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4.16 | 61 ratings | 11 reviews
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Album · 2001


1. The Blue Ghost / Shedding Qliphoth (7:57)
2. They Aren't All Beautifull (5:36)
3. Heaven and Weak (7:42)
4. Interlude 1 (1:38)
5. The Ferryman (7:50)
6. Marid's Gift of Art (3:41)
7. Girl With a Watering Can (8:44)
8. Birth Pains of Astral Projection (10:34)
9. Interlude 2 (2:12)
10. Geography (5:00)

Total Time: 61:00


- Jason Byron / vocals, keyboards
- Toby Driver / vocals, guitars, bass
- Maria-Stella Fountoulakis / vocals
- Greg Massi / vocals, guitars
- Josh Seipp-Williams / guitars
- Jason Bitner / trumpet
- Terran Olson / vocals, clarinet, flute
- Sam Gutterman / drums, vocals

About this release

Dark Symphonies records

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What a difference listening to music on a good pair of headphones makes. I have only heard this album a handful of times and it never really grabbed me. In fact it was hard to even focus on it because the dynamics are either too soft or too loud and I guess I was also distracted by multi-tasking. Well, the thing about headphones is that all these sounds I didn't even notice before that are in the tapestry of this album are now plain as day and apparently critical to the enjoyment level of this album. So in effect this album has transmogrified itself in my mind from a complete dud to one that I find somewhat interesting.

Having said that, I am in the camp that this isn't as developed as the KAYO DOT albums that follow which I prefer to MAUDLIN OF THE WELL. This album does showcase some interesting diversity with all the instruments and adopted genres in the mix. I guess the parts I like the best are the jazzy, post rock extensions that are a melodic and dissonant playground while the times they take a stab at death metal I find a little disingenuous simply because I am too familiar with death metal and this just doesn't cut it for me. Those parts I do find interesting with the metal are the bits when the post rock and metal overlap somewhat.

I really want to like this more but for me this boils down to being simply an interesting prelude to the more interesting KAYO DOT projects that develop the avant-garde and everything is properly mangled together to my liking where the timings, the timbres and the atmospheres feel genuinely more bizarre and alien. I think the two Interludes are possibly my favorite tracks on here.
(Originally posted to Encyclopaedia Metallum: The Metal Archives;

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", 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 and stayed with it instead of jumping around everywhere like an inexperienced multitasker.

Name of the Examinee: maudlin of the Well - Bath

Date of Report: 7/16/2012

Examiner: Dr. Prog

Referral Question/Reason For Testing: Maudlin of the Well was referred to me by many of his friends after I had written a diagnosis of depression for him based on his work, Part the Second. His friends insisted I had misdiagnosed him, and if I would just give an evaluation based on his work in Bath, I would see why.

Examinee Background Information: Maudlin's works deal primarily with astral projection - he describes his approach to music as trying to "find" it rather than "compose" it. He actively practices the techniques of astral projection and lucid dreams, from which he claims to be able to "bring back" pre-existing music from the astral plane.

Notes from the Doctor's Examination: Maudlin came into my office, and he was quite calm at first. As we chatted, I was struck by an immediate sense of what an incredibly pleasant, calm, well-adjusted person he was, and after 7 or so minutes, I began to wonder if I had, indeed, misdiagnosed him, or perhaps he had undergone treatment and was cured. Then he began to describe to me some ideas of his that seemed a little out of the ordinary, though still coherent. However, his ideas began to make less and less sense, and then he abruptly underwent a dramatic personality change and became very agitated - his words flowing quickly in an angry tone. Over the course of the next few minutes, I began to feel as if I were talking to a completely different person than the one who had walked through my door a few minutes before. The ideas he expressed and the reasons for his anger seemed logical, but it was such a sudden transformation that I felt as one who had walked out of a movie to visit the loo during a quiet scene and returned to chaos, bewildered and confused as to what had occurred during my absence. As quickly as this started, it stopped, and he became unnervingly peaceful and calm again. He began speaking lovingly and peacefully to what seemed to be a child, much as a loving father would do. No sooner had this finished, than his character transformed once again into what I can only describe as the mythical creature: the faun. He pranced around the office as if he were dancing in a meadow for a few minutes...and then he stopped and his eyebrow raised in a somewhat sinister expression. Over the course of the next few minutes one of the strangest things I have beheld in my office occurred: it seemed I was witnessing two personalities manifesting themselves in the same person at the same time, both speaking simultaneously. Once again, he was instantly calm and collected. He spoke in a very normal, quiet tone, and the effect was eerie, after having witnessed the mood changes from moments before. But nothing could prepare me for what happened next - quite suddenly Maudlin screamed in quite a painful and frightening shriek, and then his voice took on a gutteral tone. It did not sound at all like I was speaking to the same person any more - at times his voice sounded like multiple voices at once, some screaming in pain, some growling in hatred, some quite sinister and others quite frightened out of their minds. I was quite frightened -frozen in place, unable to move or react. I wondered if I were witnessing a man possessed by another entity...or an even more horrifying idea: many entities. As suddenly as this had begun, Maudlin's personality once again changed quite suddenly and he resembled a sane, coherent, normal person. These dramatic changes convinced me beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was at the very least speaking to a very unstable man, one who was a danger to himself and to others. But this idea was not what had me frightened for my life, as I have seen many unstable patients before. What had me scared witless was what I had witnessed moments before - the only way I can describe what had transpired was that it seemed that Maudlin had been taken over and controlled for a few moments by a tortured, hateful creature whose only desire was to see all it came into contact with undergo the same pain and torture it had undergone. A being of pure spite and evil who had no logic or reason, but only wanted to see harm come to me. These events put me in a state of frozen panic, and I broke out in a cold sweat and began to tremble. I stopped the exam short, made up a very flimsy sounding excuse I'm sure, and rushed home in quite a state of shock.

