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MAUDLIN OF THE WELL

Experimental/Post Metal • United States


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Maudlin Of The Well biography
Formed in 1996 in Boston, USA - Disbanded in 2003 - Regrouped in 2008

Maudlin Of The Well is an avant-garde progressive metal band from Boston, who released 3 studio albums before disbanding in 2003. motW's music combines jazz, metal, avant-garde, post-rock and eastern influences into a unique and other worldly combination. After a five year break, the band reformed to record several unreleased musical ideas and compositions, which materialized into 2009's 'Part The Second'. These recordings were made possible by donations from fans of the band's earlier work. The band can be considered a musicians collective, all albums rotating around the 3 constant constant members, Toby Driver, Jason Byron and Greg Massi. All of the band's albums feature vocals and string work from Mia Matsumiya, who would later appear in Driver's next project with much more prominent input, Kayo Dot. (For more information on the band's ever changing lineup, see the individual album entries)

The majority of the band's music and lyrics is based around astral projection. The goal of Maudlin Of The Well was never to create music, but rather to bring back pre-existing music from another plain of existence. This was done through the practices of lucid dreaming and astral projection. Whether or not the band achieved their goal, it is fair to say that they have definitely created some of the most original and other-worldly music ever.

The band's first album is a collection of demos, which was released in 1999 as 'My Fruit Psychobells... A Seed Combustible'. This record can be can be considered a compilation of earlier demos, although stands on its own as a studio recording.

The band followed up this debut with two albums which directly link into one another; 'Bath' and 'Leaving Your Body Map' were both released in 2003, and show the band at the peak of their creative powers. These two discs offer a diverse blend of prog-metal and avant-garde with jazzy interludes and other-worldly atmospheres.

In 2009, 'Part The Second' was released as a gift to fans. The album was financed by fans, so the band has made it available, free of charge, from their website. This disc is undeniably more mellow than the rest of the band's output, and stands as their most well known and appreciated recording to date. This album showcases an entirely new motW, showcasing a more orchestral sound, with very little connection to the metal sounds on their previous releases. This re...
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MAUDLIN OF THE WELL top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.63 | 114 ratings
My Fruit Psychobells... A Seed Combustible
1999
4.19 | 327 ratings
Bath
2001
4.16 | 350 ratings
Leaving Your Body Map
2001
4.22 | 739 ratings
Part the Second
2009

MAUDLIN OF THE WELL Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

MAUDLIN OF THE WELL Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

MAUDLIN OF THE WELL Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

MAUDLIN OF THE WELL Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.42 | 33 ratings
Secret Song
2001

MAUDLIN OF THE WELL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Bath by MAUDLIN OF THE WELL album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.19 | 327 ratings

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Bath
Maudlin Of The Well Experimental/Post Metal

Review by calico5588

5 stars Perhaps it'd be inappropriate for me to start my first review as a 5 star rating, but I'd like to begin my reviews on a high note, maybe the highest note of them all. This was one of the first "avant garde metal" albums I've ever properly absorbed, and I'm glad it was.

maudlin of the Well isn't metal, not all the time. It certainly isn't any genre whatsoever, and it achieves this strange status of "unidentifiability" pretty much perfectly. This is sound refined to an artistic limit, audio that has been almost spiritually tuned to the perfect frequency to etch its soul into your own for the rest of eternity. It really is that good.

Now if we were to boil down "Bath" to its fundamentals, this is artful gothic jazz death metal with a little flavoring from just about everything. From superb brass, terrifying cathedral organs, and even soothing bathtub sounds, just about everything is used as an instrument, which makes me wonder what a live show would've looked like.

"Bath" is the Sistine Chapel ceiling of this genre, deep, nuanced, and a testament to the entire art form its associated with (in this case, music). You may try to sit down and absorb it all at once, but all that ends up doing is stealing your soul and submerging you in this emotional epic of trauma, hatred, bloodshed, and innocence lost.

I speak of this album with supreme praise, but that's not without acknowledging that--yes--this is death metal. And it's as good as it is macabre. Toby Driver is always going in between soft, human vocals before grabbing you by the neck and roaring with the tongue of a demon from the depths of hell. This is beautifully countered by the feminine and demanding (yet equally sympathetic) vocals from Maria-Stella Fountoulakis.

The lyrics of "Bath" are unquestionably poetic, perhaps even snobby at points, but the consistent poeticism reminiscent of a gothic writer plays to its strengths, especially in the more heartfelt moments where the words simplify into bare emotion. "Breath is real, anger's real. Sleep on your birthday and cry... cry, my baby..."

While the violence and brutality of the heavier sections aren't gut wrenchingly extreme as seen with some of the most gratuitous and evil of metal bands, it is the delivery and context of the music that turns them into the serrated knives that carve their words into your heart, never to leave until the day you die.

