I’ve gone from one end of the spectrum to the other with Consouling Sounds releases these last few weeks. Previously I reviewed the latest album from Gnaw Their Tongues: a dark, dirty barrage of experimental black metal. Today, I’m reviewing the latest release from Maudlin called Sassuma Arnaa. Belgium produces some wonderful music. Amenra and Charnia have both blown me away with recent releases. Will Maudlin follow suit?
From the opening chords to the track Endless Expanse, it’s clear that Maudlin has a sound rooted in prog, psychedelia and doom. The soaring melodic vocals are much to my liking as is the thick spacey guitar tone. It creates a rich sonic atmosphere that is very pleasing to these ears. At over ten minutes in length, second track, Erase is a slow burner of a song, but man is it good. I love the melodic intro that gives way to a great verse, backed by an almost bouncy guitar riff. There is a hint of Enslaved during the chorus and I’m loving what I’m hearing so far. This album sounds huge, the mixing is spot on with each instrument given space to breathe. The title track, Sassuma Arnaa opens with a grooving riff and ends up being my favourite song on the album. It is a sweeping song built upon layers of rumbling guitar and a melodic vocal line that bears resemblance to Tool.
As the title perhaps suggests, Above the Vast Clouds opens with a dreamy passage of music. With the introduction of the vocals, this soothing track proves to be another solid track that provides a welcome change of pace. The Fog Returns and Bete Noire are okay too and the album finishes on a high with The Stowaway. I love the chiming guitar sounds on this track. It really is a melodic monster of a tune that features numerous shifts between crushingly heavy riffing and shimmering guitar lines.
Overall, I was pretty pleased with Maudlin‘s latest release. As the title suggests, Sassuma Arnaa has a huge sound. The musicianship is top-notch, full of memorable riffs and I’m a fan of the vocals too. Another strong release from Consouling Sounds.
Thanks to Viral Propaganda PR for the review copy. \,,/
Nearly five years following the release of their critically lauded Consouling Sounds debut “A Sign of Time”, Belgian post-metal group return with their fourth album “Sassuma Arnaa”.
Just like its predecessors, “Sassuma Arnaa” has shaped up to be a conceptual album, this time focusing on the sea. Being a very personal album for all the members of Maudlin, who all live near the shores of the North Sea, this new effort reflects on the several antagonisms of the sea, it gives and it takes, it beats and anoints and its immense beauty is always in stark contrast to its grand brutality.
To capture the feel of this concept, Maudlin opted to record the album in their hometown and together with producer Serge Feys, known for his work for with artists like Arno, T.C. and Matic among others, they locked themselves up in the cellars of ‘De Grote Post’, the cultural centre of their beloved Ostend.
A month after the recordings, Matt Bayles, known for his duties for Mastodon, Isis, Russian Circles, took over from Serge Feys. Matt, who comes from a family of seafarers, was immediately intrigued by the concept and added his own twist to it with his outstanding mixing job at his Red Room Studios in Seattle.
All together they managed to push the boundaries and transformed Maudlin into a psychedelic prog-rock and doom-influenced band that is somewhat reminiscent of Alice In Chains with a slight of Porcupine Tree twist and enveloped in a Hawkwind mist. With this album under their belt, Maudlin is ready, more than ever, to leave an over lasting impression on their long-time fans and conquer new listeners as well.