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“Bath” is definitely one of the most unique and overall most memorable treasures in my metal collection. But that conclusion took me a while to completely realize. It took about 2 years to fully grow on me. “My Fruit PsychoBells” was my introduction to this wonderful band, and I got the other two albums in order after that. After I got this, I still liked the first album better for a while, but this is definitely now my favorite.
This album provides a bewildering, astronomical atmosphere like nothing else, I know I say that for a lot of things I’ve reviewed, but it’s always true (and each and every album has a different atmosphere). In this case, the super-heavy songs have an incredible atmosphere just as much as the more mellow ones. Like I have said about “My Fruit Psychobells,” the production is on the low-end, but it adds a certain eccentric, vintage, nostalgic feeling for some odd reason.
There is a truckload of diversity on this album. There’s everything from soft, jazzy, atmospheric ballads to bone-crushing heaviness containing growling vocals and both male and female clean vocals. There are some startling contrasts here, both on the album overall and within the same song. “They Aren’t all Beautiful” is probably the heaviest song here, starting out fatally brutal, then introducing a choppy, stop-and-start feel with little tiny mellow interludes before going into a pseudo-jazzy metallic instrumentation section. This isn’t one of my favorites though; the psychotic, hysterical screaming is a little much. “Heaven and Weak,” however, is a genius song that showcases the band’s extreme diversity in one. It starts off very mellow like an innocent fairytale, kind of jazzy and inconspicuous, and with a sudden wild guitar solo, backflips into a full-force neo-classic metal song. The best part, however, is about 6 minutes in, the fanatic, abrupt stopping, and quiet guitar plucking sneaking between the blaring drumming. FANTASTIC.
The next brilliant concoction this band has tossed into the metal cooking pot is a church organ. Doesn’t belong, you say? One listen to “The Ferryman” will change your mind once and for all. This exotic instrument preludes the song with a short, evil, witchcraft-esque overture, before relaxing into an innocent little jazzy “intermission” before suddenly being totally ravaged by ultra brutal, deep death growls and startling guitars, eventually adding female vocals and the return of the organ near the end, over all of the terrorizing harshness, resulting in one of the most awesome buildups ever and a roller coaster of a song.
The opposite side of the spectrum (softer songs) include “The Blue Ghost/Shedding Qliphoth” (whatever that’s supposed to mean), beginning this wondrous album with a delicate droplet of a guitar melody, eventually adding some saxophone, slowly blossoming its way to a supernatural wonder. The magnificent “Girl With a Watering Can” begins with a lone clarinet melody, and introduces very laid-back female vocals. The song progresses and gets slightly heavier, but not nearly as insanely heavy as previous songs - a good, solid, yet melodic heaviness that doesn’t get out of control. Toby’s vocals come in later along with some awesome soloing and shredding. “Geography,” the album’s closer, is a heartfelt goodbye; a very soft, melodious, slow-paced ballad that will leave the listener in awe and admiration.
I think fans of Devin Townsend, both his solo work and Strapping Young Lad would like this band. It’s different in many respects, but in a few subtle ways there are some similarities, most notably the quirkiness, diversity and experimentation. Enjoy.
Following Mauldin of the Well's discography after the rather obscure album about a psycho's fruit flavored bells and combustible seeds, the next albums in line are Bath and Leaving Your Body Map which were released simultaneously with switched artwork for some smug-ass reason; but let's focus on Bath right now. The basic idea on My Fruit Psychobells... is repeated here on Bath: make an experimental metal album, which basically means Toby Driver and his merry men wrote a bunch of songs of different genres and compiled them together on one album. This is not weird or quirky or experimental as the die hard fans claim. Individually, all the songs here make perfect sense and the album as a whole is just unfocused. And like I said in my previous review for this band, being unfocused isn't inherently a bad thing as long as the music can stay good; because on the other hand, the only original ideas here is putting completely different styles of music together on a single album, which isn't that special or worthy of praise on its own. The individual styles here have already been done by the likes of Porcupine Tree, Voivod, Mr. Bungle, and various others.
