Sound — 8
Maudlin of the Well merge violin, piano, guitar and a wide variety of other instruments to great effect, producing a unique avante-garde jazz feel that entrances listeners. Hypnotic, unusual chord voicings wind around progressive piano lines, driven forward by drumming which refuses to regulate the music - it is an essential part of the pieces, as opposed to a form of structure enforcement. Maudlin's unique take on sound form is impressive; the five songs that this album consists of holds true to their distinctive aural landscape, without becoming dull or used: In fact, as we are led deeper into pieces, we notice more of the subtle nuances of the band's vision, and the music becomes increasingly aggressive and disharmonious, leading up to the final two pieces which merge fusion with attacking riffs, and unpleasant sounding chords - yet this does not deter the listener. Maudlin's timbre is finely balanced to bewitch and please, despite the thick aggression present towards the end of the album. Part the Second was funded by fans, and this album pays back their donations by far; motW deliver their best.
Lyrics — 6
The lyrics tend to be poetic, with no clear meaning. They are delivered sometimes well, and at other times, the notes seem to fall flat - if this is an intentional addition to the 'avant-garde' sound, then it is unwelcome. If not, it's down to an inability to sing excellently. Either way, the singing doesn't often gel well with the music, and the lyrics might be a little too up in the air to be taken seriously, as they rarely make sense, and are sometimes delivered in an odd or unexpected sentence structure. This failing can be overlooked mostly, however, as the lyrics and singing are definitely a less focal point than the music itself. Perhaps an instrumental effort would have been best for motW.
Overall Impression — 7
The album is overflowing with style, intense progression, and the production value is vastly improved over previous attempts, in my opinion. The music can be strange, and unpredictable, making it not the easiest album to listen to, but once this barrier has been overcome, it is very enjoyable, and showcases some very talented musicians. I'm not sure who to compare motW to most, as their approach is not the most shocking, but not the most expected. Certainly, what they do is beautiful at the best, but it can be ugly at the worst, a genre-curse which avant-garde artists often seem to fall into without noticing, for the sake of differencing themselves from other bands. Despite this, they put forward a decent album overall, which is let down by poor vocals.