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


Maudlin Of The Well


Experimental/Post Metal

4.22 | 685 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars 4.4 stars

A strange, otherworldly album. Headphones are essential.

Before getting into the music, I want to describe the story behind the album. The leader of this band had material and didn't get the funds needed to record that music. Fans of this band started donating money so that this project could be completed. After the album was recorded, it was released online for free since the project would not have materialized if it weren't for the fans. I found this to be an extraordinary story regarding true love for music.

As for the music, it is jazzy, elegant, unpredictable, avant-garde, and totally strange in places. During my first listen. I was overwhelmed with joy as I was hearing some of the most beautiful and creative music recorded in this decade. Remember the joy when you first heard your current favorite album. I had the same feeling. Unfortunately, this is not an album that I come to often, so I downgraded my rating to 4 stars.

While the first song is likely to be the most accessible in the disc due to a lack of jarring changes in rhythm, it still offers a diverse palette of sounds. The first minute is a jazzy and acoustic theme of joy with Mia's violins making an entrance. It manages to immediately transition seamlessly into a slow and plodding section where the vocals start. The choruses liven up the mood and have magical vocal harmonies. After the second chorus, the album loses all predictability. The second half of this song is dynamic with many interesting twists leading to a powerful finale.

The violin makes a stronger presence in "Another Excerpt", drawing you in from the start. The highlight for me in this track is the highly technical, yet elegant guitar solo halfway thru the track: it is truly magnificent. The second half of the song is truly unusual but not mindless. Underwater vocal effects, angular riffs, dissonant bass playing, and instruments noodling in the background.

The violinist takes the lead in "Rose Quartz" and delivers one of the best performances I know of involving this instrument. It initially dances around a very unique piano motif, then plays a somber solo, and finally it interacts with experimental guitars and bizarre vocalizations. The tom-driven percussion is very interesting throughout the first half of this song.

"Clover Garland Island" enters violently with dissonant guitar chords and crashing cymbals yet suddenly turns into a light jam reminiscent of Santana. Most of the track involves atmospheric soundscapes that are very effective in conjuring images.

"Laboratories of the Invisible World" is the last, and best track of the album. It is also the hardest to describe as it is quite revolutionary and unique. Truly an excellent effort that takes you to another world. It is very adventurous and has many twists and turns while being perfectly coherent. This is the heaviest song in the album and while it has heavy guitars scattered throughout the track, it feels very different from heavy metal music. It probably has more in common with adventurous post-rock or indie music, but stands out as if it were a genre invented by this band. When you expect the band to explode as a climax, the coda is actually driven by a relaxed beat. Truly spacey and extremely engaging. An elegant and jazzy piano signals an unexpected conclusion of a piece I consider among the best compositions of the decade.

It is a big surprise that a free album written for the fans could turn out to be so outstanding. While it not might be perfect due to the risky use of sudden changes in music as well as very dissonant passages, it is the adventurous nature of the album which helps make the project a success. "Part the Second" should be considered a very important event in music: a fan-funded work of art.

Zitro | 4/5 |


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