MAUDLIN OF THE WELL
Avant-garde Metal / Metal Related • United States

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Maudlin Of The Well is an avant-garde progressive metal band from Boston, who formed in 1996 and released 3 studio albums before disbanding in 2003. motW's music combines jazz, metal, avant-garde, post-rock and eastern influences into a unique and other worldly combination. After a five year break, the band reformed to record several unreleased musical ideas and compositions, which materialized into 2009's 'Part The Second'. These recordings were made possible by donations from fans of the band's earlier work. The band can be considered a musicians collective, all albums rotating around the 3 constant constant members, Toby Driver, Jason Byron and Greg Massi. All of the band's albums feature vocals and string work from Mia Matsumiya, who would later appear in Driver's next project with much more prominent input, Kayo Dot. (For more information on the band's ever changing lineup, see the individual album entries)

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MAUDLIN OF THE WELL Discography

MAUDLIN OF THE WELL albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 3.50 | 14 ratings
My Fruit Psychobells... A Seed Combustible
Avant-garde Metal 1999
.. Album Cover 4.02 | 46 ratings
Bath
Avant-garde Metal 2001
.. Album Cover 4.13 | 43 ratings
Leaving Your Body Map
Avant-garde Metal 2001
.. Album Cover 3.60 | 8 ratings
Part The Second
Metal Related 2009

MAUDLIN OF THE WELL EPs & splits

MAUDLIN OF THE WELL live albums

MAUDLIN OF THE WELL demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

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.. Album Cover
3.77 | 9 ratings
Secret Song
Avant-garde Metal 2001

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MAUDLIN OF THE WELL Reviews

MAUDLIN OF THE WELL Part The Second

Album · 2009 · Metal Related
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siLLy puPPy
A much more interesting release for me than the previous albums. MAUDLIN OF THE WELL dropped the death metal they utilized on their double releases of 2001 and simply stuck to what I think they do the best, namely the post-rock aspects of their music and develop their ideas in that context. The result is a more cohesive and even-keeled flow of the tracks. There are still some elements of metal here and there but they are more suited to the overall feel of the album.

Despite this being a huge improvement in my opinion from the last two albums, I still don't feel that this deserves the masterpiece status that many seem to shower upon it. To me it is simply a very good representation of the type of experimental post rock that they are delivering. Of course music is subjective and this seems to move others more than it does me.

In my opinion, Toby Driver and his posse did a lot of refining of this particular sound in the KAY DOT projects which I actually prefer to MotW but i find that this particular album definitely has a more mature sound for MotW creating an atmosphere that I can get behind this time around and in many ways blurring the distinction between the MotW and KAYO DOT projects.

MAUDLIN OF THE WELL Bath

Album · 2001 · Avant-garde Metal
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siLLy puPPy
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.

MAUDLIN OF THE WELL Leaving Your Body Map

Album · 2001 · Avant-garde Metal
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siLLy puPPy
For a band who claims that the ideas for the twin releases of BATH and LEAVING YOUR BODY MAP came from astral projection, I would think that there would be a more dreamy feel to them. In fact nothing on these albums makes me think of a strange dimension where a spirit rides the ethers throughout the universe. It simply sounds like experimental metal in its nascent form. For me the thing about dreamscapes is that everything would seem more surreal and bizarre. Oh well, guess my ideas are different than most since these albums seem to be extremely popular.

This album starts off immediately with the death metal thing and I commend the band for adding flutes and whistles and all kinds of new sounds to the mix but something about these albums just doesn't click with me where the KAYO DOT ones do. As with BATH the gentler jazzier post rock parts work best for me while the growly metal parts seem to lack any legitimate luster. Not a bad album but doesn't live up to the subject matter projected and fails to transgress into the astral planes the way I imagine such music sounding like. Basically I think they tackle too lofty of a goal and fail to deliver the goods.

MAUDLIN OF THE WELL Bath

Album · 2001 · Avant-garde Metal
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Wilytank
(Originally posted to Encyclopaedia Metallum: The Metal Archives; http://www.metal-archives.com/)

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.

(69/100)

MAUDLIN OF THE WELL Bath

Album · 2001 · Avant-garde Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
dtguitarfan
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 before...it 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 http://www.seaoftranquility.org

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