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Maudlin Of The Well - Leaving Your Body Map CD (album) cover


Maudlin Of The Well


Experimental/Post Metal

4.16 | 349 ratings

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4 stars maudlin of the well - Leaving Your Body Map

So, I'm here to finish up what I started in my Bath review a few weeks ago, but first I would like to promise that this review will be much, much shorter hopefully, for two reasons really: one) i honestly just have less to say about this album; and two) i said a lot of what i would've said about this album in my Bath, I'd recommend that one should read that review before this one, as it has a lot of content in it about the ideas and concepts behind both albums, as well as similarities and differences between the two. Anyway, here goes:

Leaving Your Body Map is the companion album to Bath. As I mentioned in my Bath review, the two of them have loads of similarities shared between them--running time, track numbers, the interludes and their placement in the track listing, conceptual themes, and the list goes on. They are, truthfully, more than companion albums--they are one entity--one album in and of each other. A masterwork of music. There is, however, a rather large stylistic difference between the two of them--musically, at least. Leaving Your Body Map is much more rooted in metal than Bath was, and as such, the sound on Leaving Your Body Map, while similar in many ways to the sound on Bath, is a bit different on the whole.

Note the differences between the two openers, for example, as a good reflection of the overall difference in sound between the two albums: The Blue Ghost / Shedding Qliphoth, from Bath, is essentially a post-rock song--and an extremely good one at that. But then there's Stones of October's Sobbing, the opener to this album, and instead of post-rock, we get a much more post-METAL song, in terms of the pacing, and, truthfully, the style. Stones of October's Sobbing features almost exclusively the death vocals of Byron, over top of some soothing and graceful music--a combination that sounds almost unthinkable on paper, but works extremely well in practice. The openers are equal in quality, but rather different in their execution.

But enough about the two albums as a whole; since they were released separately, sort of, it's time to get in to treating them separately. So, if we're comparing the two albums, it is my duty to note that, despite common opinion being that LYBM is the better of the two discs, I consider it the obvious weaker of the two, for a few minor reasons. Bath, to me at any rate, is a perfect album. From start to finish it takes many risks, all of which pay off, and none of which sound contrived or quirky--put in place for oddness' sake. It all sounds natural.

Leaving Your Body Map is much the same , at least until the Riseth He the Numberless tracks later on in the track listing. This is, to me, where the album begins to wane a little bit in quality, as those two tracks are, in my opinion, the weakest between the two albums (and even weaker than a lot of the material on the band's debut). This is not to say that these tracks are bad--they aren't at all. They are extremely listenable and of very fine quality--they just aren't as perfect to me as essentially every other track on either of the two albums.

This album has as many--honestly, it may have more--highlights as Bath; there's the soaring, almost power-metal-driven Gleam in Ranks, an obviously great track--then there's the two Interlude tracks, which are far superior to the shorter Interlude tracks on Bath. There's the wonderfully emotional and entrancing beauty of Sleep is a Curse, driven by glistening guitars and heartfelt vocals to a displacing climax full of natural ease and just plain awesomeness--the great suite Bizarre Flowers / A Violent Mist, and a wonderful closer in Monstrously Low Tide. The album is certainly cohesive, and very well written, produced, and performed. It is every bit as good as Bath. Hell, it may even be better--so many seem to think so.

But not me. I love it, assuredly, but I just love Bath more. Not just because of the Riseth... tracks, but because of the ending of this album as well. After the song proper in Monstrously Low Tide--which is only about two to three minutes long--ends, the album continues to ponder on for about three to four minutes of straight guitar nothingness. Reverb, and haunting, but rather bland. To me, this is a but of a failure, at least in design. I think it's completely unnecessary. It's not that it's bad, but I think it goes on for too long, and kind of dulls the album on the whole--especially since, other than Interlude 4, I consider the last quarter of this album to be much weaker than the first three quarters of it.

But I'd better stop before I go on one of my rambling and incoherent tirades. I love this album. Very much. But I can't call it a masterpiece, because it isn't one--not in my eyes at any rate. Now, the albums together, as one whole, are certainly a masterpiece, and Bath singularly is one as well in my eyes. But LYBM just has a few small flaws in design, at least in my opinion, which hold it back. Perhaps if the first Riseth... track were omitted, the noodling at the end of the closer shortened, and the Secret Song from the same sessions attached as the real closer, I could call this a masterpiece.

But alas, this isn't the case. So, while this album is certainly an amazing piece of work, because of its small falters here and there, I cannot bring myself to give it the 5-star rating it very likely deserves. On my scale, this one's easily about a 9 or a 9.5 out of 10...but that just doesn't cut it for me to be a 5 star album on this scale. 4.5 yes, but not 5. However, I am lost for what to do. There are other albums that I'd give a 4.5 to that I'd easily round to 5 on this site, without any qualms at all. But this...this one's giving me a hard time.

I will settle for giving this one 4 stars...with reservations. Please, if you have read this, go read my Bath review, as it will better explain my love for that album, and this album as well--as I have said, the two as a whole are unquestionably a masterwork; however, when taken and compared against each other, this one comes out a slight bit weaker in my opinion. So, for one last reiteration: 4 stars, but almost 5. Read the Bath review, and treat the albums as one whole if you decide to listen to them at all.

And also, one final word: At the time of my writing this, another maudlin of the Well album is planned to be recorded and released. This is wonderful news, and I just want to put into text my hope that this album will be as amazing as either of the two albums that came before it.

So: 4 stars, but just barely that. 4.5, really.

Figglesnout | 4/5 |


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