Doom Metal, Moby Dick and Man’s Tireless Quest to Conquer Indomitable Nature
AHAB’S “THE GIANT” ALBUM
Band Location: Germany
Genre: Funeral, Doom Metal
Themes: Moby Dick, The Ocean, Fate, Futility, Anguish, Eternity
Look out for their new album in the Fall of 2015!
MOBY DICK AND MAN’S FUTILE EFFORT TO CONQUER NATURE
(SPOILER ALERT! INFORMATION ABOUT THE END OF MOBY DICK BOOK IN THIS TEXT)
Most of us are familiar with Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick,” the tale about Captain Ahab’s single minded obsession with catching the white whale, ‘Moby Dick’. Yet the white whale is an indomitable force of nature that cannot be tamed, and all who try die in the process. At its most fundamental level, Moby Dick is a man versus nature story. It is the crew of the Pequod against endless,black waters and the ferocious creatures of these depths.
So this is more than just a chapter book about the homoerotic adventures of cannibals aboard the Pequod – although that part is interesting too.
In most fiction, nature is often depicted as a Disney tale fantasy, a place of happy, fluffy bunnies and birds that sing to princesses as they fold their clothes. Yes, nature is beautiful – but she is a cruel beauty. She is beauty and the beast incarnate. Nature is a ferocious system with harsh laws. She is the wolf ripping out the throat of her prey, she is the wasp that lays her young inside the paralyzed carcass of a caterpillar, she is the parasite sucking the blood of her host. Yet most importantly, nature is an eternal life force that is billions of years old. She is a system with strict laws of life and death that cannot be rewritten, altered or changed. So “Moby Dick” is an important work of fiction in that it captures nature in all her eternal and horrific glory.
Man’s tireless quest (from the days of Gilgamesh to now) to tame nature is a very futile effort indeed. Yes, humans have succeeded in cutting down nature’s forests, polluting her skies and streams, enslaving her children and fracking deep beneath her soil. But this is only a temporary set back for nature, while it is a deadly crisis for humanity. For nature has survived mass extinctions that wiped out 90% of the life on the planet. So will nature survive the plight of humanity? Yes she will. Yet the kicker is that we human beings, cannot survive without food, water, clean air or soil. Much like the mad captain Ahab and his crew, will the sinking ship of human civilization end up tangled up in our own harpoon lines and pulled into a deadly whirlpool caused by our own ship? It is very possible if we do not change our course.
“Wreck of a Transport Ship” Joseph Mallord William Turner
AHAB “THE GIANT” ALBUM – A BEAUTIFUL MELANCHOLY
“The Giant” is Doom Metal band Ahab’s latest album, which came out in 2012. The first time I checked it out, it was love at first listen. I even like it better than their previous albums (although popular opinion seems to be against me on that one).
The phrase that I think of as I listen to this album is “beautiful melancholy.” A sort of depression that is endless, but has a depth to it that makes you ponder and question the mysteries of life.
“The Giant” seems more prog rock to me than past works, which are more doomy. Yet the combination of prog rock clean vocal harmonies and melodies alongside growls, and slow heavy guitar chords creates a sort of melodic grief that I find to be very enchanting. The album takes me into a sort of dreamland wonder where I find myself envisioning the crashing waves of the ocean beneath a morning fog. Much like the book, this album contains powerful musical themes about the dark futility of nature, and the vast – endless abyss that is the ocean.
A PART OF THE LYRICS FROM “THE GIANT” SONG
Silver blood pours from wounded skies
Drowning our anxiety
Black man, white beast in dismay cries
Vaporise in sheer reality
In blackness, in intensity,
in obscurity and glare,
in gloominess, in brilliancy
in somberness and gleam,
in murkiness and luminance,
in ashes soil the snow
I hear thee chant my name
Faint voice distant and dim
I prithee, please enfold me