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Tracklist: 1. Stones of October Sobbing 7-25 2. Gleam In Ranks 4-16 3. Bizarre Flowers / A Violent Mist 9-35 4. (Another Sign of) The Four 4-18 (instrumental) 5. Garden Song 8-22 6. The Curve That To an Angle Turn'd 5-37 7. Step Is a Curse 4-18 8. Riseth He, The Numberless 5-12 9. (Another Sign of) The Nine 5-10 (instrumental) 10. Monstrously Low Tide 6-47 Line-up: (Jason) Byron - vocals, keyboards, percussion Toby Driver - vocals, guitar, bass, cello, keyboards, percussion Sam Gutterman - drums & percussion, guitar, vocals Terran Olson - keyboards, clarinet, flute, percussion, vocals Marta-Stella Fountoulakis - vocals Greg Massi - guitar, vocals Josh Seipp-Williams - guitar Jason Bitner - trumpet With: Anna Wethedy - viola (on a few tracks) And, in addition: Sky Cooper - guitar (on track 10) All music and lyrics by Maudlin Of The Well. Produced by MOTW. Recorded and mixed by Jim Fogarty at "Zing" recording studio, Westfield, MA. Mastered by Jeff Lipton at "Peerless Mastering", Boston, MA.
"Dark Symphonies Records" online:
Prologue. Of course, I was sure such a wonderful band as Maudlin Of The Well would never release two separate albums at a time, musically too similar in themselves, and I was right. So, before you begin to read the review on this album, I highly recommend you return to the review on the MOTW pseudo-previous album "Bath" and scan through it once again.
The Album. Oh God, it's turned out that a small bath, drawn on the cover of the "Leave Your Body Map" album's booklet, is way darker than that I picked the gold ProGducts in along with you dear readers just last week. Everything would be okay, probably, if I were alone back then, but it seems that all together we have woken a lot of terrible monsters, who are probably the guardians of Maudlin's Pro-Gold, new and old, hidden in her Wells, and now they're most likely angry with us for our disturbing them. (But how could I hide from you all those gem'n'jams that I've found there?). Well, I've warned you that a trip into another bath of Well can be more dangerous, and you can even leave your body map (yeah, any individual is a whole world, full of a wide-variety of physical and mental events, apart from all others). But if you're brave enough to resist the roaring ghosts, let's go. I understand your doubts: of course, a musical Well is not a musical box, by all means. Well, we'll apologize to monsters for our misbehaviour and say we've just forgotten the maps of our bodies there… We're here already, though. Look at what I've found: this is "A Body Map" of the Well that someone's left here (perhaps it was Miss Maudlin in person). As you can see, there's also enough of intricate tracks in this Well, though these are really much darker than those in "Bath". (If you don't still see them, buy special CDs, designed for trips inside the Maudlin's Well: then chances are you'll hear them.) Stones of October Sobbing, Gleam In Ranks, Bizarre Flowers / A Violent Mist, Garden Song, and Step Is a Curse (five songs again, a half of the album) are the most intricate and ProGductive tracks here. As well as in case with the previous trip into the "Bath", that Maudlin replaced with the Well just before I took a dive there, each of these five songs brims with seemingly endless changes of joint arrangements and solos and interplays between two soloing instruments at the head of them, rocky and more or less plain genre battlefields, tempos and moods, complex time signatures, and of course, those pseudo blind alleys with heaps of riches that continue to remind of Progressive's promised lands of the past. But, as I said, something has changed inside the Well since we were there for the first time. Now, diverse and thrilling eclectically electric battles take place mostly on a thin line between (progressive manifestations of) Death and Doom Metals, and the roars of Evil Forces, backed by a powerful, thunderous work of the rhythm-section, sound here more often than the Hero's voice. So, once a remote angelic female voice now grows into real singing of the Fairy not in vain, as She approaches the Hero at the most dramatic moments of the battle. A mellow instrumental (Another Sign of) The Four, performed in a beautiful and engaging way by an acoustically-peaceful trio of Classical guitar, viola, and real percussion instruments, can be construed as a respite before the regular battle flares up on Garden Song. Meanwhile, a typical Classic Art / Symphonic Rock song The Curve That To an Angle Turn'd with its calm yet complex and amazingly clever arrangements, formed by intricate, yet often of an obviously dramatic feel, parts of duets and trios of the classical guitar, viola and keyboards, as well as by vocal soliloquies of the Hero and vocal dialogues between Him and the Fairy, remind mainly of a thorough preparation to the final battle with monsters on Step Is a Curse. Riseth He: The Numberless, the last composition with signs of heaviness, shows the monster's last Death-ish roars transform into Black-ish rattles before fading away completely. (Another Sign of) The Nine sounds wise rather than triumphant, as the fact that the battle between Good and Evil never ends (at least with regard to our Earthly dimension) is well known even in Africa. Kind of philosophic, mid-tempo ruminations between two acoustic guitars, along with bass guitar and viola solos, go by no means with fanfares. The album's final track, called Monstrously Low Tide, is as complex as an ordinary life in peace, while the latter is as fragile and illusory as an ordinary life itself.
Summary. As well as "Bath", Maudlin Of The Well's "Leave Your Body Map" makes for more than simply a very interesting and original album (a unique blend of Art Rock and Prog Metal with use of jazz brass instruments, in addition, sounds great, doesn't it?), though it's tough to talk of them separately. These two albums, this Mighty Pair represents not only that unique blend of a few progressive genres and sub-genres, but also clearly demonstrates that the "current" wave of Progressive Rock movement is still on the rise, and there are no doubts about its further development. Personally, I find both "Bath" and "Leave Your Body Map" the best Progressive Metal albums in the past four years, ever since Garden Wall's "Chimica" of 1997. Really, they don't sound like anything else. But it is especially significant that this Mighty Pair is a kind of universal progressive work that will definitely appeal to the Prog-lovers from two (at least) largest camps of the genre, named Classic Art Rock and Progressive Metal.
VM. August 8, 2001
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