Nightmares haunted me in my sleep, and I woke many times throughout the night. The next day, however, I told myself that I was a professional and could handle this. I convinced myself there was a scientific explanation for what I had witnessed, and determined to finish my examination of the patient. I scheduled a second appointment with Maudlin. This time, he entered the room and as he spoke to me, he had an accent I had not noticed sounded like...hillbilly. Then, suddenly, the accent disappeared, and he spoke quite lazily, almost listlessly. But his tone began to take on more tension and intensity. But he calmed again, and then as he spoke to me, it was as if he was talking to me from very far away, or as if we were talking on the telephone with a bad connection. He seemed as one who was not actually present in the room, almost like a hologram of himself. He stopped speaking, and the strangest thing occurred...he began to dance, wordlessly, in an ethnic fashion. This continued for a few minutes, and then he stopped and raised an eyebrow, turning to me with an expression on his face that was filled with hate and intention of harm. Quite suddenly he began to leap about the room, smashing things and throwing them about as an animal, screaming in a guttural fashion. His strength was inhuman - I, of course, had immediately called in the orderlies, but we were not able to restrain him: he was able to cast us off as a fully grown adult casts off small children clinging to him. The group of us were barely able to restrain him, and his tortured screams were the stuff of nightmare. But in the space of seconds he changed his tone to one that sounded...playful. This was only the more frightening as the sinister personality we had just witnessed was still shining through the playful tones, and then once again he shrieked in an other-worldly voice at us in pure spite and hatred, threatening all kinds of unspeakable evil. One of the orderlies, of course, drugged him, and after the drugs seemingly took affect he drifted off peacefully, or so we thought. We began to drag him towards a holding cell, but he suddenly leapt out of our arms with inhuman strength, shrieking and growling once again with seemingly multiple voices of hate and tortured pain and fright. As he did, the lights in the hallway began to flicker on and off as if a catastrophic thunderstorm were affecting the electrical work...and Maudlin then began to sing in the voice of...a woman, and as he did so, he began to float up into the air, and a wind blew through the hallways, smashing the doors open and shut with its strength. We all cowered on the floor as this occurred around us, quite frightened for our lives, and as the fury intensified, we closed our eyes in fright. The wind stopped, but we heard many voices around us speaking menacingly. They were not coming from a singular location, but were all around us, speaking in a language none of us could understand, and they did not resemble any known languages either - it was as if we were hearing the voices from another plane of existence. The voices faded away, and as some of us dared to open our eyes, we saw that Maudlin was nowhere in sight. It was as if the strange events from moments before had never even occurred: the hallway lights were on, and there was no mess to clean in my office. Maudlin has since not been seen by any of us - it was as if all we had witnessed had been merely a dream. But this cannot erase the fearful images I have witnessed, and I hope and pray I shall never come into contact with Maudlin ever again.

Back to reality: Being (somewhat) serious now - I found this album to be quite unsettling, especially after I researched it and found out the ideas behind the music and how it was “discovered.” Before I had done my research, I thought the music was quite strange, and afterwards I felt it was quite frightening. So as you can see, my meeting with Maudlin of the Well was a very unnerving experience for me, and one I do not wish to repeat, but there is no telling how he reacts in front of other people in other settings, so others may have a completely different experience.

Originally written for
Though I do find Maudlin of the Well's music rather touching at times, I can't help but feel that Bath comes across more as a random jumble of songs suggesting directions the band might have chosen to excel at had they focused on them as opposed to being a cohesive work in its own right. It's all quite technically precise and the various songs are alright examples of the forms they present - the death metal bits are OK death metal, the post-rock parts are OK post-rock and so on - but I can't help but wonder what could have resulted if the band had just picked a direction and stuck with it.
Conor Fynes
'Bath' - maudlin of the Well (8/10)

A relatively unknown collective based in Massachusetts, the avant-garde metal band maudlin of the Well released this album with almost no publicity or media attention to speak of. A jumble of many styles across the spectrum (chamber music to jazz to folk and psychedelia, all under a heavy metal banner) this band was certainly not going to get much attention from the mainstream, or anyone besides a few critics lucky enough to be aware of the band's existence. From this seed and a small but dedicated fanbase generated by their debut album, 'Bath' began to pick up the pace and before long, was reaching new ears around the globe, who hailed it as a 'modern masterpiece.' Years later, 'Bath' still has its share of inperfections, but it has not aged a day since the time it was released.

While merging such fargone styles as classical music, death metal and psychedelic rock could sound like a deathwish for any band and their credibility, maudlin of the Well somehow manage to make it work. Each song is decidedly unique, and brings its own host of different timbres and sounds to the table. From the serene and beautiful ('The Blue Ghost-Shedding Qliphoth') to the extreme and brutal ('They Aren't All Beautiful,') the listener is constantly shocked by the huge jumps of dynamic and genre. While this distinguishes each song from the other beautifully, it creates a bit of a rift in the sense of overall album cohesion and flow. Despite the feeling that there could have been a bit more attention to how 'Bath' all fits in together, the music itself is sublime.

