Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography


Maudlin Of The Well

Experimental/Post Metal

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Maudlin Of The Well My Fruit Psychobells... A Seed Combustible album cover
3.64 | 125 ratings | 7 reviews | 14% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

Write a review

from partners
Studio Album, released in 1999

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Ferocious Heights (7:35)
2. A Conception Pathetic (7:03)
3. Undine and Underwater Flowers (8:46)
4. The Ocean, The Kingdom, and the Temptation (11:21)
5. Pondering a Wall (6:20)
6. Catharsis of Sea-Sleep and Dreaming Shrines (9:33)
7. Blight of River Systems (5:50)

Total Time: 58:24

Bonus tracks on 2007 & 2012 reissues:
9. Beauty (8:39)
10. The Crystal Margin (3:23)

Line-up / Musicians

- Toby Driver / guitar, bass, keyboards, clarinet, vocals
- Greg Massi / lead guitar
- Jason Byron / keyboards, vocals
- Andrew Dickson / drums
- Jason Bitner / trumpet

- Maria-Stella Fountoulakis / vocals
- Sky Cooper / guitar solo (3)

Releases information

Artwork: Toby Driver

CD Dark Symphonies ‎- Dark 6 (1999, US)
CD Dark Symphonies ‎- Dark 6 (2007, US) Remastered with 2 bonus tracks
CD Blood Music ‎- BLOOD-012 (2012, Finland) With 2 bonus tracks

Thanks to useful_idiot for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy MAUDLIN OF THE WELL My Fruit Psychobells... A Seed Combustible Music

MAUDLIN OF THE WELL My Fruit Psychobells... A Seed Combustible ratings distribution

(125 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(14%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(49%)
Good, but non-essential (31%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

MAUDLIN OF THE WELL My Fruit Psychobells... A Seed Combustible reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by slipperman
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.)

Review by Trickster F.
4 stars What one may hear in the album may not be fascinating at all: it initially seems be a raw, badly written and producted release by an unexperienced group. I, however, didn't mind all the negative responses and got this album to hear what the music was like when it all started ofr this truly unique collective. Now, the first listen didn't seem quite promising: some parts seemed badly crafted, some too poppy, others just plain boring and unremarkable. It seemed right for me to turn on Bath or Leaving Your Body Map instead at the time, which, frankly speaking, are easier to listen to and comprehend (though by no means accessible in the usual meaning of the word). It wasn't until one day when I was in the mood for giving this album another listener and, fortunately, that time I "got" it and since then I listen to it just as much as its successors.

