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Maudlin Of The Well - My Fruit Psychobells... A Seed Combustible CD (album) cover


Maudlin Of The Well


Experimental/Post Metal

3.65 | 113 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars When 'My Fruit Psychobells...' was released, it was at a time when many other bands were experimenting liberally with the metal form. 1999 saw Norway in the thick of a significant "weirding" of their black metal roots. Maudlin Of The Well are from the U.S. but carry a similar spirit as the avantgarde of the Norwegian scene: Ved Buens Ende, Beyond Dawn, Arcturus, In The Woods, et al. But this debut certainly has its flaws, and would be bettered with the dual release of 2001's 'Bath' and 'Leaving Your Body Map'. (If you can't take a hint: get those first!).

Pinning the band's sound down is difficult, especially when it feels like even they don't really know exactly what they're after. I'm reminded of everything from My Dying Bride, Pink Floyd, Blue Oyster Cult, Coil and early Anathema when I listen to Maudlin Of The Well, but it might be that they were going for something completely different than what that odd hybrid suggests. What we have here is a brave group of musicians setting out to challenge themselves. Their metal is thick and dark and droning, sometimes imposing ("Catharsis Of Sea-Sleep And Dreaming Shrines"), sometimes psychedelic ("A Conception Pathetic"). They reach into gothic realms ("Ferocious Weights"), modern heaviness (the Tool-ish vibes of "Pondering A Wall") and fragile melancholy ("Undine And Underwater Flowers"). Whatever they do, it's not like anything you've ever heard. The use of male and female vocals of various shades, clarinet and trumpet help flesh out the conventional guitars/bass/drums instrumentation. (No worries, prog purists, there are keyboards here too!) Of particular note is lead guitarist Greg Massi, who enters the halls of the GREAT purely due to his solo in album-ender "Blight Of River Systems", which possesses the fluidity and sublime melodic choices of a master like Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser of Blue Oyster Cult. (errrr...while I'm at it: why is Triumph on this site and BOC isn't???)

This album suffers in two areas: 1) the arrangements are a bit confused, but given the ambition they're throwing in, it's forgivable that they didn't get the songwriting right the first time. 2) the recording is thin with an inconsistent mix. It sounds like a demo. But the adventure and ambition pulls the album through, and can certainly be recommended to those who want their metal utterly weird. MOTW's formidable talent and vast idea pool would gel beautifully on their two 2001 albums, which I highly recommended. (If we have to do star rankings, and obviously we do on this site, then this should get no less than 3.5, but is just shy of deserving 4.)

slipperman | 3/5 |


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