Giving its title good meaning, the album immerses you within it, much like a typical bath would. The first part of a then-prospected duology, 'Bath' is the lighter, more mellow companion of the two. While 'Leaving Your Body Map' would arguably work better in terms of being an overall album, 'Bath' is the one with the standout tracks and the moments of aural perfection you can't help but to listen to on repeat. Some of the highlights would have to include the ridiculously heavy 'They Aren't All Beautiful,' the haunting acoustic closer 'Geography,' and the epic 'Birth Pains Of Astral Projection.' Everything comes to a climax with the latter track. Taking the listener through vistas of cheerful 'lounge' music to a beautiful saxophone solo to a dense psychedelic cluster, every aspect of the sound is tense as the music lets loose and becomes heavy. Jason Byron's inhuman shrieks and growls are used very effectively here, and it segues seamlessly into a more subtle section led by the softer vocals of Driver, reminiscent of indie rock. From this description alone, it's clear that maudlin of the Well are not the most accessible bunch around. However, that should not stop you from giving them a try, and hopefully appreciating the music as much, or even more than I have.

The only real fault here is as I've said; the overall flow of the album. While some listens through do not find me being bothered by the extremely polar nature of the album, it certainly affects the consistency. While some of the tracks may not be as strong and meaty as others ('The Ferryman' has never done much for me,) the majority of the tracks here are as gorgeous as you're going to hear in the metal scene. I urge you to check out 'Bath,' and soon after that; it's successor 'Leaving Your Body Map.' One of the few metal albums of the new millenium that deserves the title of 'classic,' however flawed it may be.
Maudlin Of The Well has managed to forge some very unique music, blending elements of various music styles into their distinctive sound. Bath was released in 2001, together with companion album Leaving Your Body Map. Where Leaving Your Body Map shows a lot of the bands heavy side, Bath is much more delicate and features more dreamy soundscapes, though still having its fierce moments every now and then.

Bath is such a beautiful album, full of musical translations of dream-like places. The band’s sound is very diverse, blending Metal, Prog, Classical, Jazz, Psychedelica and many others into one. The 61 minutes that Bath lasts are very varied, though this doesn’t seem to harm the album’s very consistent flow. I’ve already mentioned that most of the music on the album is very dreamy and somewhat soft. There still are some very rough moments on the album though, like the fierce “They Aren’t All Beautiful” and the organ driven and haunting “The Ferryman”. There also are frequent heavy parts in the longer songs that have an overall softer feel, often serving as a climax. These softer songs often create a beautiful mood driven by melodic guitar playing, atmospheric keys and now and then some soothing wind instruments. The album never tends to drag and is a great journey from beginning to end.

A masterpiece full of innovativity, that’s what Bath is. Full of hauntingly beautiful delicacy and mind-blowing climatic parts, Bath is one of the very best albums I’ve heard in my life. Listened together with its rougher and more aggresive companion album, Leaving Your Body Map, it truly is the musical translation of some paradise. A wonderful journey full of innovativity, distinctiveness and a fantastic feel.
Phonebook Eater

"Bath" is a dazzlingly varied album, a breathtaking, one hour demon that like no other album can make you feel every kind of emotion.

Maudlin Of The Well released in 2001 two albums, which are considered twin albums, Bath and Leaving Your Body Map. With these two albums, motw establish themselves as one of the most interesting bands out there today. The first one that got released was "Bath", the masterpiece of Toby Driver's first period, and possibly the quintessential motw album. The band has reached definite maturity with this album, and it surely will go down in music history as one of the best Avant-Garde/Experimental Metal albums ever.

Like in the first album, the first thing you notice when you listen to a motw album is how incredibly eclectic the band is: one song can be a nice, beautiful piece, while another can be a brutal death metal tune, another one can be a schizophrenic ballad full of tension and creepy moods. Well, with "Bath", this kind of eclecticism is more developed and perfected. Not only that, but also the production and the sound is very clear, unlike the rough debut. As a consequence for the eclecticism, the band has to have many band members: Of course we have Toby Driver, with his beautiful warm voice that can immediately turn into ferocious growling, as well as his beautiful and clean sounding guitar, but let's not forget Sam Gutternam's at times jazz influence at times powerful and death metal influenced drumming, Maria Stella Fountoulakis' breathtaking voice, that always gives a nice and warm touch to the song, and also the horn section that sometimes pops out.