The sound of the recording is indeed raw(not in the "grim" Black Metal way though, don't worry), however, you can hear every instrument just right and the atmosphere doesn't seem to suffer from it at all, and the bad production rather makes its more gloomy, mysterious and, at other times, beautiful. The album kicks in with Ferocious Weights(by the way, it's Weights, not Heights, as listed in the site's database) , which is an especially atmospheric song with both beautiful female vocals, Toby Driver's clean singing, which surprisingly doesn't sound all that much worse if compared to latest efforts, nicely composed guitar parts in accompaniment with trumpets. The song can be called both doomy and gothic, without being any extreme, unlike a few other tracks on the album. There is a part that really remins me of King Crimson's more heavy complex stuff, which is never a bad thing. A ballsy guitar solo seems out of place at first, but I have got used to it ever since I understood that that's exactly the point to shift moods so often unpredictably. After all, after additional listens the solo seems kinda explained as far as the mood of the song goes, which, once again, proves the group's classification of being an Astral Metal group that uses signs from above to compose their music. The clean, quiet part in the end after the wicked solo is astonishing. The next track is A Conception Pathetic - the first track on the album where the more extreme of the group is shown. It begins with an infected growl of the singer named Byron(not to be confused with any other Byrons)and a marvellous tech-metal part. It then leads into another quiet part, this time even more memorable, quite possible my favourite here, for it touches me appropriatly. The heavy parts would be more precisely described as Progressive Doomy Post-Rock rather than Tech-Metal though. Undine and Underwater Flowers is the next song and is also the easiest one to listen, being gentle, nice and even weak. The first 4 minutes can be found a bit repetitive and poppy, but they give me the chills. The second half of the song is an instrumental section which wonders in the jazzy post-rockish field before going into the longest track on the album - The Ocean, The Kingdom, and the Temptation. This is one does not hurry anywhere and sets probably the most magnificent vibe out of all the tracks on the album. One of the parts of this epic sounds like it escaped from one of My Dying Bride's early records, such as As The Flower Withers and even earlier material of the British doomsters. Overall, this is one of the songs responsible for my position on calling this a Heavy Post-Rock record. Seriously, this is close to the type of music Pelican and Isis would be making a few years later. Pondering a Wall - the next track - has once again a remarkable atmosphere to it. I guess, if you've already heard Leaving Your Body Map, then you could say this is the album's Gleam In Ranks, starting eerie and leading into a noisy section. The last half of the song sounds a bit bizarre with Maria-Stella's unique singing. Toby does an unusual vocal performance as well. Catharsis of Sea Sleep and Dreaming Shines(it's Shines not Shrines)is my favourite song on the album and I can't help but go into comparisons again. The beginning sounds like something that would fit really well on Dan Swano's Moontower, which if my memory serves me correctly, was released the same year - "cookie monster" vocals meet a pretty melody. There is another MDB-ish part, which shows the impact they had on avant- garde metallers of the 90's(come on, why isn't My Dying Bride listed in this archive?). Blight of River Systems closes the album and it is my least favourite song on the record. The singing is too poppy for my tastes, the music is composed worse compared to the previous tracks, despite the great rhythm section. However, the two-minute guitar solo in the end literally saves the album from ending shamelessly. To me the album is, although not perfect, but close to perfection this song being the main fault. There is supposedly an 8th track on the CD, which has just whispering and giggling, so if you haven't got that one, don't worry as you're not missing much.

The inevitable conclusion, therefore, is that this is an excellent debut for the group that still had a lot to compose and will hopefully keep releasing amazing albums under the new name. This is not the best place to be introduced to the group's music. For beginners I suggest Bath for all listeners and Leaving Your Body Map for fans of more extreme music. However, no matter how much you enjoy either of the two, do not make the same mistake I did - do not underestimate this release. This could also be one of the first Post-Metal records to be releases ane the sound is surely unique. Moreover, I also have a feeling fans of Devin Townsend's Terria and Ocean Machine will absolutely love this album. Not an absolute masterpiece, but an excellent addition to any prog collection nonetheless, despite the inaccessibility.

Review by sleeper
4 stars My Fruit Psychobells... a Seed Combustible is the opening gambit of avant-metalers maudlin of the Well, recorded in and whilst the majority of the band members were students at New Hampshire College, is best described as a diamond in the rough. Of the bands three albums this one is the most heavy metal like, the bluesy and acoustic passages and songs would become prominent features later, but this is still an impressive and experimental take on prog metal eclipsing allot of what other bands where doing at the same time. The guiding hand of Toby Driver takes the songs through powerful death metal, to slower, almost drowning, doom metal and into a soft rock type of play with weird hybrids of all three in-between and blues/jazz elements thrown in for enhancement. The music and composition has a raw and unexperienced feel to it all which means that, brilliant as a lot of it is, they cant quite be held up to the very high quality that would be attained on Bath/Leaving your Body Map. This is typified in the fact that some of the dynamic changes in the music don't quite have the maximum effect and can seem almost clunky. I haven't heard the original '99 release of My Fruit Psychobells..., but I'm told the 2007 release (which I own) has a much higher sound quality to it. Having said that, the sound isn't anything special, all the instruments seem to be blurred together here and the bass is far too low in the mix most of the time, a great shame because Driver is brilliant bass player, though I've heard albums with much worse production (Soft Machines Third, for example). The bonus tracks (Beauty and The Crystal Margin), both from early recording sessions of the band, are a bit hit and miss, both have a markedly lower production quality with a definite DIY feel to them. Beauty is a track that probably should have been included on the album in the first place, but The Crystal Margin doesn't do much for me unfortunately. Between Blight of River Systems and Beauty, however, is an untitled track that consists of 2 minutes of laughter, very annoying. Overall an impressive debut that will surely appeal to fans of avant metal, but don't bother until you have heard the superior Bath or Leaving your Body Map first.
Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars My Fruit Psychobells... A Seed Combustible is the debut studio album from experimental metal act Maudlin of the Well. Iīve read a lot about Maudlin of the Well in the last ten years but this is my first encounter with their music.