Otherwise though, this album can keep up with musically from that album about fruity bells as far as the shining style on that album was: the proggy, kinda sludgy post metal/rock, which has a major presence with songs like "The Blue Ghost/Shedding Qliphoth" and "Heaven and Weak" near the beginning of the album, the latter also containing some mid-era Voivod influenced thrash metal mixed in. Later, it gets even better with "Girl With a Watering Can"'s calm post metal passages and female vocals which eventually give way to slightly more aggressive riffing. Following that is "Birth Pains of Astral Projection" which follows the same style, but throws in keyboards instead of the female vocals. These two tracks are easily the highlight of the album.
But when Maudlin tries to sound heavier, this album begins to just fall flat. In my review for that album about a combustible seed, I called these sections third-rate death metal. Now, however, I think half-assed hardcore is a little more appropriate because that's what these influences really sound like now. They're not really death metal. They're also certainly not black metal despite that being what the band themselves label it as on the album's Bandcamp page. Only one song is played like this though: "They Aren't All Beautiful". The riffs are all over the place and aren't very enjoyable at all; the song as a whole is really the most out of place song on the album. Besides that, though, the only real complaint about their heavier attempts are the harsh vocals on "The Ferryman" which just sound forced and clash with most of the rest of the song.
But even that's not the worst part of Bath. Ironically, this album becomes the most unbearable when Maudlin tries to be too soft. The lyrics on this album are pretty flowery the whole way through, but "Marid's Gift of Art" and "Geography" are just monumental piles of cheese. Here's "Marid's Gift of Art":
"When you were a baby,
I told you that beauty came from the sea.
Now, when you touch me between the eyes,
I say, “Why?”
I never lie, but you won’t believe
I could make everyone so happy,
I could make everything beautiful, like you.
Clean, forever, just like you."
This combined with Jason Byron's clean vocals create a literal lullaby designed for preschoolers during nap time. It's sappy and it's as boring as the music that they go with which is soft rock. And again, the post rock they play on "The Blue Ghost/Shedding Qliphoth" sounds perfectly fine, but on "Marid's Gift of Art" and "Geography it just sounds like an unwanted field trip to sippy cup mountain.
The goods may slightly outweigh the bads on Bath, but not enough to warrant a recommendation for the whole album. Listen to "A Girl with a Watering Can", "The Blue Ghost/Shedding Qliphoth", "Heaven and Weak", and "Birth Pains of Astral Projection". Ignore everything else. That's the bad thing that usually comes with an unfocused album: inconsistent quality. Maudlin of the Well would do a lot better if they picked one good style and stayed with it instead of jumping around everywhere like an inexperienced multitasker.
Maudlin of the Well is one incredibly unique band. They include everything a metal lover could want in their music, with music genres from death metal to jazz to prog. Out of their four albums I've listened to, "Bath" is their best work. Unfortunately, they aren't together or they're just on indefinite hiatus. Either way it sucks because MotW is an amazing band who I'd love to see more albums from.
Anyway, "Bath" starts off with the song "The Blue Ghost/ Shedding Qliphoth". Goddamn is this song calm. There's a nice subtle touch of jazz throughout the song. The song fades out, then when you think it's over, bam...it gets extremely loud and aggressive. Next, we have "They Aren't All Beautiful". Death metal and jazz fans will enjoy this song. The song starts up as straight up death, but slowly transitions into more of a jazz sound, then back into death near the end. "Heaven and Weak" is third song on "Bath". This song is fucking twisted and is yet another slow starting song that progressively gets heavier. Fourth comes "Interlude One". This song is a short instrumental with an eerie wah'd sound affect from the guitar along with acoustics and a stand- up bass (at least that's what it sounds like, but I'm not to sure if it's a stand up. Oh well.)
Fifth is the infamous song named "The Ferryman". The song starts off with a dirge for the first 40 seconds, then goes into a drum opening on cymbals. Yet again another slow begin. It then progresses into a slow death song and speeds up. Next is "Marid's Gift of Art"
which begins with water being splashed around in a bath tub? Very different. This is a nice little song with a nice acoustic melody with clean vocals with a trumpet softly playing in the background, a cello, and the stand-up bass. Now we have what is in my opinion the best song on the album, "Girl With A Watering Can". It starts out with a clarinet opening, then goes into the clean, amazing voice of the female singer and a nice soothing guitar riff. Then halfway through it changes to the clean vocals of the male singer. The song then has a short break, then gets heavier and transitions into a fucking amazing guitar solo.