"Bath" and all music under "maudlin of the Well" are art first and foremost. It is art that does not play off of technicality or skill (of which there is plenty), but it is art that plays off of the heart.

Most people who listen to this might not see the point, they might feel their soul be moved just a tiny bit, but they don't open their heart to the sound.

This is music for the emotionally awake. It won't appeal to everyone, but for those it does appeal to, like myself, it will permanently change you.

 Part the Second by MAUDLIN OF THE WELL album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.22 | 739 ratings

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Part the Second
Maudlin Of The Well Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Nhelv

5 stars The Second is one of those records you listen to under your blankets, with your eyes closed and with your mind completely blank. It's a very relaxing record without intentions of showing off or showcasing technical capabilities, but of delivering a memorable experience through its rather simple tracks.

Maudlin Of The Well, in its purest form, is an instrumental band. One that takes the rules of distorted guitars and uses them for different purposes, such as generating ambience. In Part The Second, however, Toby Driver steps up to the microphone to add some lyrics to the whole experience. I'm gonna be completely honest with you when I tell you that, not the lyrics themselves, but the vocals are quite lacking. It's pretty obvious Toby isn't a very trained singer.

With that said, this album is probably Maudlin's most mature effort when it comes to composition. Not just composition, but musicality itself shows a band that has finally learned how to balance each instrument perfectly. Part The Second has heavy use of guitars (which is to be expected in Post-Metal/Rock), keyboards, along with some use of wind instruments like Saxophone and Flute. Songs possess a rather manthra-like structure along with many moments of ambience.

This album, along with Bath and Leaving Your Body Map are considered classic within Post-Metal circles, which is completely understandable. I'm gladly giving this a five star score, and it's good to see it's appreciated quite a lot here.

 Part the Second by MAUDLIN OF THE WELL album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.22 | 739 ratings

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Part the Second
Maudlin Of The Well Experimental/Post Metal

Review by DangHeck

4 stars I had heard this for the first time years ago, I assume when I first became familiar with and began (lightly) using ProgArchives. The highest rated albums are inescapable/unavoidable here (I would say rightly so) and otherwise I don't know how I would have found out about maudlin of the Well, for instance. And here we are, going on 13 years after the fact and this is more or less my most serious listen.

Sighing and pleading introduces the opener, "An Excerpt..." Unusual vocal styling, but it works so naturally with the music, I have no qualms. I've been listening to a lot of Math Rock (as I actually seek to delete my playlist haha) and this shimmering, feeling trudge reminds me of something that may be performed by Japan's TOE. Around the middle mark, the song picks up, eventually into this beautiful triumph, if only for a minute. The next section, in my mind an extension of the second, begins around minute 8, with drums over the emotive (seriously, not unlike Emo) chords and riffs. I think this is a really well done case of taking something relatively simple, vamping on it, and milking it for all that it's got (I would compare it to the structure of Post-Rock songs, yet I am no believer in that genre...).

As they move over to the next, "Another Excerpt...", it really is appropriate to state that, from here, this is nowhere near as heavy as the maudlin material that had come before. Largely gone are the elements lent from Avant-garde or Black Metal. This track is minimal, yet big (a feat), building with more emotion and swelling into the shred of the guitar solo to the middle. And it is at that point that it falls away. Darkness. A queer void of frenetic rhythms and strange vocals (I like). Given the start, if you were shown this without the context of the album, and certainly outside the context of maudlin's material in general, it would be a bit of a shock (a mellow shock, but still).

"Rose Quartz Turning to Glass" begins with oblique drumming and strings. It breathes. It descends in the middle section into a slow solo violin. With the soft inclusion of guitar, it really feels very cinematic. Wild drums and snarling wordless vocals peak to the actual lyrics of the track. A great track, but one that will likely require numerous listens to appreciate greater.

This last track is juxtaposed by the rough, even metal--for the first instance on the album--start of "Clover Garland Island", which within 2 minutes morphs into something even more 'other'. The guitar solo around 2:20 sounds like something out of classic Fusion. Very well performed. Some interesting stutter-step rhythm here as well. Ominous, yet enchanting. maudlin does always supply these unique elemental combinations, presented to us in such a unique fashion that, to me, it's hard to say where it's all coming from. This really is a unique listening experience. I can say that much.

And this has all culminated to the second mini-epic (at nearly 12 minutes), "Laboratories of the Invisible World" . Thematically, all seems so personal, reflective, close. After 2 and a half minutes, the second section of this track begins, the second moment (only) where we see a glimpse into their metallic past. But even it is matched with other things, like Jazz and psychedelia. The soft, interlaced and haunting vocals around 4:00 actually reminded me of Acquiring the Taste! Again, so unique! And the build around the middle.... Woo!!! So epic, so dark. Actually these sonic choices brought classic Heavy Metal to mind! A helluva way to go out. My favorite track, for sure.