The music is very eclectic, drawing influences from many genres both within the metal genre and beyond the boundaries of that genre. Death metal, melodic metal, psychadelic rock, Avant garde rock and both growling, clean male vocals and female vocals. Maudlin of the Well is the kind of band that you canīt really catagorize. Personally Iīm in doubt if thatīs a strength or a weakness but if you like all sorts of genres mixed together this might suit your taste.

The musicianship is really good and itīs hard not to be impressed with the bandīs abilities to shift from one mood and genre to another throughout the songs.

The production is the biggest weakness on My Fruit Psychobells... A Seed Combustible. What a horrible sound. itīs really annoying and totally ruins my listening pleasure.

This is very intriguing music IMO. I might not enjoy every section on the album but Iīm entertained the whole time. Iīm missing a bit of cohesiveness in the compositions but Iīm sure that will come on the next albums. Iīm intrigued but not really excited so this is a 3 star rating.

Review by Conor Fynes
3 stars 'My Psychobells... A Seed Combustible' - maudlin of the Well (6/10)

Perhaps immortalized for their essential duology of albums 'Bath' and 'Leaving Your Body Map,' many fans of the group seem to forget about avant-garde metal act maudlin of the Well's debut. Although the group wouldn't release a well-rounded piece of work until the second album, the album mysteriously called 'My Psychobells... A Seed Combustible' is certainly worth looking into for the more devoted fans of the band's greater work. Sparing comparisons to other Maudlin records however, 'Psychobells' stands as being a very interesting record, despite having far too many flaws in it's production and execution to be anything really great.

'Psychobells' can be looked at from one of two ways; first as an exceptional demo, and secondly as a flawed album. Keep in mind that there is no short supply of brilliant composition here; maudlin of the Well had already developed their charming sense of 'weirdness' early on, and Toby Driver's brilliance is shown early on. However, the way the album was produced leaves a bit too much to be desired. While production quality is rarely of heavy importance to underground recordings, the garage-style sound of the album really hinders the otherwise strong compositions. Especially when using headphones, there is far too much of a treble presence in the mix, and it makes the sound seem very two dimensional and shrill. The songs at times cut off and unexpectedly segue into a new one, which seems more like a production error over a mere way to be 'avant.'

The performance of the music is alright, and while 'Bath' improved things greatly, 'Psychobells' isn't deterred by any significant instrumental errors. The vocals of Toby Driver himself though, seem very weak here, at times even sounding off-key; the rest of the vocal work here (both growls and female clean) are admirable and functional.

In any case, the trademark instrumentation of the band should be enough to get fans listening to this album. The album shows Maudlin's ability to merge psychedelic and metal influences as one, and make for a completely unique listening experience. While I consider this to only be an 'extended demo' of sorts for the group, maudlin of the Well shows promise here, and a potential that would be realized with 'Bath.'

Latest members reviews

5 stars I agree that this album seems raw and that the (excellent) musicians of the group were unexperienced when they recorded this album, but... This is in all terms an incredibly excellent album, for me at least it is. I wouldn't call it weird, only progressive, innovative or original. Maudlin of the ... (read more)

Report this review (#123216) | Posted by Eero | Thursday, May 24, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is the first Avant-garde band and album I ever listened to. It started a love affair with this kind of music that rages to this day. Anyway, the first thing the listener will notice is that the production is a little on the raw side. It takes some getting used to, but it shouldn't be a probl ... (read more)

Report this review (#112065) | Posted by Avantgardehead | Tuesday, February 13, 2007 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of MAUDLIN OF THE WELL "My Fruit Psychobells... A Seed Combustible"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.