"Birth Pains of Astral Projection" is the eighth song on "Bath". This song has some weird-ass guitar riffs, honestly. In fact, this whole song is weird. Another progressive death-styled song for you to enjoy. The ninth is "Interlude 2". Yay, another song with splashing water that matches how the stand-up bass is going with a nice little easy guitar riff and the slight playing of piano. Finally we have "Geography", a soft, slow song with amazing clean vocals.
I can go on forever about how amazing this album is, but then you wouldn't be able to hear this masterpiece. Please do yourself a favor, if you ever find this album, buy it. Money well spent. Also go buy any of their other albums because they're just as amazing. Bands like this come along once in a lifetime and I'm glad I've found this band. You'll be, too.
I was, as always, searching for some new interesting music to listen to. With the common metal bands I really have the feeling that I’ve pretty much heard everything. The structure of most metal songs are pretty much the same and the atmosphere of their songs are all sort of similar to each other. So I’m always searching for some progressive and/or experimental music. And so I found this band, Maudlin of the well.
So I was looking at their album list and somehow the album “Bath” really got my attention. I played the very first song named: “The blue ghost/shedding Qliphoth”. And I can say this is pretty much the best intro song for a prog band ever made. It has a masterful structure and the atmosphere is really… vague. The song builds up to this peak, and that was the first time that I came while listening to this album.
The rest of the songs on this album are all different from each other, sure there are some similarities such as very abrupt style changes (from jazz to death metal in the ferryman) but most of it is really different. They really have used a lot of different music genre’s in this album and all of those genre’s flow really smoothly through each other. And that’s what I’m looking for in a band, music that has its own sound and technique but still every song is different from each other. And I think this is what Maudlin of the well has done very well in this album.
Then I have to make another compliment, about the singers: Jason Bryon and Maria-Stella Fountoulakis. The problem with very much bands is their vocals, the singer can grunt and/or growl pretty good but they can’t sing clean for shit. Luckily for us there is Maudlin of the well. Both singers in this band really can sing. Jason’s voice has a very wide horizon: He can sing very soft and spacey like in “heaven and weak” but if you listen to songs like “they aren’t all beautiful” and “the ferryman” you can hear his incredible deep and controlled grunts/growls. And when you listen to the song “The ferryman” you can hear the voice of Maria-Stella for the first time on the album. Her voice is really clean and beautiful, but her voice also has some kind of spookyish tone in it, and that just really fits the music.
So to summarize:
For all of those who really enjoy progressive music, this is an album that you MUST listen to. It’s like eating a big pizza on a sunny day. The first song is just like opening the paper box of your pizza, really magical. Then the second song is your very first bite in the pizza, you think DAMN that’s hot but it tastes very good. The third and fourth song is like getting some drink by your pizza, a kind of relaxing moment. Then the ferrymen comes and takes you away on this really vague but beautiful quest. So you travel with him through time and space on his ferry boat. You get to know this awesome lady with a watering can. But then your remember you have a pizza at home that’s getting cold. The eight song of the album and the following interlude are your way back to earth. And when you are back with both feet on the ground you finish your pizza and thinks: Damn I’m still hungry, I’ll order another one.
One point of criticism: I really HATE the artwork, I think I doesn’t fit the music at all.
But all in all… I really enjoyed this bath.
With the internet nowadays, it almost seems as if even the most underground bands can't possibly be forgotten. In real life, you don't find yourself joining a cult following almost immediately with a group of random people like you would on the internet. This seems rampant, and just that following is enough to keep any subject matter- person place, thing, or idea alive.
One can say that maudlin of the Well were almost forgotten. The thousand pound, seemingly invisible legacy of this band was held above nothingness by none other than their band's genius creator, Toby Driver all the while building his new band, Kayo Dot. The building of this new entity was a double-edged sword for maudlin of the Well in that it saved them from total obscurity, but in the shadow of the not-by-much-but-more-popular Kayo Dot.
I was one of the few who heard of maudlin of the Well by word of mouth, and before Kayo Dot. I brushed them aside until nearly a year and a half later when I began to understand and like the mystical brand of avant-prog metal they brought to the table. I had only the first track from the album Bath, "The Blue Ghost/Shedding Qliphoth". Since this is what I knew of them, I started there.
