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Maudlin Of The Well - Part the Second CD (album) cover


Maudlin Of The Well


Experimental/Post Metal

4.22 | 752 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Review number 100!

Maudlin of the Well have officially been disbanded for 6 years now, and its been 8 since the brilliance of Bath/Leaving Your Body Map was set loose on this world, but here they are again self releasing an album (funded by fans no less) of largely old material that wasn't recorded for any album orginally, mixed with new material to complete the work.

When a band does this kind of thing, gets togethor for one last hurrah, you expect a safe album of familer feeling material to what is already out there, especially when the bulk of the material comes from the same sessions that previous albums have. Yet right from the opening notes Toby Driver is out to impress and offer a new view of the band. Surprisingly, Excerpts from 6,000,000,000,000 Miles Before the First... starts with an uptempo, happy tune, a first for maudlin of the Well. Of course it doesn't last, about a minute in it dscendes to slow rhythm with jerky vocals, but the fact that its there and that a second motife in a similar style appears about 3 quarters of the way through the song is evidence enough that we are in for another unique album spearheaded buy the creative minf of Toby Driver.

As a whole, this album is actually quite the departure from its predecessores in that no song here, not even its heaviest Clover Garland Island, aproaches the raw heavy metal of A Conception Pathetic or They're Not All Beatiful and that the sudden dynamic switches that charecterised them before have smoothed into swirling, gradual changes that rise and fall and change over the length of each piece. In the end its probably best described as a halfway-house between maudlin of the Well and Kayao Dot's most recent work, Blue Lambency Downward (that "other" band from Toby Driver). This is probably best charecterised in the third track, Rose Quartz Turning to Glass where guest musician Mia Matsumiya (of Kayo Dot, who playes enough on this album to be consider a full band member) dominates the opening half of the song in a way that would have made it fit in perfectly on Blue Lambency Downward before it grows into a strong rock piece reminiscent of Blight of River Systems or Geography.

So, is this album any good? My God is it good. The mix of styles between Toby Drivers two bands is phenominal, seemlessly integrating and creating multiple moments of shear beauty interspersed with moments of crashing dissonance, powerful rock and haunting melencholy. For long time fans of maudlin of the Well, the lack of any heavy metal, the spikey trumpet sounds of Jason Bitner and the wonderful vocals of Maria-Stella Fountolakis (due to the duo not being part of the recording sessions for unknown reason) and the inclusion of sections that can only be described as "happy" may come as a jarring surprise. I must admit even I wasnt hugely impressed with this album on first listen but on listening again it quickly builds itself into your mind so that you wont forget it anytime soon (it took about 3 listens for me). The fact that this album is free to download from in various forms (mp3, FLAC, uncompressed WAV) means that everyone should at least give this album a try. Personally this is now the leading contender for album of the year '09 and it will be a very tall order for anyone to improve upon, even Kayo Dot.

sleeper | 5/5 |


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