Created in 2004, the German band led by Daniel Droste (vocals/guitar/keyboards, ex-Penetralia, ex-Midnattsol), Chris Hector (guitar, ex-Penetralia, ex-Midnattsol), Cornelius Althammer (drums, Dead Eyed Sleeper, Ekranoplan) and Stephan Wandernoth (bass, Dead Eyed Sleeper) continues its adventure with Napalm Records to offer us The Coral Tombs, its fifth album, eight years after the previous one.
With Prof. Arronax’ Descent Into The Vast Oceans and its massive blast, the band welcomes Chris Noir (Ultha) for an extremely aggressive introduction before softness resurfaces. Light tones slowly progress until we find heavy saturation again with intense clean vocals and dissonant leads before Colossus Of The Liquid Graves pushes us a little more into darkness with a haunting and disturbing rhythmic. The cavernous screams mix with clean vocals to feed the contrast of this jerky and heady rhythmic which guides us to Mobilis in Mobili and its mysterious introduction. The dark tonalities drive us to this flood of as heavy as majestic sounds which perfectly combine with vocals, but which also let leads express themselves to develop an ominous atmosphere before coming back to a martial final to drop us on The Sea As A Desert and its oriental tones. Vocal diversity gives once again relief to a crushing or incredibly soft rhythmic which makes us navigate in this melancholy before A Coral Tomb comes to progressively lock us into darkness. The deep and disturbing vocals hugely contribute to the unhealthy atmosphere before clean voice comes back to soothe us while peacefully leading us to this final where saturation mixes with quietness. Ægri Somnia takes advantage of the installed softness to place some airy harmonics before saturation and heaviness take place again to offer an epic and heavy mixture which alternates between the two voices before being broken by clean tones. The heavy sound will come back for a heady final before The Mælstrom closes the album with a slow but extremely catchy rhythmic to gives way to clean vocals as well as screams, but also to Greg Chandler‘s (Esoteric, Lychgate) striking voice that will accompany the band until this final apotheosis.
I may have known Ahab for years, but their Nautik Doom Metal will always have an incredible effect on me. With The Coral Tombs, the band does more than ending eight years of waiting, they add a real monolith to their discography.