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Maudlin Of The Well - Bath CD (album) cover

BATH

Maudlin Of The Well

 

Experimental/Post Metal

4.17 | 214 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'Bath' - maudlin of the Well (8/10)

A relatively unknown collective based in Massachusetts, the avant-garde metal band maudlin of the Well released this album with almost no publicity or media attention to speak of. A jumble of many styles across the spectrum (chamber music to jazz to folk and psychedelia, all under a heavy metal banner) this band was certainly not going to get much attention from the mainstream, or anyone besides a few critics lucky enough to be aware of the band's existence. From this seed and a small but dedicated fanbase generated by their debut album, 'Bath' began to pick up the pace and before long, was reaching new ears around the globe, who hailed it as a 'modern masterpiece.' Years later, 'Bath' still has its share of inperfections, but it has not aged a day since the time it was released.

While merging such fargone styles as classical music, death metal and psychedelic rock could sound like a deathwish for any band and their credibility, maudlin of the Well somehow manage to make it work. Each song is decidedly unique, and brings its own host of different timbres and sounds to the table. From the serene and beautiful ('The Blue Ghost-Shedding Qliphoth') to the extreme and brutal ('They Aren't All Beautiful,') the listener is constantly shocked by the huge jumps of dynamic and genre. While this distinguishes each song from the other beautifully, it creates a bit of a rift in the sense of overall album cohesion and flow. Despite the feeling that there could have been a bit more attention to how 'Bath' all fits in together, the music itself is sublime.

Giving its title good meaning, the album immerses you within it, much like a typical bath would. The first part of a then-prospected duology, 'Bath' is the lighter, more mellow companion of the two. While 'Leaving Your Body Map' would arguably work better in terms of being an overall album, 'Bath' is the one with the standout tracks and the moments of aural perfection you can't help but to listen to on repeat. Some of the highlights would have to include the ridiculously heavy 'They Aren't All Beautiful,' the haunting acoustic closer 'Geography,' and the epic 'Birth Pains Of Astral Projection.' Everything comes to a climax with the latter track. Taking the listener through vistas of cheerful 'lounge' music to a beautiful saxophone solo to a dense psychedelic cluster, every aspect of the sound is tense as the music lets loose and becomes heavy. Jason Byron's inhuman shrieks and growls are used very effectively here, and it segues seamlessly into a more subtle section led by the softer vocals of Driver, reminiscent of indie rock. From this description alone, it's clear that maudlin of the Well are not the most accessible bunch around. However, that should not stop you from giving them a try, and hopefully appreciating the music as much, or even more than I have.

The only real fault here is as I've said; the overall flow of the album. While some listens through do not find me being bothered by the extremely polar nature of the album, it certainly affects the consistency. While some of the tracks may not be as strong and meaty as others ('The Ferryman' has never done much for me,) the majority of the tracks here are as gorgeous as you're going to hear in the metal scene. I urge you to check out 'Bath,' and soon after that; it's successor 'Leaving Your Body Map.' One of the few metal albums of the new millenium that deserves the title of 'classic,' however flawed it may be.

Conor Fynes | 4/5 |

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