"Bath" almost feels like a journey to the weirdest place, a place where anything could happen. These ten tracks are perfectly positioned into the album, it almost feels like there's a secret concept behind it. The first track, and possibly one of the best openers ever, is "The Blue Ghost/ Shedding Qliphoth", a stunning piece of music that never stops moving me. A gorgeous jazzy piece, instrumental, with some great harmonics in the beginning, and in the middle of the song comes in a great hook played with different guitars. The end get's more animated, the guitars are more crunchy,and the second song starts immediately."They Aren't All Beautiful" is a pure, death metal piece. The exact opposite of it's previous; Fast, ferocious, with heavy distorted guitars and powerful growls, and very frequent time changes during the song, making it 100% progressive. There is a middle part where it cools down a bit, when a clean guitar sound plays alternated with the heavy one. Great song, possibly their most brutal one. "Heaven And Weak" is basically seven minutes of unbelievable, increasing climax: starting very calmly, with the presence of the cello and other acoustic instruments, and then Driver comes in, as well as the drums. After a couple of minutes the distortion comes in, and the song get's definitely heavy. Strong powerful drumming and guitars, and the bass as well, enrich the song, and define it a masterpiece of the band.Probably the best builder the band has ever created. After the brief interlude, "The Ferryman" comes in with a strange scary intro played exclusively with an organ. Then, silence. A few drops, and then a soft melody played with guitar comes in, with drums as well. The heavy part starts unexpectedly, with some powerful growls and strong guitars. The song then gets a weirder atmosphere and the female vocalist gives a really nice and desperate sounding touch to the track. Amazing. The lyrics are all in latin, which makes he song even more interesting."Marid's Gift Of Art" is a beautiful little song, with Driver's clean vocals sounding so delicate and gentle. For almost all the song we can hear in the background some water drops falling. "Girl With A Watering Can" is a very unique song, it is an excellent opener to the following song, especially for it's kind of apocalyptic moods. The song is initially calm, with clean guitar and the female vocals, then Driver comes in, an it builds getting a little heavier, but it never explodes, since we never hear any growls in this song. Beautiful and haunting piece of music. "Birth Pains For Astral Projection" is possibly the best motw song ever. Ten glorious minutes of beauty, rage, anger, fear. The first three minutes are very soft, with some stunning guitar notes and great relaxing atmosphere. After a while, a creepy sounding riff played with a clean guitar come in, and the song starts. Mysterious, and scary, we hear Driver's growls sounding more terrifying than ever. After a while, after all that brutal and emotional part, comes in a nice spacey mood until the end of the track. Epic like no other motw song. after the second interlude, we have the final chapter, "Geography", a pretty nice and moving song, with some distorted guitars only at the end of the song, while the rest is, like I said,very enjoyable.

"Bath" has left me a huge impression. It changed me, the way I think about metal music most of all. An almost dazzlingly varied album, that makes it win the label of Avant-Garde Metal. A breathtaking, one hour demon that like no other album can make you feel every kind of emotion. Essential for any Avant-Garde fan.

Members reviews

The Truth
Now, I don't normally write metal reviews and there's is a reason for that. I'm not a metalhead.

But I still have a deep love for progressive rock and I learned of this band through progarchives.

Though copies are extremely hard to find, Bath is definitely an album worth finding and enjoying. An excellent example of metal at it's best, with a wide array of influences always leading back to the beautiful symphony of guitars that Toby Driver creates.

I can't help but be amazed at how much this album shifts moods, from light a beautiful to heavy and earpiercing. These shifts really give the listener true enjoyment of the music.

And everyone should truely enjoy it, any fan of music adventurous enough to have a taste of some truly awesome music needs to try this. Essential to everyone.
An unmatched piece of absolute musical brilliance. maudlin of the Well, a small and rather obscure band from the Boston area, have managed to compose what may be one of the most incredible, original pieces of music in the last decade. I'll attempt to encompass everything about what makes this album so incredible in a reasonable amount of time but I fear I cannot do it justice. Oh well, here goes.

Bath is the sophomore album by maudlin of the Well, released two years after their first album My Fruit Psychobells... A Seed Combustible, and is the first album of a double release, the other being Leaving Your Body Map. While Bath and Leaving Your Body Map aren't really a double album, they were released together because the albums are very much tied together thematically and stylistically, and while they are totally separate pieces of music, they complement each other in ways no other albums have been able to do. I'll explain this interdependence in more detail in the Leaving Your Body Map review.

maudlin of the Well's style can best be described as "avant-garde metal", but this doesn't totally describe the immense amount of diversity found within their music. A couple of different metal styles are prominent, most noticeably death metal, doom metal, and progressive metal, but interwoven between these metal sections can be found elements of everything from post rock, indie rock, psych/space, and ambient, to jazz, funk, fusion, classical, and chamber rock. Shifts in style are found between tracks and often inside songs themselves; tracks can go from blazing death metal to mellow funk, from trippy space sections to jazzy progressive rock, all within the context of a song. From a description standpoint the transitions sound very jarring and poorly constructed, but incredibly, they work. And they work outstandingly well. I'll explain more during the track-by-track breakdown.

Instrumentally the album is very sound, and all the pieces are performed admirably and complement each other excellently. In addition to the traditional guitar, bass, and drums of a metal band, other untraditional instruments, like the saxophone, flute, clarinet, horn, and church organ, make their way into the song lines. The instruments are played well and do an excellent job complementing the mood and composition of the song. Herein lies one of maudlin of the Well's strengths: while they have very strong experimental and avant-garde tendencies, they never lose sight of the fact that they are a metal band at heart. We still get enough strong riffing, excellent headbanging melodies, and impressive soloing to counteract the heavy experimentation, ultimately creating a fine line between the metal and avant-garde, one from which the band impressively never teeters off of.

