Maudlin of the Well - _Leaving Your Body Map_
(Dark Symphonies, 2001)
by: Pedro Azevedo (8.5 out of 10)
One could tell by Maudlin of the Well's debut [CoC #46] that they weren't a band willing to take an easy path; but releasing two full-length albums simultaneously is a rather considerable risk to take and requires a very trusting label to back it up. _Bath_ and _Leaving Your Body Map_ are two separate discs, visually linked by the artwork but not available as a double-CD set. Whilst the balance of heaviness and mellower sections does differ, this duo does not follow the kind of structure Opeth are known to have been planning -- one heavier CD and an entirely mellow or experimental one. The music is overall melancholic, dreamy and atmospheric, but Maudlin of the Well insist on conveying a wide spectrum of emotions and musical influences with their music within both the mellower and harsher passages. The beginning of _Bath_ provides a striking example of Maudlin of the Well's dichotomy: opener "The Blue Ghost / Shedding Qliphoth" is a lengthy, tranquil instrumental piece, contrasting with the harsh doom metal of the second track, "They Aren't All Beautifull". However, with about 120 minutes of music spread across the two CDs, you can probably imagine how much experimentation Maudlin of the Well have thrown into _Bath_ and _Leaving Your Body Map_. Many sorts of vocal styles are used, as well as a wide array of instruments besides the usual metal setup, including clarinet, piano, flute and cello. I have to admire the audacity of this band, whose music is not only wildly experimental but also vividly expressive -- even if not constantly interesting. The clean male vocals are still not really to my liking, but each of the two discs, or both of them as a double-CD set, are worth hearing as a whole rather than picking out the bits you don't like. This may not be the kind of listening experience I'm looking for very often, but it is nonetheless quite a rewarding one in the case of Maudlin of the Well's double output. _Bath_ and _Leaving Your Body Map_ are just about equally worthy of purchase in case you decide to look into this band's adventurous work; I would recommend purchasing both if you are interested after hearing some samples. The varied and unconventional nature of Maudlin of the Well's music may not be to everyone's liking, but overall it worked well for me despite the fact that I am not impressed by experimentation for the sake of experimentation -- but then again, that is definitely not what Maudlin of the Well are all about.


(article published 14/1/2002)

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