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Music / maudlin of the Well

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maudlin of the Well (capitalisation intentional) was a Progressive Death Metal band from Boston, MA. They released three albums from 1999 to 2001, the latter two of which were conceptually linked, before they changed their name to Kayo Dot. They later reconvened (as maudlin of the Well again) to record material they had written during their existence as maudlin of the Well before re-dissolving the project back into Kayo Dot. This material was generally Lighter and Softer than the band's preceding material and qualified mostly as Progressive Rock. The band has performed live sporadically since then, but has mostly remained inactive; however, the 2021 Kayo Dot album Moss Grew on the Swords and Plowshares Alike is a maudlin of the Well album in all but name, as the lineup of the album matches the original maudlin of the Well lineup exactly.

The band's work has generally been a case of Keep Circulating the Tapes, as it has been released mainly in limited production runs and attracted a cult following. However, Blood Music (fairly) recently reissued their material in both CD and vinyl formats (with the now-defunct Antithetic Records co-releasing the vinyl), and these are generally not too hard to find (although still a bit pricey).

Part the Second is available for free here, and most of the band's other non-demo material can be streamed at Kayo Dot's Bandcamp page (although My Fruit Psychobells is missing, as are some of the bonus tracks included on past reissues of the albums).


  • Through Languid Veins (demo, 1996)
  • Begat of the Haunted Oak: An Acorn (demo, 1997)
  • Odes to Darksome Spring (demo, 1997)
  • Sacred Spaces - Second demo - January 1997 (demo, 1997note )
  • For My Wife (demo, 1998)
  • My Fruit PsychoBells...a seed combustible (1999)
  • "Bath" (2001)
  • Leaving Your Body Map (2001)
  • Part the Second (2009)

Band members

  • Jason Byron
  • Toby Driver
  • Greg Massi
  • Maria-Stella Fountoulakis
  • Josh Seipp-Williams
  • Jason Bitner
  • Terran Olson
  • Sam Gutterman
  • Nicholas Kyte
  • Andrew Dickson


