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Maudlin Of The Well - Bath CD (album) cover

BATH

Maudlin Of The Well

 

Experimental/Post Metal

4.18 | 209 ratings

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Andy Webb
Forum & Site Admin Group
Admin / Heavy Prog Team
5 stars Brave the ethereal waters

Maudlin of the Well have long been known as masters of the avant-garde rock scene. Toby Driver, the mastermind behind it all, has sadly only created four albums with the stunning group, and each is incredible in its own right. Bath, the first album in a duology released in 2001 (the other album being Leaving your Body Map), has emerged as one of the greatest showings of avant-garde rock in the history of rock. Furthering this band's incredible musical vision initiated in 1999 with their odd, abrasive debut My Fruit Psychobelis...A Seed Combustible, Driver emerged with this album a new, refreshing flower of the purest sublime beauty. Mixing the gentle melodies of aerial grace with the crushing fury of Avant metal, the album is truly a gem in the swirl of experimental mush that can often be produced by artists such as these. Musically, the album is absolutely genius, deconstructing every barrier music theory has put up for them, yet at the same time adhering to every rule there is. The music is truly like a swan with his wings clipped, who flies into the skies above only to grovel in the dirt, still beautiful in form but marred in a graceful way. The album shows an incredible amount of complexity, from the dense harmonic value to the gentle melodies contrasted by crushing death metal, to the ambiguous and powerful lyrics. The entire album is truly an unmatched piece of musical beauty, and is easily one of the most innovative and incredible albums ever produced.

Earlier in the review I called the music Avant-garde rock/metal. This is really a blanket term, a failed attempt to summarize this band's incredibly diverse style. To truly describe the band would be virtually impossible. They fuse so much into their music it would make any seasoned listener's head spin. From classical to death metal to acoustic rock to progressive rock to sludge metal to psychedelic rock to progressive metal to doom metal to jazz to nearly every other genre anyone has ever heard of into an amalgamous mess of absolute sheer beauty. The seven piece band has crafted some of the most unique music even in single tracks. For example, the song "The Ferryman" begins with a haunting Baroque-style organ piece, before breaking into a soft, jazz tinged piece of indie rock before transitioning into a mind-blowingly heavy piece of death metal. To be frank, it's insane.

The insanity of the music is complemented by the music's incredible complexity. Each track, full of incredible dynamic shifts and near countless styles shoved into a short period of time, is incredibly musically dense and complex. The harmonies are classically composed, with each of the seven members of the band doing a small part to compose the incredible harmonies. Vocally the melodies vary from sung to spoken word, with lyrics wavering in intense poetic complexity. The concept of the album is loose, and varies somewhere around a dream state and astral projections (aka out-of-body experiences). The lyrics themselves are poetry, often in broad, free-flowing prose, with incredible imagery and meaning behind them, often seeming so complex as to be ambiguous and "unbreakable" in meaning. This only enhances the mysterious atmosphere of this album, the dreamy, often spacey and moving feeling about the music. This album is the dreamier side of the duology of albums, with LYBM being much more metallically dense than this album.

Overall, this album is a pure masterpiece. Composed of some of the most complex and beautiful music ever to grace the planet, the album shall sadly never be truly be appreciated by many. The insane amount of complexity, depth, and dynamic of this album have doomed it to obscurity as so few people could possibly enjoy it. However, the album remains one of the most beloved cult albums to grace the progressive community. The album is so incredibly amazing its own glory seems to be mystified by its sheer beauty. In the end, I believe 5 stars are not enough for this album. This is the type of album that cannot be tied down to a standard rating system. You cannot tack a title to this album. It is not truly a "masterpiece," as the definition of that word goes. It is an ethereal alignment of conterminal stars, each shining brightly through the musical world. It really isn't "music," as the definition of that word goes. It is noise, so graceful as never to be touched yet so abrasive as never to be listenable. I cannot fathom a conclusion to the epicness of this album. It truly saddens me to think that this group is no longer producing music. But before I truly ramble off into the same obscurity in which this album is damned, I shall rate it. This album is perfect. 5+ stars.

Andy Webb | 5/5 |

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