Bath is unlike any album you will ever listen to. It has the uncanny ability to get inside your head and suck you into its multiverse all at once, and the aforementioned first track sets it off perfectly. The song is instrumental, and gradually builds up with reassuring cries from the trumpet. The acoustic guitar melodies soothingly descend into the background, and are probably even more chilling at times than the slowly building climax that explodes into an orgasmic euphoria.
Each track following this one is different, unexpected, and absolutely needed for this album's perfection. The lyrics are beyond surreal, Toby Driver's vocals, especially when he is cleanly singing, are haunting, innocent, and beautiful all at once. He made a good move by putting some of his harsh vocal-driven songs up front, because later you realize that after his monstrous screams, he is just as much a gentle giant.
As the album progresses, it loses its physical form, and becomes almost entirely spiritual. I highly recommend listening to this album when you are sleeping. That's an entirely different experience that you must feel for yourself. Toby Driver and Greg Massi's beautiful, interlocking guitar melodies are like one hypnotic device.
"Girl With A Watering Can" could be considered one of their most exemplary songs, as it combines most of the elements you'd hear throughout the album. Ironically enough (at least towards the song title), this song introduces the beautiful voice of Miss Maria-Stella Fountoulakis, who puts an entirely different, and calming mood to an increasingly intensifying song. Accompanied by the flute and clarinet work of Terran Olson recalling moments from the album's genesis, this song couldn't be any more dreamy. The one thing that you can completely expect from this album is that it will take you to uncharted territories that you won't want to come down from.
This is unlike any release from any progressive metal band. If you're turned off by the pompousity by most things progressive, don't turn this album down, as it will be one of the biggest regrets you will ever have. This band exemplifies the true meaning of being a "progressive" band; that it's not all about wanky five minute solos that go nowhere, but literal progression and bringing new things to the table. Don't let this band be forgotten. If you do, you may have to leave your body map to find it again...
This album is the counter partner for the album “Leaving Your Body Map”, both albums by the wonderful prog-death band maudlin of the Well. It’s a hard decision whether to decide which album is the better one so I won’t make it. This one is perhaps the most accessible album of the 2 but it isn’t really saying much since it’s still pretty darn complex music full of layers and extremely well done musicianship.
Maudlin of the well is an 8-piece avant-garde metal band led by multi-instrumentalist Toby Driver. Their way of making music is based on playing with each other and just let the music come out. Basically a jam, but in this band they sometimes dream the songs before making it. Being a band with so many members and instruments it’s a logical conclusion that its sound is quite unique especially since there are a lot of flutes and horns in the band.
The album starts of with a post-rock kind of song. There are no lyrics here just music but it sure is a beautiful intro into the album, it was my first introduction in the band and I didn’t know what hit me when the next song started. First a riff with a menacing build up and a beautiful growl. After the instrumental first song the second song strikes you heavier than in any other context. The song gets rather complex with odd time signatures in the ends as well.
The next song starts rather relax as well only to pick up after about 4 minutes into one of the best metal riffs I have ever heard. An interlude, which is a fine piece of music as well, leads us into the next song which start after a strange organ intro. That intro it about the only thing I didn’t really like about this album because the next part of the song is again absolutely incredible.
The second half takes the cake though; it starts of with a very nice little mainly acoustic song, which takes the album into a rather different direction. It’s a direction which has a more fairytale mood, and perhaps a little more gothic. The song after the short one is dominated by female vocals. But they aren’t annoying as in most Gothic bands, but add a lot to the music. Up next is the grand epic centerpiece of the entire album: “Birth Pains of Astral Projection”. This song has about everything a song could wish for; it’s absolutely stunning and nothing less. After this gigantic masterpiece another interlude (which is less beautiful then the first one but rather happy and funny) makes way for another masterpiece of a song. It’s a rather short song but it’s nothing short of epic. It closes the album which is just over a hour long.
This really is essential listening album for every metalhead or prog-lover. I’d say you do need a acquired taste to like the death growls so it’s not for everyone but anyone with a sense for good music surely will appreciate this work of art.
Originally written for www.musicmademe.com
Maudlin of the Well can be defined as an "aquired taste" playing what is commonly referred to as "Avant Gardge Progressive Jazz Metal" and many listeners in the metal community at a first look may see this band's work as very diverse and hard to digest. If you're looking for your typical slayer, iron maiden, or testament album this is the last place to look. Maudlin of the Well's sound is a very unique arrangement of melodic death metal and progressive acoustic compositions.