Lyrically this album is ridiculously strong. The lyrics, in all sung or spoken forms, are actual poetry, and have a very mystical nature to them, inspiring impressive or wondrous images relating to the theme (more on this later). The poetry itself is very sharp and at times incredibly beautiful, complementing the beautiful nature of the music very well. Three singers are heard on the album: Jason Byron, the primary composer of the lyrics, provides the harsh death metal growls. Toby Driver, the primary musical composer and frontman of the band, sings a clean lead and occasionally provides screams to back up Byron. They are complemented by a female vocalist who sings on a few tracks. Byron's growls are very good, deep and throaty, and provide for some interesting balancing acts in the music. Toby Driver provides an incredible range of vocals, ranging from soft, indie-rock-esque clean vocals, high, angelic vocals, and bone-chilling screams, all of which are done incredibly well. The female vocals are almost operatic and are similarly effective.

While not a concept album, both Bath and Leaving Your Body Map thematically deal with the concept of astral projection and lucid dreaming. Indeed, at the time of the album's release, Toby Driver advocated astral projection as the main mode of composition for the album. Allow me to briefly explain: astral projection is a practice held in certain esoteric beliefs that (in concept) allows the practitioner to separate their physical body from their ethereal spirit (this ties into Leaving Your Body Map's name), which then has free realm amongst the heavens. They believe that there exists a sort of cosmic "library" in the astral plane (the spirit's theoretical plane of existence), where all forms of art are already in existence, catalogued, if you will, in this massive archive. This makes the composer of the music more of a vessel between the astral plane's music and our realm. Driver has explained that their goal as a band wasn't to "compose" music per se, rather, to interpret this preexisting music into a worldly form through astral projection by means of lucid dreaming. Whether you buy this concept or not is up to you, but there is something to be said about the subject of dream compositions. There is something incredibly awe-inspiring about the music on Bath, however. Everything has a sort of spacey undertone to it; maybe it's the spacey keys, but something about this album definitely seems otherworldly. It's rather tough to describe, but something about the album just feels as though it's... inspired. Like it took a form of its own. It's not a pleasant or trippy kind of spacey either as is seen in your typical psych/space rock, but rather, it has a very eerie, spooky, almost malevolent feel to it, like it was composed by some great evil entity in the astral planes. These horrifically mystifying undertones are absolutely titillating and give the album its incredible otherworldly feel. Nothing I have ever heard before is comparable, it's really necessary to discover this through listening to the album by one's self.

There are a few other themes explored in the album's lyrics, all similar in topic, dealing with things such as the mysteries of death, salvation, eternality, and mysticism, though all through a non-religious lens. Also present are themes of relationships and love, though what it is symbolic of I can never know. The band has never explicitly stated what many of the lyrics mean. I will attempt to interpret the meanings of this album in a track-by-track analysis.

The album opens with "The Blue Ghost / Shedding Qliphoth", an instrumental piece. This very spacey piece opens with some soft false guitar harmonics, followed by some soft, echoic, and very spacey guitar chords. There's some phenomenal spacey ambience in the first part of the track, and eventually some light percussion kicks in, accompanied by some floaty backing acoustic guitar. A very jazzy, smooth saxophone plays a soothing lead. The piece gradually builds up, adding some background keys and ambience before the percussion becomes heavy and the guitar distortion kicks in, creating a sort of heavy metal version of the original melody. The transition is loud and initially jarring, but it does an excellent job setting up for what will inevitably be a shock on the next track. A spacey keyboard closes the final note.

What comes next is totally unexpected. "They Aren't All Beautiful" begins with some background guitar distortion before kicking into a whirlwind of furious death metal. Blast beats, machine-gun bass pedal, heavy guitar riffs and Byron's relentless growling provide a stark contrast to the otherwise peaceful intro to the album. What follows is some otherwise excellent death metal; awesome chugging riffs and evil vocals make for a riotous headbanging fest for a minute or so. Eventually the rhythm seriously slows down with some heavy grinding riffs, that has a lot of start-and-stop heaviness. Driver's screams are incredibly effective here, with some very awesome lyrics related to what appears to be the imitation and interpretation of art. Eventually this stops, however, and the song turns sort of mellow. A groovy bassline and less chugging guitars make for a cool funky section before a super-jazzy baritone saxophone joins the fray and creates a very cool funky metal section that goes quiet before one last evil death metal section at the end of the song. This is probably the heaviest piece the band has composed.

"Heaven and Weak" is one of the strongest tracks on the album and opens with a very soft, jazzy rock piece that has some interesting folksy acoustic guitar lines and an unidentifiable plucky string instrument, possibly a violin, but it's not easily discernible because the instrument is plucked. Some soft synth and strong echoic vocals from Driver make a very soothing piece for the first few minutes. Eventually the percussion and guitar distortion kick in in a way similar to on the first track. This continues with soothing vocals and a wailing guitar before the whole deal quickly turns sinister. A fast and wailing guitar solo and a drum roll leads into a very hectic heavy metal section. The metal here is seriously awesome: fast, heavy, and with some excellent riffage. Eventually the metal turns into a synth-fueled proggy section with some very crazed-sounding vocals on Driver's part. Before the song ends we get a cool breakdown, although that isn't the right word for it, but an amazing breakdown nonetheless that only involves a clean guitar and strong percussion.

"Interlude 1" is a short piece (~1:30) with some light acoustic guitar, guitar percussion, and upright bass. It's very pleasant and an effective interlude that is actually very well catchy.

