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


Maudlin Of The Well


Experimental/Post Metal

4.22 | 751 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
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.

DangHeck | 4/5 |


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