Maudlin of the Well's sophmore disc "Bath" is an album that compliments their third and final album "Leaving Your Body Map" and of the two happens to be a much more melodic and tranquil album. Beginning with pieces like "The Blue Ghost - Shedding Qliphoth" enlightening the listener to a melodic almost jazzy piece, which builds up into a chaotic near death metal sound. This band truely goes all across the spectrum with this album, building up then dropping back into a progressive and thought provoking acoustic melodies.
Though while the compositions are interesting and thought provoking, and truely some of the most innovative material to surface among the heavy metal community in many years, there are also some flaws. Some of the songs tend to become quite repetitive and redunant before they hit the usual 8 minute mark. Listening to the album can be a challenge in itself without getting bored with some of the more melodic passages which some could say almost compete with some of opeth's works when it comes to long and redundant melodic passages.
Though in spite of some of the negatives with this release Maudlin of the Well's "Bath" album is truely one that I would recommend if you're interested in something new and unique, while keeping in touch with some very heavy elements. It's a very progressive album which envelopes into a very memorable sound and listening experience. Even if you dislike the band, it's still worth listening to and experiencing once.
Mentalselfmutilation - 8/10
Wow. What can I say about this album? It’s been one of my all time favorite albums since I discovered it around the time “Leaving Your Body Map” was released. Many of you know that “Bath” is the companion album to “Leaving Your Body Map” as the album art was reversed and they run the same length. Though these albums are similar, I believe that “Bath” is the “softer” counterpart to the “heavier” “Leaving Your Body Map.”
“Bath” takes me on a journey, from soft almost symphonic tunes to brutal yet complex semi-death metal, to acoustic arrangements, to Prog/Doom metal. One thing that’s good about the heavy parts of this album is that they’re almost all extremely complex; some using odd time signatures, some with thick atmospheric synths and guitar effects, its quite hard to explain, but you’ll understand after listening to it.
The “softer” songs include Heaven and Weak, Marid's Gift of Art, and Geography. Heaven and Weak starts off slow, somber, and includes a nice bass line, pianos, acoustic guitars, and very atmospheric electric guitars, but towards the end of the track it speeds up to what I think is a very groove-oriented verse, using an odd time signature. This is by far one of my favorite tracks on the album.
Marid's Gift of Art, its an ok song, though I don’t think it stands out.
Geography is a totally acoustic song, very angst ridden, but it’s a nice departure, and ends “Bath” well.
The “heavier” songs on this album aren’t really all that heavy, but that’s a matter of opinion for everyone. These tracks are They Aren't All Beautiful, The Ferryman, Girl With a Watering Can, and Birth Pains of Astral Projection.
They Aren't All Beautiful is a song that doesn’t really fit well on the album, it sounds like they where trying to venture out in to some death metal type stuff with this song, and though it doesn’t fit in very well, its still an awesome song. It’s not all that complex until the breakdown, but that doesn’t say much.
The Ferryman is an average song. I think the organs at the beginning are a bit much, but I think it fits well with the rest of the song, give it a “gothic-like” feel to it, but maybe that’s just the female vocals, which are very beautiful.
The Girl with a Watering Can reminds me of The Ferryman, and is an above average song, mostly for the guitar solo towards the end.
Birth Pains of Astral Project is by far the BEST song on the album. This song pretty much fueled my interest for MotW/Kayo Dot. It has everything in the song like organs, doom metal passages, screams and clean singing, and exceptional guitar work. The only thing I missed was an acoustic guitar (that I noticed at least). The best thing about this song has to be the guitars. The guitars in this song are complex, but are unnoticeable until the intro-solo and the outro-solo. The only bad thing I have to say about this is the doom metal part is a little long, and starts to get boring, but that happens often when songs are 10+ minutes.
Maudlin of the Well also likes to indulge in instrumental songwriting. This isn’t always a good idea, but they all add to the album.
The Blue Ghost/Shedding Qliphoth starts off simple, and gets very atmospheric and dense by the end.
Interlude I is one of my favorite tracks on this album as well, hard to describe, though its very melodic and the electric guitars work well with the acoustic guitars and the exotic drumming and bass.
