Monday, May 18, 2009
maudlin of the Well - Part the Second (2009)
Man, I love maudlin of the Well. I first got their album Bath when a friend recommended it to me in 2004 when I was getting into metal. I was into a lot of jazz at the time and Bath was like nothing else I'd ever heard. I still haven't heard anything like it, aside from the other maudlin of the Well albums. While motW fused extreme metal with a lot of softer, 'new age' sounds, jazzy passages and a variety of vocalists and vocal techniques, they disbanded just as they were getting amazing. Fortunately they became Kayo Dot and released two perfect albums (Choirs of the Eye and Dowsing Anemone With Copper Tongue) and one pretty good one (Blue Lambency Downward). Toby Driver also did some side and solo projects which were great. Driver's work is kind of in an interesting place at the moment. His music comes very much from heavy metal and all of the motW albums and the first two Kayo Dot records show that. More recently with BLD, his solo work and the Tartar Lamb side project, he has been focussing on the modern classical side of his music by composing pieces (rather than albums) in movements and moving towards a meandering sound that is reflective of a lot of the avant-garde music coming out of New York at the moment (Zs and Extra Life being two good examples).
This is fine by some fans and not-so-fine by some others. Anyway, this brings us to this record. It's kind of an odd release. It was funded by fans and is basically made up of motW tracks that they liked and never recorded. It was recorded earlier this year by the motW lineup with some guests and from what I can tell, a lot of the songs were finished just before or during recording. This makes it sound more like maudlin of the Well than any Kayo Dot lineup ever has, but more Kayo Dot than any incarnation of maudlin of the Well, if that makes sense.
The first two songs are unreal and as good as anything else Driver has ever done. The rest of the record is great too. It's very mellow, there's not much metal here at all. It also features Toby's crazy style of vocals which wasn't really present on any motW recordings. I've only listened to it a couple of times so far but it's already my favourite release of the year. You can download it in mp3, wav, or FLAC.