Maudlin is band which since forming in 2004 has never taken a step back from investigating and attempting to stretch the realms of psychedelic rock with imagination and startling musical intrigue. The release of their second album shows the band has not lost their adventure or gasp of exploring with inciting intent. A Sign of Time captures the imagination from start to finish whilst inspiring it to interpret its own passage of events within the release. The band challenges and provokes the listener constantly whilst rewarding their attention with a consuming expanse of melodic flames, dramatic rhythms, and muscular intensity. It is a thoroughly compelling release leaving one exhausted but equally invigorated.
The new release finds its roots in debut album Ionesco of 2008 which was based on a tale of a patient in the 1940s who had a transorbital lobotomy performed upon him by Dr Freeman, a man with no formal surgical training who performed in excess of 3,400 procedures and charging only $25 for each. It was a theme as dramatic and powerful lyrically as the sounds which held them and A Sign Of Time is no different. Looking at the same patient, his near death experience, and the emotionally impact of memories which make people who they are, the album is a progressive psychedelic storm of passion and invention smothered by a hallucinogenic atmospheric sea.
The album opens on the mesmeric yet abstract caress of Hours, a track with gentle soothing vocals skirted by whispered uncertainty and a brewing chilled atmosphere. It is a brief breath leading into She Whispers Treason, a senses plundering doom laded spread of intensity and heavy ravenous sounds. Instantly the bass of Yannick Dumarey opens up the darkest hungriest shadows to prowl the glorious melodic flames of guitarists Jasper Bullynck and Kris Vannecke. They both offer exemplary vocal harmonies to coax the listener further into the shadowed depths framed by the words and vocals of Davy De Schrooder. It is a potent and excellently dramatic full opening to the album which immediately triggers visual thoughts and emotions from within the heated fiery skies of the song.
The impacting ambience and textures of Lilith initially lies with a tender rub against the ear before evolving into a rigorous encounter with, as in the first song, the hard and evocative rhythms from drummer Davy Vandenbroecke framing the sonic and melodic colouring painting the canvas of the song. The track leans heavily upon the senses for the fullest of satisfaction before passing them on to the less intense but equally aurally prismatic A Perfect Sky of Black. Once more the impressive bass of Dumarey snarls and intimidates within yet another diversely painted realm of vibrant imagination and rich musical colour. It is a stunning blend of light and dark, fear and reassurance brought with expertise and inspirational grandeur.
The album continues to impress and thrill across its impassioned length with tracks like the exceptional Ride The Second Wave with its smouldering Type O Negative like presence, the totally hypnotic Goddess Of The Flame clad in a persistent gravelly bass groove, melodic fire, and haunting near vocal bedlam, and the sonically and emotionally kaleidoscopic Chasing Shades, immersing the listener in intense and riveting inventive craft.
The album ends on Turn To Seconds, a thirty five second course of static with a slamming dramatic finality to close the equally enthralling tale, it is a powerful end to a towering album. Released on Consouling Sounds, A Sign of Time is destined to be one of the most important albums of the year and Maudlin a band on the lips of most rock fans but especially those who find bands such as Neurosis, Type O Negative, Mastodon, and Pink Floyd are constants in their hearts.
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