The soft interlude is contrasted by the loud intro to the next song, "The Ferryman", which opens with a grand church organ. Some eerie organ music gives way to an absolute break in music that starts with some soft drumming. A very soft guitar line joins some soft jazzy drumming for a brief spell before the song suddenly and abruptly erupts into a twisted heavy metal section, with some doomy riffs and evil-sounding growls, backed by shrill screams. This is a short section that eventually turns into a percussion driven rock section with operatic female vocals and the church organ backing the melody. Eventually the rest of the music fades away, leaving a lone organ note that fades to the sound of water sifting around (not in a river or anything, it could actually be in a bathtub given the timbre of the water sloshing) inside a container as creepy chanting begins to build. This chanting turns into an incredibly creepy cacophony of incomprehensible suffocating voices that all die at the same moment, leaving just the eerie sound of water being circled around and the sound of it inside an echoing chamber. Given the title and the post-music section, I'm inclined to believe that this album is about the death cycle, the bath water and the chilling voices being the damned souls drowning in the River Styx, reaching out for aid as the Ferryman (the one whose boat guides a soul's passage into the netherworld) passes over silently. How this relates to the idea of astral projection I'm not totally sure but it does relate to the themes of birth and rebirth found later in the album.

The echoing water noises segue into the next track, "Marid's Gift of Art", that is a soft piece with some excellent folksy guitars and some rather beautiful lyrics provided by a soft-voiced Driver. Eventually a horn lead takes over vocals and a bowed bass create a somewhat neoclassical feel to the song. It's over rather quickly, and while the song isn't weak at all, it may be comparatively the weakest track on the album.

What follows next is an absolute behemoth of an emotional piece, "Girl with a Watering Can". It starts off with a soothing clarinet solo piece that eventually leads into a light, post- rock-ish section with light percussion and some interesting guitar layering. Some spacey synth adds a light bit of unease or tension to this pleasant piece before some pretty female vocals kick in. The drumming is good on this track so far, and eventually this section ends as a softer metal section kicks in, with some heavier drumming. The vocals here suddenly become rather echoic, Toby Driver chiming in on the high points, and the continued guitar layering and strong harmonies make for some very beautiful, albeit still unsettling music. Toby eventually takes lead with some soft vocals over a similar melody, that slowly fades off while a light guitar persists. Then, after a brief moment of silence, the melody is repeated with huge distortion, and a strong, high guitar lead and eerie keys create an amazing spacey metal section. Eventually this piece deconstructs into something softer with some soft, almost whispered vocals by Driver. This track is incredibly good; if ever there was such thing as "beautiful metal", then "Girl with a Watering Can" would be it, mixing beautiful melodies with crushing doses of heaviness and creating a really emotional piece of music.

Up next is the 11 minute epic "Birth Pains of Astral Projection." The piece starts out with a soft, pleasant melody that continues for a few minutes. The tone is generally pretty happy, but after a few minutes the tone of the piece turns somewhat sinister. It gets a bit heavier and some layered vocals by Driver turn into a creepy chanting section. A wailing guitar and some spacey keys give this section a very ethereal feel before Jason Byron enters the scene again. His growls here are a bit more bellowy than usual, but he makes them sound incredibly sinister and vicious, even over a comparatively light section. It makes for an interesting balance, and Toby's backing screams are absolutely furious. This continues for a bit until it enters a softer section. Toby does his indie rocker voice over a soft melody with an excellent bassline. By the end of the song this melody amplifies into something much stronger with an impressive guitar solo. The soft section resumes for a brief spell with some interesting lyrics before fading out on a soft key note. The song's title here is a clear reference to the astral projection theme, and the "birth pains" may be some sort of reference to whatever unknown process may be required for astral projection to occur; it could be a reference to the fifth and six tracks' themes, with the ultimate process be dying in some literal or metaphysical way required for the separation of body from spirit into the astral planes.

"Interlude 2" is an absolutely wonderful little song. It opens up with, interestingly enough, the sound of someone slapping their hands on the surface of some water container, and this actually becomes the percussion section of the song. A punchy upright bass, a cheery acoustic guitar, and some playful piano lines make this almost a happy little bathtime ditty. As the music fades out, a very beautiful synth note lingers for a brief moment, retaining the happy feel that the interlude generates.

"Geography" is the epic conclusion to an epic album, and it's an incredibly beautiful piece of music, with some sorrowful acoustic guitar and some rather sad vocals from Driver. The lyrics here are also particularly beautiful. The song is relatively simple, but by the time it reaches a finale, all the instruments and vocals and come together for one last grand rush, all swirling together into a wondrously beautiful conclusion to a stunning album.

I'm going to be a bit biased here. I know this review is incredibly long, and I'd be surprised if anyone actually made it this far, but this is truly one of the most incredible pieces of music ever written. The album is phenomenally well done and incredibly consistent, and with so much material covered as well. It's a truly beautiful and moving masterpiece and such a shame that an unbelievably talented band will remain so obscure in the annals of musical history.

Unfortunately maudlin of the Well will be doomed to obscurity. The music on this album is far too inaccessible and varied for most audiences to enjoy, but if you fancy yourself a hardened music listener, or are looking for something truly original, look no further. It's very hard to find a hard copy of this album but if you do manage to find one, you'd be remiss not to take the opportunity.

Absolute highest five-star rating easily deserved, and it has my utmost recommendations for any fan of experimental music or anyone willing to challenge themselves with a difficult but thoroughly rewarding listen.