  • Anti-Love Song: "They Aren't All Beautiful" is a really nasty one.
  • Astral Projection: How the band claimed to write songs. Most of their lyrics also concern the subject.
  • Avant-Garde Metal: A seminal example of the genre, although they never gained more than a cult following.
  • Breather Episode: Lots of them. The interludes on Bath and Leaving Your Body Map are excellent examples.
  • Call-Back: "An Excerpt from 6,000,000,000,000 Miles Before the First, or, the Revisitation of the Blue Ghost", naturally, refers to "The Blue Ghost/Shedding Qliphoth" in its title.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Toby Driver certainly comes off this way, especially in maudlin of the Well.
  • Digital Piracy Is Okay: Part the Second was released on the internet for free. The band mostly didn't care if you traded their other material on the internet, because it was so difficult to find. They do prefer that you buy their new albums as Kayo Dot though, because they use record sales to fund their new recordings. You can stream nearly everything they ever recorded at Kayo Dot's Bandcamp (the demos are considered an Old Shame and unlikely to be released to the public with the exception of Sacred Spaces, and strangely enough My Fruit Psychobells wasn't up on their Bandcamp until 2019).
  • Distinct Double Album: Bath and Leaving Your Body Map make up a strange case in that the two albums are intended to be listened to one after the other, but they were released as separate albums.
  • Either/Or Title: "An Excerpt from 6,000,000,000,000 Miles Before the First, or, the Revisitation of the Blue Ghost" combines this with Long Title.
  • Epic Instrumental Opener: A lot of them. "The Blue Ghost/Shedding Qliphoth" stands out as an eight-minute intro piece to Bath. "Birth Pains of Astral Projection" also goes on for awhile before the vocals enter.
  • Epic Rocking: Several of their songs are very long. "Laboratories of the Invisible World" is the longest, at nearly twelve minutes, although the song "What Ascends the Violet Sea" off of the Sacred Spaces demo is fourteen minutes in length!
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: "They Aren't All Beautiful" isn't beautiful.
  • Fractured Fairy Tale: The general impression given off by "Bath".
  • Genre Roulette: Wikipedia's list of styles performed by the band includes *deep breath* "Doom Metal, Jazz, Progressive Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Post-Rock, Progressive Metal, Death Metal, and Gothic Metal, as well as chamber music, Ambient music and New Age music".
  • Gratuitous Latin: The lyrics to "The Ferryman" are written entirely in Latin.
  • Instrumentals: The four interludes on Bath and Leaving Your Body Map and "The Blue Ghost/Shedding Qliphoth".
  • Jump Scare: The first relaxing interlude on Bath is immediately followed by the roaring pipe organ intro of "The Ferryman."
  • Lighter and Softer: Part the Second doesn't have any Harsh Vocals and barely any hard rocking sections.
  • Long Title: Several of them, most notably "An Excerpt from 6,000,000,000,000 Miles Before the First, or, the Revisitation of the Blue Ghost" and "Laboratories of the Invisible World (Rollerskating the Cosmic Palmistric Postborder)".
  • Longest Song Goes Last: Part the Second ends with "Laboratories of the Invisible World (Rollerskating the Cosmic Palmistric Postborder)", at 11:50, nearly a minute longer than the next-longest track, "An Excerpt from 6,000,000,000,000 Miles Before the First, or, the Revisitation of the Blue Ghost".
  • Lucky Charms Title: The packaging for Bath and Leaving Your Body Map has some weird symbols in place of titles for the instrumental interlude tracks. Fans usually just refer to them as "Interlude 1" through "Interlude 4".
  • Lyrical Cold Open: "Gleam in Ranks" and "The Curve That To An Angle Turn'd".
  • Mind Screw: The band's occult themes and lyrics are frequently very difficult to comprehend. They're not musically very accessible, either.
    • In regards to them, motW seems to follow a concept of some sorts, as a shirt has a very incomprehensible story called "Part the First" (which could be connected to the album Part the Second), and then of course there are the very abstract themes of My Fruit PsychoBells..., the connection puzzle between Bath and Leaving Your Body Map, and of course their name. Your guess is as good as ours.
  • Mood Whiplash: This band were masters of this trope. The way "The Blue Ghost" leads into "They Aren't All Beautiful" has to be heard to be believed.
  • Moon Logic Puzzle: The "puzzle" behind Bath and Leaving Your Body Map, with only "The Secret Song" being a help as a clue. Nobody has fully solved it.
  • Progressive Death Metal: Some of their material.
  • Progressive Instrumentation: "Ferocious Weights" starts with rhythm guitar, then adds bass, lead guitar, drums, horns, and finally vocals.
  • Progressive Rock: Other parts of their material, including nearly all of Part the Second.
  • Rearrange the Song: "An Excerpt from 6,000,000,000,000 Miles Before the First, or, the Revisitation of the Blue Ghost" is a rearrangement of the song "The Blue Ghost/Shedding Qliphoth".
  • Retraux: Not so much musically, but aesthetically. Their album art often resembles artwork found in old children's books and they frequently write lyrics in deliberately antiquated English.
  • Shout-Out: "Girl with a Watering Can" is named after a painting by Pierre-Auguste Renoir.
  • Soprano and Gravel: On the first three albums they alternate the traditional Harsh Vocals of Death Metal with both male and female clean singing.
  • Spiritual Successor: The boundary between maudlin of the Well and Kayo Dot was always rather thin, and Moss Grew on the Swords and Plowshares Alike basically annihilates what little remnant of one still existed, since the original maudlin of the Well lineup recorded it under the name Kayo Dot.
  • Surprisingly Gentle Song: Many of the band's songs could qualify, but "Interlude 3" and "Sleep Is a Curse" stand out for sheer sweetness. While they're thought of as a metal band, even on their metal albums, up to half the songs don't really qualify as metal; apart from the examples above, all the interludes, "The Blue Ghost/Shedding Qliphoth", and "Marid's Gift of Art" also qualify for this trope. Beyond that, of course, Part the Second is a surprisingly gentle album.
  • Uncommon Time: Not as often as with Kayo Dot, but they still use it. "Pondering a Wall", "Girl With a Watering Can", "Riseth He, the Numberless", "Secret Song", and "Laboratories of the Invisible World" are a few examples, though there are undoubtedly others.
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: The music to some extent, but the puzzle. There's more detail under Epileptic Trees on the YMMV page, but there's apparently a puzzle buried in the packaging/lyrics of Bath and Leaving Your Body Map, and "The Secret Song" was intended to help decipher it. To this day, no one has done so, and Toby Driver isn't telling. This is so extreme that it leads one to wonder whether it was deliberately invoked.
  • Word Salad Lyrics/Word Salad Title: Though a lot of their lyrics only look like Word Salad Lyrics due to depending on knowledge of the occult and other esoteric subjects to be comprehensible, some of them are still genuine examples.