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The avant-garde opus begins with an ambient passage, the soft, jazzy strains of a trumpet the dominant sound. It’s supposed to be a metal album, you think, but you figure that this part is just an intro that sets up the rest of the album. A couple minutes in, the drums suddenly kick in and the song gets started, slow-paced and lazily plodding along. The trumpet is still there, joined by a guitar, and still, it doesn’t sound metal until the vocals come in. The vocalist begins death growling about the countryside, partially in old English, no less, and this makes it even stranger: a jazz ballad with some death metal vocals on top.
Stones of October’s Sobbing, the opener of Leaving Your Body Map (the second part in a pair of companion albums) provides a snapshot into the sound of avant-garde band Maudlin of the Well: eclectic, rule-bending, and above all, plain weird. They don’t restrict themselves to only songs like this, either, so LYBM is a diverse album. The amount of influences from all kinds of music, not limited to metal whatsoever, are incredibly high; you’ll hear jazz, acoustic rock/soft ballad-style songwriting (Sleep is a Curse), Asian music, funk, ambient, indie (Gleam in Ranks), death/gothic/doom metal, and probably even some that I’m missing. Either way, they are combined expertly and seamlessly, often subtly shifting between styles, or totally catching the listener off-guard with a random transition, or they’ll be played simultaneously, layered over each other. This makes for at the very least an interesting listen even if you don’t like it or avant-garde isn’t your genre of choice.
LYBM uses three vocal styles, male harsh and clean and female clean. The male singing tends to sound goofy but sweet fuck the harsh vocalist can scream, if only he would hold it out for longer and do it more. Maudlin unleashes their love of untraditional instruments; most notably present are trumpets, but bells, flutes, clarinets, and violas also have their place. The keyboards are designated to the background but add a touch of atmosphere where they are present, giving Bizarre Flowers/A Violent Mist a gothic yet warm feel and setting up Riseth He Numberless Part One for absolute metal chaos.
Numberless Part One is a certain highlight, the heaviest song on the album and one that has more of an impact because of this. The lyrics here are also the most metal on the album, and the demonic screaming that marks the transition between parts one and two adds to the effect. Monstrously Low Tide is another track from the heavier end of the spectrum, with a dense, bombastic intro that gives way to the peaceful remainder of the song. It closes the album with an ambient passage, much like the one that begins Stones of October’s Sobbing. LYBM contains two instrumental interludes that are also in more of an ambient vein, while incorporating other influences as well.
Leaving Your Body Map is delightfully strange, interesting, and original. The highlights are the three songs discussed in detail, but the whole album is worth listening to. I don’t know why LYBM has gathered so much less attention than its counterpart, Bath; honestly I prefer LYBM, and if you like one album, you’ll like the other. Maudlin of the Well’s style isn’t for everyone (as pretentious as that sounds), but if you are into avant-garde or looking to get into it, Leaving Your Body Map is a must-hear.
This is my favorite CD from this unique band. They have a special blend of death metal, emo, astral, avant-garde, jazz, progressive metal. They have lots of different instruments, like the trumpet and flutes, theres even some female vocals. Their songs could start out sounding mellow or jazz like then will drag you down into some heavy riffs and death metal growls.
Songs progress into different genres and sometimes you'll hear two different genres at the same time, such as in the first track, "Stones of October's Sobbing", a slow nice song at first that later turns into a death metal song with a hint of jazz in motion with the metal elements.
"Gleam in Ranks" is my favorite track off the whole album. Starts out smooth and ends with some pounding metal drums in the chorus. My other favorite song off this album is "Sleep is a Curse", there nothing metal here, it's just an acoustic guitar and good singing that later progresses with some violins, a very relaxing song.
Hard to compare this album with any other band, only band I could think of kind of similiar to this is Opeth but Maudlin of the Well is much more richer in diverse music genres. Sometimes when I'm listening to the album from start to finish, it amazes me a band doing some mellow song one minute starts coming up with some death metal the next then all of a sudden becomes some jazz band with trumpets.
This is an album anybody who appreciates music in general should enjoy and give credit to. You don't have to be exclusivley just a metalhead, emo kid, or adult contemporary fan, anyone who appreciates talent will gives props to this album.
The CD is also suppose to be a 2-disc album with their other CD, "Bath". When the two album are listened together, theres suppose to be some hidden message and at their mp3 site they have a secret untitled song that sums up the meaning or something.
Maudlin of the Well not only is good with blending genres of music but also at putting some meanings and relevance in their music, they are quickly becoming one of my favorite bands. They changed their name to Kayo Dot though, so keep an eye out for any releases from Kayo Dot, these guys are underground music at its best.