Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Initial Impressions: Ahab, Blitzkrieg

AHAB: THE DIVINITY OF OCEANSI reviewed Ahab's last full length album here. The band does not play my favorite genre. So far, Ahab is the only band I listen to that plays funeral doom. A few things have changed this time around that affect the listening experience on this one. Overall, the album seems a little more melodic and easier on the ears. The album is not about Moby Dick this time, although the band retains the oceanic theme.

First of all, the band had experimented with some clean vocals on the last album but they were buried fairly deep in the mix. This time around, there are more clean vocal parts and they are brought more to the forefront. In addition, the vocals in general are brought out more in the production. It makes it much easier to hear what is going on.

The production was alluded to above and it is definitely true that it has improved on this album. Everything is easier to hear. On the last album, I strained to hear some of the vocals and effects. Everything is clear this time around.

The band also appears to be playing slightly faster this time around. Ahab is still very slow, but some of the tempos are picked up a little bit. The only real issue with this is that funeral doom is supposed to be extremely slow. The band may play too fast on a couple of these tracks to be considered funeral doom any more.

Overall, the changes make this an easier album to listen to and digest. It is much more challenging to listen to an extremely slow album than an extremely fast album. Ahab has quickened things a little and brought more clarity to the production. It's not as unique though as it does not have that helpless, morosely slow feel to it.

BLITZKRIEG: A TIME OF CHANGESI glanced through my collection one day and realized I did not have many bands from the NWOBHM. I had the obvious bands such as Iron Maiden, Motorhead, Venom, and Saxon, but was otherwise missing out. This also went into my whole 1980's metal kick. I first heard about this band as a result of Metallica covering the speed metal classic "Blitzkrieg" off of this album. It was one of my favorite tracks off of Garage Inc. (yes, I'm aware it was actually recorded and released much earlier than that, one of my friends actually had a version of Kill 'Em All with this track as a bonus, I have no idea how he came across that).

This album, their debut full length, was released around 1985, although they had released several other recordings before that time. This is how Metallica was able to record a cover of "Blitzkrieg" for their 1983 album when it did not appear on a Blitzkrieg album until '85.

The music is pretty decent: 1980's style speed and traditional metal spun into a cohesive sound. Some of the songs are not real great, but then there are some barn-burners on it as well to take away from that. The above mentioned song is fantastic. It's not quite as aggressive as the Metallica version, but the vocals are significantly better. Brian Ross is a hell of a vocalist. He unleashes some powerful wails on this album.

This album was not easy to find. I ended up ordering the Japanese version of the album for a bit more than I like to spend on a CD. It was either that or spend $80-100 for the English version which is long out of print. Still I found it, and I'm glad I did.

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