Standout tracks: Every single one.
Toby Driver, a genius in my book, maybe one of the most original thinkers to be born, nothing he has done ever lost my attention for too long, almost everything is perfect. My biggest icon in modern music, whether it be the chaos of Kayo Dot, the eeriness of Tartar lamb, or the just plain weirdness of his solo album, everything he touches turns to gold. Of all his projects though, Maudlin of the Well is the greatest, honestly a band that has done so much for me as far as my musical growth. This group helped me expand my mind to so many different genres, and styles, but not only that, but how to blend them into three monumental albums, this one being the best, BATH. The music of Maudlin of the Well is incredibly diverse, one minute you may be in a straight up death metal song, the next you're listening to some jazzy horns, the next you're listening to an acoustic folky song, and it all fits. They're so eclectic it wouldn't be wrong to call this band avant Garde, to me though, that's the beauty of the music, they're not afraid to put some intricate post rocky lead line of a horn section, or add a church organ with some death metal vocals to add a doomy effect. To me it all works, it's possible to make beautiful prog metal, with strings and not be a lame symphonic power metal band, and you can add horns and long songs and not be a post metal band, this group belongs to no genre.

Bath is a companion album to the almost equally amazing Leaving your body map, and apparently is the first part of who knows what concept. It's a bit diverse than Leaving your body map, as far as the songs go, and also, by the time you hit the song Birth pains and astral projections, you feel a certain emotion that just eeks out of the speakers that just doesn't hit the same level on LYBM. This assortment of ten songs may very well be my favorite made, every song is extremely special in it's own way and each very different than the other. It's more jazzy, it's more metal, yet at the same time it's a little softer than anything else Toby has ever put out. It's just beautiful.

Okay you're probably tired of listening to my fanboyism, so I'll get into detail about the music. While most of the songs are indeed metal, most of the smaller tracks around the metal songs are usually softer, acoustic interludes, each one staring with a jazzy chord progression, then slightly building up with some horns playing a melody, then another guitar will come in and play perhaps a lead line, or a parallel chord progression, while the double bass will throb away. There are four track in these two albums called the interludes I-IV. The other softer tracks on this album is the opening song song, and the beautiful three minute Marids gift of art. The firs an instrumental starting with only an acoustic guitar, and progressively getting bigger and bigger adding multiple guitars, keyboards, and eventually drums, until the very end when te electric comes in for a huge climactic ending. Marids gift of art is just a pretty lullaby by Driver, with only his guitar his voice, and a trumpet to end the song. I know sounds corny, but it really is one of the prettiest songs you may ever hear.

Then there's the metal song, all of which follow no common structure, and are chopped up into three or four different sections. While most start with an eerie series of notes on the guitar, keyboard, or church organ, some like they're not all beautiful start with a bang and go right into furious drumming and strumming, with some of the deepest, yet clearest death metal vocals ever, which just capitalizes on Toby's amazing voice. This song is pretty much the closest MotW gets to a straight up death metal song, though still is very proggy. The other songs usually are guided by the vocals, most of the time harsh as you go on to crazy chord progression, double bass drumming, and some incredible guitar wizardry. The breakdown will come when the vocals become the most horrifying, and the guitar at it's most crushing. The atmospheric keyboards will then take over most likely with some electric guitar in the background doing a lead line, and some clean vocals usually singing about something simple, like love, trust, or a crazy day. From then on the song will almost disappear to nothing, then out of nowhere the chaos comes back and just punches you in the face for the last minute or so of the song.

There are two main elements in the music of Toby Driver that he never fails to bring forth, and there is no exception on this album: His Electric guitar and Voice. His electric guitar is on every son except the interludes, and there just seems to be layers and layers of it, I know there is more than one guitar player, but sometimes I can swear I can hear four different guitars going around at some point, and I just find it amazing that he can go ahead and capitalize on the electric distorted guitar, whether it be a lead line, solo, or riff and still make it tasteful, and not too pompous or obnoxious.

His voice is will always be a staple point to all his music, it's so youthful, and almost punky, and he doesnt have a very large range, but what he's got he's able to melt it perfectly with the music he creates, and create an atmosphere of some solemn depressing mood. He also has so many different types of grunts and scream. In my fruit psychobells you hear a black metal scream (sadly he doesnt use past that), an extremely deep death growl, a post metal hoarse yell that IMO makes Birth pains and astral projections one of their most superior songs, and there's also that blood curdling scream, which he used all the way up to Dowsing the anemone with the copper tongue.

I understand why some people can be turned off to Maudlin, their just so crazy and eclectic, it's very inaccessible, and it takes weathered ears to learn to appreciate this music, also unlike Kayo Dot, the harsh vocals, and extreme metal are arguably more prominent than anything else, and we all know that's not for everyone. Kayo Dot may be the reincarnation of Maudlin, but I think they lost a little of their youthful originality in that band, don't get me wrong, Kayo Dot may also be in my top five Fav bands, but what some people call immaturity is what I find best in Maudlin.

I hoped what I wrote can shine a little light on this band, or album, but really words are no substitute, you have to subject yourself to the music, and drill it many many times, before one day it will just click, and you'll just be taken back by the power and majesty of this band. Like I said though these guys are truly not for everyone, but to anyone into metal, and want some music with that extra punch, I cant recommend this band to you enough, this is probably my favorite group to exist, and need to be heard.

