Germany’s funeral doom metal outfit Ahab have released their first full-length effort in eight years with, The Coral Tombs, on January 13th via Napalm Records. We recently caught up with vocalist/guitarist Daniel Droste to discuss the record.
What was the process like recording The Coral Tombs?
Our third album “the giant” was the first album we recorded together with engineer Jens Siefert. We’ve been more than satisfied with the cooperation since then, so it was no question for us to team up with him at RAMA Studio in Mannheim again for “the coral tombs”. We’ve decided to work with him because we really liked this warm analogue sound he’s able to deliver. I’d see his roots more in rock and alternative rock, and the fact that he’s not one of these flat metal producers really attracted us as well. On our last record we recorded the instruments in groups, drum and bass together and Chris’ and my guitars together. This time we only were able to record on weekends, but at least had the possibility to record both guitars together again. We wanted to achieve a dirtier guitar sound this time, so we’ve spent more time on comparing different combinations of amps and cabinets. I’ve also tried to be as focused as possible during the vocal recordings. I listened carefully to the first demos we’ve recorded, and finally decided to re-record at least two songs that already seemed to be finished, to achieve the best performance I can deliver.
How would you compare the new album to 2015’s The Boats of the Glen Carrig?
Next to obvious differences like the lyrical template and the cover art, this is not easy to answer for me at such an early stage. Although I heard the songs quite often during the mixing process, I never thought about comparing these two albums. In contrast to its predecessor our new record has a repeating theme which is opening such as closing the album, emphasizing its character of a completed movie or book. I’d say that “the coral tombs” is also more diverse emotionally. “The boats of the Glen Carrig” consists of darker moods, while “the coral tombs” is more epic in some parts, there’s longing and light next to darkness and despair as well. I guess the increasing use of clean vocals leave more room for interpretation than the growls do….but that’s just my subjective perception.
What songs were more challenging to write?
Well there are songs that are composed step by step like “Aegri Somnia” for example,others develop a certain kind of flow during the composing process, and by that seem to progress on their own. Songs like “Colossus of the liquid graves” or “Prof Arronax….” are two of those. And then there are songs like “The maelstrom” in contrast that were a bit more challenging. Most of the parts of this song were composed quite early, but we rearranged its flow several times until we came to its final version. But in the end we’re really satisfied with the result, especially the fact that our mate Greg Chandler of Esoteric is closing our record with his sick vocals makes this ending track something very special for us.
Can you talk more about the song “Aegri Somnia?”
In some reviews our sound is described as progressive doom metal, “Aegri Somnia” is the song that fits best to this categorization. I’d describe it as one of the most unconventional songs we’ve ever written. I wrote the clean introduction as well as the opening riff at home, the parts that follow, including different time signatures were composed during a rehearsal session. It’s way easier at least for me to compose unconventional time signatures when there’s a drummer aside….not necessarily for composing the part itself, but to check the flow and the passages.
What was your experience creating the video for “Mobilis?”
When it comes to visualizing our songs we all agreed that we’d never have one of those videos where you just see us performing somewhere. That’s not very interesting and was done millions of times before, no one needs that. We dreamed of a stop motion video instead, but weren’t able to realize that before. Creating these videos is quite expensive, and with songs above 10min it’s just impossible for us to fund such a project. This time we had a budget, and a song of only 6 min length we wanted to release as a single anyways. Together with the talented folks of INSPIRA we were finally able to realize our vision. Writing a storyboard was something we’ve never done before, so we wrote down some ideas in a brainstorming while traveling home from a show. It was really exciting to see these ideas growing step by step in these visualized updates we frequently got, finally developing to this special and beautiful little movie we’re really proud of.
Do you have any plans for this year you can share with us?
We’ll be on the road for some festival shows in Europe such as Summer Breeze open air and Damnation Fest, as well as for some club shows in Germany over the year. We’re also proud to announce that we’ll be part of Maryland Death fest in 2024 as our very first appearance in the States, really looking forward to that.
Is there anything else you want to say or add?
Our new album, The Coral Tombs, is out via Napalm Records and also available at our bigcartel shop. Check it out, spread the word and I hope to see some of you out on the road one day!
Tags: Ahab, Daniel Droste
Categorised in: Interviews