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The Call of the Wretched Sea

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Average Rating
★★★★½
(14 Reviews)

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  • Descriptors: Epic, subtle, primeval, melodic, bombastic, haunting, and of course, really, really, really heavy.

    This Germanic quartet has managed to create a very expansive, harsh, yet simultaneously beautiful sound, which dovetails perfectly with the album’s theme, which is a musical tribute to Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick”. A story of vengeance, obsession, and existential inquiry, which swirls about a half insane captain and his crew, as they hunt the white whale.

    All but three of the songs take their lyrics from the poetic almost Shakespearean soliloquies that Melville penned in Moby Dick. “Of monstrous pictures of whales” is purely instrumental. “The Sermon” makes exquisite use of an extended conversational sample between Ahab and perhaps Ishmael or another deckhand. Two pieces have lyrics written by a band member and outside contributor, which are “good,” but not nearly as beautiful as Melville’s.

    At any rate, it’s usually impossible to decipher what Daniel Droste and Stephen Adolf are growling, but that’s fine with me. Droste’s voice has the timbre of gravely river bottom, which seems to act as yet another wonderful instrument that captures the power and darkness of Melville’s novel. Droste and Adolf do partake in some ominous melodic chanting as well, which also works great for this album! There are also chorale samples that are used sporadically that bring about the same effect.

    The the instrumentation places a heavy emphasis on simple, memorable, and beautiful melodies that are tastefully interspersed among heavy, droning, and dark walls of noise, or menacing synthesizers. The drumming is usually slow and plodding, occasionally making use of bells (maybe kettle bells?). All of these effects lend to a sound which is as vast as the Atlantic. Like the Atlantic, it is both beautiful and destructive; which, quite appropriately, is indicative of a whale of mythic proportions and a madman bent on revenge.

    I highly recommend this album to people who might appreciate melodic, sludgy, and extremely powerful metal. In my experience, this album has tapped into the very soul of Melville’s story by eloquently capturing the mystery, beauty, power, and chaos it conveys.

    Posted on February 24, 2010