Interlude II is pretty much a bass like with sounds of water. It makes me feel like I’m fishing. Yay.
The bad parts:
Lyrics – They get pretty angst-ridden, at least too much for my tastes.
Boring – Some of the songs get boring after listening to the album a couple of times, maybe it’s the length, but I doubt it.
Length – I normally don’t find length to be such a bad thing, but I think they tacked a lot of it on just for atmosphere.
Stand out Tracks:
Heaven and Weak
Birth Pains of Astral Projection
I was first introduced to Maudlin of the Well by way of a sampler CD packaged with "a certain high-profile Canadian metal magazine" about two years ago. The song that would catch my ear would be "They Aren't All Beautifull"(I remember thinking of it as a proggy Opeth song), off(one of) their 2001 release(s) entitled "Bath". Finally hearing the entire album this year, I can only say "why the hell didn't I pick this up earlier?!?!?", as I have truly been missing out on one of the most challenging listens I've ever come across. It's almost as if I needed to prepare for what this disc has in store; that being a complete journey through the emotional spectrum, set to some great progressive metal! Not at all what I was expecting, "Bath" has some great surprises lurking within for the newcomer, such as the aforementioned "...Beautifull", set up by the haunting seven-plus-minutes long intro. piece "The Blue Ghost/Shedding Qliphoth". Finishing up the first "act" is "Heaven and Weak", a twisting-and-turning piece that goes from
a melancholy intro. to dark prog a la Tool or an evil-sounding Dream Theatre(with a faster midsection thrown in for good measure). The rest of the album seems to fall in the vein of one the previously mentioned songs; either melancholy and quiet, progressive and technical or just plain heavy(although the latter is in short supply here - sorry, death metal fans!). Which leads to my only beef with this record(and perhaps the band in general, although this has been my only exposure to Maudlin); despite the talent displayed by all members, I can't help but feel a certain lack of continuity throughout the album. Maybe I'm missing something here(I'm more a fan of traditional, thrash and death metal), but that notion always creeps up on me whenever I pop this disc in my stereo. Besides that, I can't come up with any other complaints to be aired. So for those out there looking for either a more original take on prog. metal, or just something to wrap your soon-to-be-confused noggin around, I suggest an evening with Maudlin. Those of the ADD persuasion need not apply.
Maudlin of the Well (furthermore referred to as MotW) have made their place as one of the best Progressive Metal groups out there, and this CD is a perfect showcase.
First I will explain. This CD, Bath, is the first part of 2 CDs which are meant to be listened to together. The second part is "Leaving your Body Map" The odd thing is, they did not sell these as a double disc, but they were released together... MotW has stated that there is some sort of secret message in the album that is made by a certain pattern they follow in their songs. I haven't figured it out, nor know anyone who has.
MotW are a band that are all over the place. You will never be able to guess what will happen in a song next... Out of nowhere in the most relaxing part of a song, they can go into a loud and doomy part, and vice versa.
The album starts off with a nice relaxing intro, and goes into the first real track of the album, "They aren't all Beautiful" which is a very dark and doomy song. Next in line is "Heaven and the Weak." This song is a perfect showcase of MotW's style. It bounces back and forth from doomy, to clean, to relaxing, and back again. The rest of this album continues back and forth through the many different emotions MotW puts forth.
The most notable track on the album is "Birth Pains of Astral Projection"
This song is one of, if not THE best song I have ever heard... and that is up there with Dream Theater "A Change of Seasons" and Edge of Sanity's "Crimson"
Birth Pains features a very relaxing intro, fading into a great doomy part, which goes into a nice clean part, and an incredible solo. this song is basically everything you'd ever want in a song in just one package!
I CANT give a review without having at least a couple negative things about a CD...
One thing I didn't like about this CD is that they had a LOT of time wasted by effects (such as the 2 or so minutes of water splashing at the end of "The Sign of Four" and the beginning of "The Ferryman") and the final track "Geagraphy" has a lot of silence at the end. This was intentionally done to make both "Bath" and "Leaving your Body Map" the same exact length, so I guess it's alright.
Also the Vocals were only above average, everything else is about as good as it gets though.
I highly suggest getting this album, especially if you are a fan of true prog. It will not disappoint.