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Maudlin Of The Well - Bath CD (album) cover

BATH

Maudlin Of The Well

 

Experimental/Post Metal

4.18 | 207 ratings

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Dim
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Toby Driver, a genius in my book, maybe one of the most original thinkers to be born, nothing he has done ever lost my attention for too long, almost everything is perfect. My biggest icon in modern music, whether it be the chaos of Kayo Dot, the eeriness of Tartar lamb, or the just plain weirdness of his solo album, everything he touches turns to gold. Of all his projects though, Maudlin of the Well is the greatest, honestly a band that has done so much for me as far as my musical growth. This group helped me expand my mind to so many different genres, and styles, but not only that, but how to blend them into three monumental albums, this one being the best, BATH.

The music of Maudlin of the Well is incredibly diverse, one minute you may be in a straight up death metal song, the next you're listening to some jazzy horns, the next you're listening to an acoustic folky song, and it all fits. They're so eclectic it wouldn't be wrong to call this band avant Garde, to me though, that's the beauty of the music, they're not afraid to put some intricate post rocky lead line of a horn section, or add a church organ with some death metal vocals to add a doomy effect. To me it all works, it's possible to make beautiful prog metal, with strings and not be a lame symphonic power metal band, and you can add horns and long songs and not be a post metal band, this group belongs to no genre.

Bath is a companion album to the almost equally amazing Leaving your body map, and apparently is the first part of who knows what concept. It's a bit diverse than Leaving your body map, as far as the songs go, and also, by the time you hit the song Birth pains and astral projections, you feel a certain emotion that just eeks out of the speakers that just doesn't hit the same level on LYBM. This assortment of ten songs may very well be my favorite made, every song is extremely special in it's own way and each very different than the other. It's more jazzy, it's more metal, yet at the same time it's a little softer than anything else Toby has ever put out. It's just beautiful.

Okay you're probably tired of listening to my fanboyism, so I'll get into detail about the music. While most of the songs are indeed metal, most of the smaller tracks around the metal songs are usually softer, acoustic interludes, each one staring with a jazzy chord progression, then slightly building up with some horns playing a melody, then another guitar will come in and play perhaps a lead line, or a parallel chord progression, while the double bass will throb away. There are four track in these two albums called the interludes I-IV. The other softer tracks on this album is the opening song song, and the beautiful three minute Marids gift of art. The firs an instrumental starting with only an acoustic guitar, and progressively getting bigger and bigger adding multiple guitars, keyboards, and eventually drums, until the very end when te electric comes in for a huge climactic ending. Marids gift of art is just a pretty lullaby by Driver, with only his guitar his voice, and a trumpet to end the song. I know sounds corny, but it really is one of the prettiest songs you may ever hear.

Then there's the metal song, all of which follow no common structure, and are chopped up into three or four different sections. While most start with an eerie series of notes on the guitar, keyboard, or church organ, some like they're not all beautiful start with a bang and go right into furious drumming and strumming, with some of the deepest, yet clearest death metal vocals ever, which just capitalizes on Toby's amazing voice. This song is pretty much the closest MotW gets to a straight up death metal song, though still is very proggy. The other songs usually are guided by the vocals, most of the time harsh as you go on to crazy chord progression, double bass drumming, and some incredible guitar wizardry. The breakdown will come when the vocals become the most horrifying, and the guitar at it's most crushing. The atmospheric keyboards will then take over most likely with some electric guitar in the background doing a lead line, and some clean vocals usually singing about something simple, like love, trust, or a crazy day. From then on the song will almost disappear to nothing, then out of nowhere the chaos comes back and just punches you in the face for the last minute or so of the song.

There are two main elements in the music of Toby Driver that he never fails to bring forth, and there is no exception on this album: His Electric guitar and Voice. His electric guitar is on every son except the interludes, and there just seems to be layers and layers of it, I know there is more than one guitar player, but sometimes I can swear I can hear four different guitars going around at some point, and I just find it amazing that he can go ahead and capitalize on the electric distorted guitar, whether it be a lead line, solo, or riff and still make it tasteful, and not too pompous or obnoxious.

His voice is will always be a staple point to all his music, it's so youthful, and almost punky, and he doesnt have a very large range, but what he's got he's able to melt it perfectly with the music he creates, and create an atmosphere of some solemn depressing mood. He also has so many different types of grunts and scream. In my fruit psychobells you hear a black metal scream (sadly he doesnt use past that), an extremely deep death growl, a post metal hoarse yell that IMO makes Birth pains and astral projections one of their most superior songs, and there's also that blood curdling scream, which he used all the way up to Dowsing the anemone with the copper tongue.

I understand why some people can be turned off to Maudlin, their just so crazy and eclectic, it's very inaccessible, and it takes weathered ears to learn to appreciate this music, also unlike Kayo Dot, the harsh vocals, and extreme metal are arguably more prominent than anything else, and we all know that's not for everyone. Kayo Dot may be the reincarnation of Maudlin, but I think they lost a little of their youthful originality in that band, don't get me wrong, Kayo Dot may also be in my top five Fav bands, but what some people call immaturity is what I find best in Maudlin.

I hoped what I wrote can shine a little light on this band, or album, but really words are no substitute, you have to subject yourself to the music, and drill it many many times, before one day it will just click, and you'll just be taken back by the power and majesty of this band. Like I said though these guys are truly not for everyone, but to anyone into metal, and want some music with that extra punch, I cant recommend this band to you enough, this is probably my favorite group to exist, and need to be heard.

5 stars no doubt

Dim | 5/5 |

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