AHAB "The Coral Tombs"

By Dr. Abner Mality

After an 8 year layoff, AHAB rises again from the briny deep, this time to celebrate Jules Verne's undersea classic "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea".

AHAB has always been a unique band, practicing what they call "nautik doom". Their slow motion mix of crushing heaviness and melancholy melody really does seem oceanic. It is calm and languorous even in the heavy moments and reminds you of one of the ocean's leviathans gliding majestically through black and gloomy waters.

Alas, "The Coral Tombs" seems to me to be a little bit too relaxing this time around. There's a lot more emphasis on sorrowful clean vocals and low key post metal rambles than I like to hear with AHAB. To be sure, this has always been part of their sound, but this time there's a LOT of it and it tends to make the songs sound samey after while.

You'd never know that from the furious blast beats in the first minutes of "Prof. Arronax ' Descent Into the Vast Oceans" but that sound never reappears again on the album. Now, no doubt there is some really titanic doom here....great riffs pop up with some frequency, especially on "Mobilis In Mobili" and "Aegri Somnia"...but you really have to wait to get to them. The wait was sometimes too long for me.

"The Coral Tombs" is AHAB through and through, but I think "The Call of the Wretched Sea" will always be their best. They haven't topped it yet.