Album Premiere: Ahab – ‘Live Prey’

Ahab Live Prey

Almost 14 years have passed since Ahab coined the genre tag “Nautik Funeral Doom” to describe their balance of oceanic murk and melancholy. Considering the band is named after Moby Dick‘s iconic Captain, it’s not a surprise they conjured a concept album based on the Herman Melville classic. The magic that emerged from the depths of their musicianship landed that concept album (The Call of the Wretched Sea) in Decibel‘s list of the top 100 Doom Metal records of all-time. As dB‘s Matt Solis wrote in that special issue, “the entire album sounds like you’re bring dragged to the bottom of the ocean by a gargantuan monster from beyond the stars.” From the sorrow-soaked lead guitars of “Below the Sun” to the agile crunch of “Old Thunder,” it’s an album that travails funeral doom’s familiar territory and uncovers brutal new hunting waters. The album’s gentlest waves shroud the danger lurking beneath the surface. Now Ahab are releasing Live Prey, a live performance of their debut courtesy of Napalm Records on June 26th.

Recorded without the band’s knowledge while performing at Jena’s Death Row Fest 2017 in Germany, the performances unveil the songs in their final evolved form. Each song eclipses ten minutes as time surrenders to the band’s patient grooves and forlorn melodies. Live Prey elevates the impact of each song with ominous atmosphere. The shimmering intro of “Ahab’s Oath” drowns in a maelstrom of distortion. Now repurposed as the album’s finale, “The Hunt” begins with a chilling monologue from John Huston’s Moby Dick adaptation before lulling the listener into a hypnotic state. When the song eventually erupts it’s like a hole smashed through a ship’s hull. The album carries the weight of a thousand sea burials, and rewards die-hards and newcomers alike.

Stream Ahab’s Live Prey below and experience these amazing songs anew. Scroll further and read thoughts from Ahab drummer Cornelius Althammer about the recording and their debut’s lasting impact. But first, press play and succumb to the damp, drizzly November in your soul.

Decibel Magazine interview with Ahab drummer Cornelius Althammer

It has been almost 14 years since the release of The Call of the Wretched Sea. How do you view your debut now, after three other studio albums and so much distance?

Cornelius Althammer (Drums): Well, for me it feels like the typical first album. It has this certain mood that is spread by bands who discover musical territory which has been unknown to them, so far. It has charm. It is far from perfect in terms of songwriting, performance (especially my drumming) and production, but I guess exactly this is what it is about.

These tracks were taken from a show in 2017. What about the concert felt memorable to you as a performer?

CA: Since I live in the city where the show took place it was this typical “show in front of your friends.” So it was special fun to play. But for me it’s always fun to play, so this doesn’t count so much. What actually is remarkable about this show is the fact that when we played, we didn’t know it was being recorded. Seen from the perspective of now, two weeks before this very show is being released to the public this was probably the fact that made this recording worth being released. I guess it may affect your performance in a positive way if you don’t know that it’s being recorded.

I noticed Live Prey‘s track order is different from the original album. What inspired you to change the order of the last two songs?

CA: One of the many small things that were worth being changed compared to the original album. “The Hunt” simply has to be the last track of the album. Seen from the musical perspective, seen from the lyrical content, seen from all perspectives. Any different order doesn’t make sense.

Have you been working on new music since The Boats of the Glen Carrig?

CA: Oh yes. We took a long break from writing music, even for Ahab-conditions. But now we´re on it!

Pre-order Ahab’s Live Prey merch from Napalm Records HERE

And follow Ahab for aquatic adventures and future announcements HERE

Ahab live photo by Stefan Raduta