On Antarctica, S.A. Agulhas, and Ahab


July 7, 2012 by Beldrac

Antarctica’s always been my favourite of the two Polar Regions, most likely because it’s the closest and on days like today, it feels even closer. This must be one of my favourite tracks off Ahab’s album, The Giant. In typical Ahab fashion the track is purposefully slow and choppy, like a giant ice cold iron ship making its way South, like the 6,100 tons of metal that is the S.A. Agulhas. The South African polar research ship has been breaking the Antarctic ice on research and supply voyages for over thirty years and was recently replaced by the S.A. Agulhas II, that will continue the service vital to one of the oldest established research stations on our Southern tip. The South African National Antarctic Expedition (SANAE) was first established in the 1960’s and was one of the first permanent Antarctic research stations.

Ahab’s first album was based on Herman Melville’s masterpiece Moby Dick and like that is one of my favourite books, The Call of the Wretched Sea is one of my very favourite albums. It’s slow and relentlessly crushing, but with enough space in between to pop your head out and take a breath, before you get slapped under again by another giant crushing wave. It’s in more than just the themes they use and Ahab’s always had a very (as they say) Nautical feel to the music, they conjure images of beautifully vast expanses of ocean and icebergs, in cold and dangerous waters where conditions can change and in an instant put you at at risk of landing in those waters. Then there are the whales…Korea was in the news recently for a scientific research whale hunting quota. I’m not sure what research can be done in killing whales, but it’s something our species has been doing for hundreds of years, usually in a very cold and cruel fashion. One only has to read Moby Dick to get an insight into the way the industry worked in those years, money was to be made and ladies wanted their perfume, people needed oil to light lamps. It’s easy to look back now and judge our nations for what they did, but in a few generations time people will look back and judge us for what we’re doing now. It’s still about oil, energy, and making our lives as comfortable as possible.

Oh man this is a good album, review coming up soon-ish (along with the other two…)

One thought on “On Antarctica, S.A. Agulhas, and Ahab

  1. […] from it to take a few breaths when it becomes overbearing. It’s epic as an epic voyage on a ship to “Antarctica” would […]

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