José’s Roadburn Band Of The Week: Ahab

By on 8 November 2016


As much as Roadburn has grown and spread its grubby tentacles all over several genres and scenes that might have been outside its radar in those smaller first editions all those years ago, there is no denying that the festival as a whole still feels a particular love and affinity for all things slow and heavy, and it doesn’t get slower or heavier than the very particular subgenre that is funeral doom. The affair between Roadburn and funeral doom has been a long and fruitful one, most of the big names of the genre have at one point dragged their unfathomable, hyper slow agony through the event’s stages and had the reception of their lives on most cases – who can forget the enthusiastic scream of “play slowerrrr!!!” by a fan at the Het Patronaat when one of these bands dragged out the final ringing feedback of a twenty minute song? If Roadburn was a sticker collection, there would only be a few stickers left to fill the funeral doom page, and the veritable music oceanographers that call themselves Ahab are one of the most prestigious stickers for whom there still was a blank space awaiting.

Although the theme has been revisited occasionally throughout the history of metal and heavy music in general, you kind of have to wonder why no one really seriously based a band on it before – Ahab are of course named after the obstinate Captain Ahab, the main character in Herman Melville’s ‘Moby-Dick’ novel, and that has set the tone for the band’s themes throughout their entire career – in fact, a sticker on their very first album proudly proclaimed the band to play “Nautik Funeral Doom”, and in all honesty, that has always been the best way to describe what they do. Masters at recreating the colossal desolation and impending danger of the deep ocean and all of the real and fictional creatures that lie within, Ahab have always been a breath of fresh air within this inherently limited genre right from that classic debut, having tweaked their style and managed to maintain their relevance and interest right down to their latest effort ‘The Boats Of The Glen Carrig’.

We’ve mentioned the debut a couple of times, and not unintentionally so. ‘The Call Of The Wretched Sea’, still a natural fan favourite despite the constant quality of the band’s growing discography, is now celebrating its tenth anniversary, and what better way to premiere Ahab at Roadburn than to just go all the way and play the whole damn thing before a sea (intended, yes) of adoring fans? That’s exactly what will happen on Saturday, April 20th – Daniel Droste, Chris Hector, Stephan Wandernoth and Cornelius Althammer, the four members of Ahab, will take to the 013 stage and perform the colossal whole of ‘The Call Of The Wretched Sea’, from ‘Below The Sun’ to ‘Ahab’s Oath’, all 67 minutes of it. Epic isn’t the half of it, we expect lifeboats to be available at the 013 and several whale sightings during that magical hour. Don’t you dare miss it.

WORDS: José Carlos Santos

Ahab will play on Saturday, April 22 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands. Roadburn Festival 2017 will run for four days from Thursday, April 20th to Sunday, April 23rd at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands. You can still get your tickets here.

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