So what dwells behind, or maybe beneath is the right word in this case, the actually rather ugly black and white cover of Ahab’s latest release, ”Live Prey”? The cover, in all it’s ugliness is actually worth mention as it seems to be made in a style called ”scrimshaw”, an art technique that was used by whalers of yore, where they used needle and ink to create images and patterns on whale bone, and since Ahab has taken its name from Captain Ahab of the Pequod in Herman Melville’s classic novel ”Moby Dick or, The Whale” few images could be more feasible than this, depicting The Great White Whale attacking the Pequod and Old Thunder himself, carved in white bone!
”Live Prey” is, as one could guess by the name, a live album, Ahab’s first in order and consist of music taken exclusively from their 2006 debut ”The Call of the Wretched Sea”, which is a concept album based on ”Moby Dick”, and the album was recorded during their performance on Jena’s Death Row Fest in 2017. The recording was done without the bands knowledge which doesn’t make their deliverance of their ”Nautic Funeral Doom” less impressive!
As mentioned , ”Live Prey” consists merely of songs from ”The Call of The Wretched Sea” but isn’t a performance of the album in it’s entirety as it leaves out the instrumental (kind of) intro ”Of the Monstrous Pictures of Whales” and the following song ”The Sermon”, but other than that (and a mixed up order of the songs) it’s a quiet good depiction of the album with a flawless performance of the band, the presence of the grim samplings featuring Gregory Peck portraying Captain Ahab and not least, the unique feeling of actually being rocked by the waves on a wast stormy ocean kept intact!
Not much is apart from the studio versions of the songs, the most notably thing perhaps being Daniel Droste’s ultra low pitched death grunts that are even more uninterpretable and most of the time serves more as an atmospheric element than actual vocals, but with that said, they still serve a meaningful purpose!
There, however isn’t that much of a live feeling on the album since the songs are performed near to their studio perfection and the audience being almost inaudible, and with that in mind I kind of think the whole idea of a live album is gone missing. The music although is top notch and with only that in consideration this would have been a tenner, but having the lack of an actual “live experience” in mind, the final grade must be lowered to an, although might fine, eight!
It doesn’t get much heavier than this!
Title: Live Prey
Date of release: 26/6 -20
Playing time: 01:03:57
Stand out track: The Hunt