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Bath - 99%

Jochem, July 10th, 2006

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.

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