Love the creativity of this review.

Effigy
January 19th 2023


269 Comments


Most doom, especially funeral doom, bores me to death. But I will give it a chance

InfernalDeity
January 19th 2023


385 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

sigh

chemicalmarriage
January 19th 2023


3932 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Rym is jizzing over this

PortalofPerfection
January 19th 2023


2766 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Pretty solid. Nice cross section of the experimenting they did with their last two albums with a decent reinjection of the more "traditional" FD from their earlier stuff.



Not as good as their first two but better than their last two.

zveroboj
January 19th 2023


4 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Glen Carrig 2 but still good

MiloRuggles
Staff Reviewer
January 19th 2023


2347 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

ty Willie!



>Glen Carrig 2 but still good

Damn, this is the long and short of it for real and I wasted a lot of time and effort on this review

SteakByrnes
January 19th 2023


27541 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is rad I am scouring the depths of the ocean floor with a sledgehammer that disobeys the pull of water swinging it at unsuspecting foes

Azog
January 19th 2023


948 Comments


Listening to this album is like having a front loaded conversation with a smoking hot babe. She's running out of steam, but I'm not complaining. ;-)

I enjoyed reading your review. Keep 'em coming!

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
January 19th 2023


17517 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

This album has such a great range. It’s weirdly decadent. Kind a lot like sir Milo’s writing.



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