5 stars no doubt
My third maudlin of the Well album came in the form of bath - A perfect opera of metal and jazzy chord progressions, which leaves a lasting impression for weeks after the first listen. Toby Driver and the gang really hit the mark on this one, and when listened to in conjunction with its partner album, LEAVING YOUR BODY MAP, you can be taken on a one of a kind avant-garde musical journey. This album is definitely not beginner's material however, and took me several weeks to begin to appreciate.

The opener, THE BLUE GHOST - SHEDDING THE QLIPHOTH, opens with around 3 minutes of soft guitar playing, continuing into horn playing with some more soft guitar chords. This track continues in a similar fashion until it explodes into a prog-metal wonder in its last minute. Interesting chords and rhythms mark this opener's end, with unpredictable tones and riffs.

THEY AREN'T ALL BEAUTIFUL explodes with distorted guitar strumming and explodes into insanely brutal metal, complete with growls and double kicks. This track continues in a metal fashion for its entire length, and this track proves this album is certainly not for beginners. This track continues with several riff changes throughout its lifespan, and is an interesting follow up to the jazzy and acoustic BLUE GHOST.

HEAVEN AND WEAK is one of the best tracks on the albums - TOBY DRIVER's signature vocals play perfectly over a soft and understated drum beat and riff, creating a concept within its less than 8 minute length, which is a deeper concept than some bands can develop across an entire album. This is a beautiful track, featuring some great vocals and guitar work, worthy of prog giants. This track features some lovely overlapping synth and acoustic guitar, with muffled vocals for some sections. The rhythms in this track are jazzy, yet confusing and unpredictable. At around 3 minutes, this track bursts into a avant-garde metal fest, which is incredibly interesting, as both rhythms overlap eachother, in and out of perfect sync. The last 1 and a half minutes of this track are amazing, featuring brilliant drumming and complex rhythms which still purvey a story and never resort to technical overture.

INTERLUDE 1 is a short and beautiful track, featuring fantastic guitar work. This lasts for around 1.30 minutes, and there isn't much to be said about it...

THE FERRYMAN opens with haunting organs, which continue until around 50 seconds in. At this point, incredibly soft yet technical jazz-prog takes over, featuring lovely guitar work on both fronts. Unpredictably, this track detonates into an incendiary tech-metal masterpiece, featuring masterful rhythmic sections underlaying guitar work worthy of early DREAM THEATER. This continues for several minutes, until an insane organ solo overlaps the unpredictable madness. This once again continues until the last minute, which is insanely creepy voices and water noises which make my hair stand... Literally.

MARID'S GIFT OF ART is a much shorter track than the others, but excellent none-the-less. Featuring soft guitar work which sounds alot like the INTERLUDE tracks, this opens with vocals around 1 minute in. This soft singing perfectly compliments the great soft guitar work, and its incredible how well these two separate instrumentations play off eachother. This track then dies out with soft guitar work and lovely horn work, which transpose eachother in a way in which it seems motW have truly mastered.

GIRL WITH A WATERING CAN opens with soft clarinet playing, which eventuates into a jazzy masterpiece beyond belief.... This track also features the fantastic vocals of Maria-Stella Fountoulakis, which go fantastically with this great soft track. At around half way, this also breaks into a metal extravaganza, although it is much slower and comparatively softer than the rest of Maudlin Of The Well's metal tracks. The last two minutes of this track are filled with masterful guitar soloing, and later keyboard riffing. This is another great track in the motW catalogue.

BIRTH PAINS OF ASTRAL PROJECTION is perhaps the most song-based track on the album, but its brilliant regardless. At around 2 minutes in, this breaks into more extreme metal with screams and growls, highly reminiscent of OPETH. Then, at six minutes, we see a marked change in Maudlin of The Well's playing. This breaks into an insanely perfect song-based composition, with great vocals and a memorable riff. This track is hard to describe, and although it fits in perfectly, it stands out on the album due to its different compositional qualities. This track also features TOBY DRIVER's best guitar solo, which is absolutely epic. One of the best guitar solos I've ever heard, this marks a step-up in motW's straight up rock compositional skills, which is more than warmly welcomed.

INTERLUDE 2 is another bitter-sweet short track, this time featuring a more entertaining acoustic bass riff than the other soft guitar work on INTERLUDE 1. Still very little to say, although this does lead perfectly into my favourite Maudlin Of The Well track...

GEOGRAPHY is a genuinely perfect track, featuring beautiful guitar and perfect vocals. This song follows in suit, and takes a more song-based writing structure. The lyrics in this track are beautiful; BREATH IS REAL, ANGER'S REAL, SLEEP ON YOUR BIRTHDAY AND CRY... CRY MY BABY... LET ME WASH YOU, I HAVE NO EARS... FOR MY LADY. This track follows its first chorus into the second verse, gaining momentum and melancholic beauty through its slow and tense build-up. This track features excellent guitar work, which is amongst the best Maudlin have ever released. The last two choruses are amazing - This first featuring lovely slide guitar work over the top of the vocals and simple rhtyhm. The last features a very heavy feel, and is perhaps motW's most emotional use of metal to date. The vocals here are perfect, and its hard to find an album closer of this quality with most bands. A perfect finish to a perfect album!

This album is definitely worth a purchase, if you can find it... An avant-garde metal masterpiece...


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