This is a great listening experience. Still for fans, generally, of the Avant-Garde.

 Leaving Your Body Map by MAUDLIN OF THE WELL album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.16 | 350 ratings

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Leaving Your Body Map
Maudlin Of The Well Experimental/Post Metal

Review by DangHeck

4 stars I dunno... You figure it out...

Well, this feels like a long time coming. A lot of the better-regarded albums that I've known about for years certainly feel that way (and certainly I don't hide that I take my time and don't prioritize listenings like most). On to the review! haha

Jumping into records like this one, you just don't know what you're getting yourself into, and that's quite exciting to me. The sonic assortment you can find on this album ranges from jazzy Blackgaze (like if Black Metal was welcomed into Exotica Lounge?), cool yet simultaneously blazing Post-Hardcore (a sure highlight is "Gleam in Ranks"), wavering and unpredictable Post-Metal (see "Bizarre Flowers / A Violent Mist"; the end of which features a beautiful and relatively reserved, shredded guitar solo, followed by ethereal, melodic vocals reminiscent to me of CYNIC), and acoustic Classical (see "Sleep Is A Curse", possibly the least surprising song, compositionally).

I wasn't expecting to agree with the now 15-year-old review headline by user chamberry ("Good luck finding an audience..."). I'm unsure exactly who (especially at the turn of the millennium when this was released) would be interested in this album (I definitely know a few nowadays that might), especially with an opener like "Stones Of October's Sobbing". I'm unsure half the time how I even feel about all of this! I'm awe-inspired, for sure. And I'd say that's positive haha. The funny thing is that this sort of confusion comes as no surprise to me. A well constructed album though, in my opinion. The reprieve offered by tracks like "Interlude[s] 3" and "...4" is a welcomed surprise. Not surprising that they have the know-how or the (is it) wisdom(?) to place these as they did. Just glad to see it. Also a funny little quip, because... where are "Interlude[s] 1" and "2"?

Not a favorite of mine, but the creepy whisperings on the backend of the "The Curve That To An Angle Turn'd" reminded me of elements from Kate BUSH's The Ninth Wave (the exemplary, epic and, at times, dark-as-night second half to her beloved 1985 studio album Hounds of Love). I'll take it. Plenty of this album leaves me...unsettled... such as the beginning of "Riseth He, The Numberless, Pt. 2.", with far-off wailings of... I don't know who. I'm not sure if there's supposed to be a takeaway haha.

Overall, the production is very nice, showing off the whole space of the project from track to track. Open yet full. And the more unorthodox sonic choices (maudlin introduced to us as "Metal"), like bells, whistles, trumpet, flute and clarinet, really add to the ominous and free feeling of the near-genre-less offerings.

Personal Highlight Tracks: T3, T7

 Part the Second by MAUDLIN OF THE WELL album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.22 | 739 ratings

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Part the Second
Maudlin Of The Well Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Maw The Void

5 stars Maudlin Of The Well - Part The Second

One of the best comeback albums ever. Maudlin Of The Well released eight years before two connected records, Bath and Leaving Your Body Map, after that the band had no record activity until Part The Second, where they elevated their music and made it far more ambitious, increasing the average song length, while somehow making it more compact. Every song explores multiple ideas, while moving seamlessly from one section to the other. The songs can be very heavy or spacey and atmospheric.

This record is to Post-Metal what Lift Your Skinny Fingers Like Antennae To Heaven is to Post-Rock. It's an essential record to its genre.

 Part the Second by MAUDLIN OF THE WELL album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.22 | 739 ratings

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Part the Second
Maudlin Of The Well Experimental/Post Metal

Review by koresea

5 stars A relaxing experience mixed with perfectly balanced moments of heaviness and energy, this is in my opinion the summary of what this album is. The songs are all long but never feel "too long" or boring to listen to, the atmospheric guitars all go slowly driving us to a peaceful mood, the inclusion of violins strength this element.

Most of the songs have moments of a burst of energy, especially "Another excerpt" with an awesome guitar solo in the middle of the song, the last song too inserts this same energy to the album which creates a variation inside the work that makes me keep invested in what is coming next.

Finally, I should comment on the vocals, who are only present in short sections inside the music but are always technically and lyrically impactful, creating the same sense of variation that the instruments make.

