maudlin of the Well
Bath


5.0
classic

Review

by Nick Mongiardo CONTRIBUTOR (131 Reviews)
August 30th, 2015 | 183 replies


Release Date: 2001 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Dark, twisted and oddly charming, Bath takes the listener down an unforgettable ride.

An album truly unfocused in nature usually tends to have a negative effect on the listener. Jumping from style to style often jars the ears and usually puts a damper on the experience. However, this concept can be easily overlooked if the artist’s creativity and passion overshadows said style’s spastic nature. Maudlin of the Well shot for the stars with Bath and literally destroyed all odds against them by applying this scatterbrained concept to their masterful work with grace. Their innovative technique reveals a dark, twisted and yet oddly beautiful fantasy that can only be interpreted in numerous ways. This expertly crafted work proves to be eccentric, crazy, bipolar and most importantly, one of the most gratifying musical experiences of our generation.

The brilliance of Bath happens to be how it simply cannot be described in one sentence. It has so much to offer that portraying it as a masterful progressive album only barely scratches the surface. It's art in the most profound sense. Take “The Blue Ghost/Shedding Qliphoth” for example, with its undeniably creative minimalism. The gentle piano and fantastic saxophone melody heightens the lush atmosphere to great effect. In addition to this, the song has exceptionally repetitious guitar work galore and makes for one of the most evocative openers in recent memory. However, the one two punch of this song and “They Aren’t All Beautiful” juxtaposes surprisingly seamlessly because of the latter’s death metal vibe. “They Aren’t All Beautiful” takes the listener even further down the rabbit hole with engaging guitar riffs, intense drumming and chilling growls. These two songs alone reveal the twisted vibe of the band's imaginative fantasy, whatever it may be. Aside from the cryptic story Bath is trying to tell, the variety is revealed even more throughout the record.

From the overall soothing and childish mood of “Heaven and Weak” to the strangely absorbing atmosphere of “The Ferryman,” the whole album has no rhyme or reason to its flow. Ironically, the record flows absurdly well all things considered. With the exception of the unexpectedly heavy section at the end of “Heaven and Weak,” the childish and pleasant vibe of the song will bring out the kid in you by means of touching guitar work and Toby's immature voice. Aided by the ever so lovely “Interlude 1” cramped in between them, “The Ferryman” brings out everything insane in music. The organ chills to the bone and Toby’s evil growls only manage to heighten the dark atmosphere. Fittingly enough, the song closes out with the lengthy sound of someone, or something, taking a bath. One could even argue how this being is drowning because of the suffering sounds. The moans and snarls of this thing will certainly induce a slight cringe regardless of any interpretation.

The darker part of the record actually tapers off a bit in the second half with “Girl with a Watering Can” and “Birth Pains of Astral Projection.” The former exists as a song to just take it all in due to the elegant guitar work and the homage to the opening track. Directly succeeding it is “Birth Pains of Astral Projection.” Even though it features a lengthy section of harsh vocals, it somehow manages to deliver a graceful listen. It’s without a doubt a testament to the eccentricity of it all, with the alluring guitar work being juxtaposed with the hard hitting vocals similar to "They Aren't All Beautiful," but in a lighter fashion.

The listener will likely fail to find words to describe a first listen when this is over. Maudlin of the Well’s vision for this proves to be nothing short of complex and multi-dimensional. Not only is it atmospheric from beginning to end, but the many styles mixed in here makes it nearly impossible to pigeon hole. There’s progressive rock/metal, minimalism, jazz and death metal all scattered throughout, but it nonetheless persists with an overall seamless essence. Requiring multiple listens to legitimately grasp, Bath will always go down as one of the most essential listens of this generation. This record alone is a masterpiece, but once it’s over, the overwhelming desire to jump right into the famed second half will skyrocket.



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user ratings (1107)
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
August 30th 2015


17738 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This has grown on me soooo much lately so really wanted to do this. As always, any critiques are welcome!

Gwyn.
August 30th 2015


16736 Comments


I've said it tons and tons of times in the past but I still think the opener for this is one of the best things ever, never been a big fan of the rest of the album though

Good review

TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
August 30th 2015


14872 Comments


Good review, I've been meaning to check this out.

TheSonomaDude
August 30th 2015


4973 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

My most recent 5/5, good shit

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
August 30th 2015


17738 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks. Fair enough Gwyn but agreed about the opener. Sensational song.



@Talons yes please do I think you'll love it.

FacelessMan
August 30th 2015


993 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

ayyy my Italian nigga Mongi

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
August 30th 2015


17738 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yep Tony Soprano's distant relative right here

OldManGramps
August 30th 2015


122 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Great review. Heaven and Weak has always been my favorite off of this.

FacelessMan
August 30th 2015


993 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

amazing review, havent jammed this in a while

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
August 30th 2015


17738 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks man I've been jamming this a whole lot lately. You should change that man.

FacelessMan
August 30th 2015


993 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

perhaps i will, depends on my mood though

YetAnotherBrick
August 30th 2015


6502 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

good review, but i think you talk a little too much about specifics in how the album sounds, it's kind of just a tbt in disguise. should've gone a little deeper into what the album represents. good writing tho. i need to listen to this again. i got it, and Leaving Your Body Map on vinyl :D

Digging: Bill Withers - Just As I Am

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
August 30th 2015


17738 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Honestly dude, I haven't really figured it out how to piece it's representation together yet haha but yea I agree with you. I'm all about describing the sound. Just my style but yea not for everyone. Thanks for the kind words though and congrats on those vinyls I'm jealous!

Frippertronics
August 30th 2015


8655 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

blood music still has a good amount of this and LYBM i believe

Digging: Nine Inch Nails - The Downward Spiral

YetAnotherBrick
August 30th 2015


6502 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yeah it's one of a kind. i mean, there's a ton of other prog metal bands out there that do their share of genre-hopping, but nobody's ever really done it like this. i mean, the opener is an 8-minute smooth jazz odyssey. jesus christ. honestly it's kind of a shame people put this under the "metal" umbrella so much; it's really just a balls-out, no-boundaries experimental record

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
August 30th 2015


17738 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Agreed that's definitely the brilliance of it. It's so avant garde in it's genre hopping.

YetAnotherBrick
August 30th 2015


6502 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Have you heard Part the Second?

Gyromania
August 30th 2015


20801 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

part the second is great but this and body map both destroy it imo.

Gyromania
August 30th 2015


20801 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

will read the rev later mongi but ily

YetAnotherBrick
August 30th 2015


6502 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i almost like it better than this sometimes. almost. honestly it's almost not a motW album, it's so far removed from this sound (though they have many haha)



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