Definitely one of the best post-metal albums, in fact, is quite hard to tell that this is a "metal album" because of the slow pace and various experimental elements that are inserted into it, but independent of the labels that we insert here the quality of the work is great and is a "must-listen". 5 stars

 Bath by MAUDLIN OF THE WELL album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.19 | 327 ratings

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Bath
Maudlin Of The Well Experimental/Post Metal

Review by progtime1234567

5 stars This album is the companion album to Leaving your body map, which makes the two a double album essentially. I listened to the Leaving your body map album first even though this one is the first one, and I noticed that Leaving your body map was considerably heavier and more metallic than Bath. The saxophone and other jazz instruments combined with the long, otherworldy songs combined with the occasional death metal riff and various, diverse vocal techniques make the album sound like it wasn't even written by humans, but by aliens, hence the otherworldy style and feel of the music. Toby Driver and friends offer a large plate of diverse music styles, dynamics, instruments, vocal techniques, and rhythms that will take the listener on an out of body trip through space and time. Not only are Bath and Leaving your body map seminal experimental/avant-garde rock, metal, jazz, and sometimes ambient pieces of music, they are masterpieces of progressive rock music and even music as a whole. MAUDLIN OF THE WELL really need more exposure, because the music they create will offer an astral experience for everyone, and everything.
 Leaving Your Body Map by MAUDLIN OF THE WELL album cover Studio Album, 2001
4.16 | 350 ratings

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Leaving Your Body Map
Maudlin Of The Well Experimental/Post Metal

Review by progtime1234567

5 stars I listened to this album because I wanted to hear more post metal and avant metal. I was very impressed with this album. The album mixes death metal, and acoustic passages together sort of like OPETH but it sounds nothing like OPETH. It also reminded me of MR BUNGLE but again it sounds nothing like MR BUNGLE. The instrumentation and the vocals on the album are very good and the presence of different vocal styles are always great for progressive metal albums. The softer acoustic songs paired with the faster heavier songs make this album a trip to listen to, taking the listener through different moods and trips all throughout the album. You never know whats going to come next on this record.
 Part the Second by MAUDLIN OF THE WELL album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.22 | 739 ratings

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Part the Second
Maudlin Of The Well Experimental/Post Metal

Review by Luqueasaur

5 stars Hard to Find Long Convoluted Names Crueler Than Part The Second's, Or, 100,000 Years of Cosmic Farewell By The Band: 10/10

Claiming to derive inspiration from the astral plane, maudlin of the Well does not compose songs, they find them. Whatever the hell that's supposed to mean.

Well, you see, that phrase is useful because it prepares you, the eager and curious listener, for the adventure you're about to embark: a remarkably spiritualistic and delicate album. When we're talking about this sort of soul-ly jazz, you're supposed to expect songs that calls for emotions, reflections, awe in front of a beauty you can't describe, sehnsucht, and etc. Which is what happens with PART THE SECOND.

What is interesting is that it no longer feature the trademarked "soft 'n' heavy" transitions that made maudlin so popular. Instead, it's completely focused on rock-ish compositions, and rightfully so, as they deliver a splendidly well-constructed, melodic, and simply beautiful masterpiece that couldn't be achieved with such success had it metaller roots.

Each track flows comfortably, each riff plays in accordance with the melody, ... and so forth. And, speaking of melody (or, rather, of composition qualities in general), don't be fooled if you're thinking this is some sort of minimalist bullscheiss, 'cause it ain't; the songs are multi-layered and relatively complex. Pianos play along violins, drums, guitars and whatnot. And it all culminates in lighthearted, intense and sincerely beautiful musical creations that are apt to create smile on the frownymost faces. And, basically, that's why the effectiveness of PART THE SECOND lies on denying heavier compositions and moods - it just wouldn't be able to deliver such an introspective and surrealistic journey if you had a dude growling at your face.

Also, if you like the usage of violins or pianos to evoke emotional responses, you're in for a treat. If you don't, well, you're in nonetheless, cause Matsumiya's violins will certainly make you do. If you like free albums, surprise surprise you're in as well, because this baby is found completely for free in their site! Including, as accompaniments, the surrealistic and childish-esque artwork to assist you on your journey of immersion within maudlin of the Well's lucid dreaming farewell that is PART THE SECOND.

 Part the Second by MAUDLIN OF THE WELL album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.22 | 739 ratings

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Part the Second
Maudlin Of The Well Experimental/Post Metal

Review by HarmonyDissonan

5 stars I am writing this as someone who hasn't actually heard this for a few years now but I do remember that I liked it a lot! As a matter of fact I've been on the hunt for a semi-reasonably priced copy since hearing it. After checking everywhere I knew of, I wasn't able to find a material copy of the cd for under $100 US dollars! Well if there is anyone else who has been in the same boat as I was, dive out and swim (If you can swim that is-something I personally never learned how to do.) to shore, the might shores of Amazon and race to get your own copy! I was amazed to see some on sale at an average price today, so I picked up two from two different vendors! I don't know if a label picked up the license and made some copies or if someone found some in a cellar somewhere? All I know is that there seems to be some copies available at natural prices! I just wanted to inform anyone that might be interested in this formerly rare recording. So if you have been looking for a copy, now's your chance! I'm stoked!

Take care and enjoy God's good gift of music everyone!

Thanks to useful_idiot for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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