ALBUM REVIEW: Maud The Moth – Orphne
Classically-trained esoteric vocalist and pianist Maud the moth is back with Orphne, her follow-up to 2015’s The Inner Wastelands. At once exquisite, terrifying, introspective, haunting – this album deserves your time and attention. Listen to by candlelight, on the next full moon.
Opener Ecdysis is an epic eight-minute long exploration by, and introduction to, who this music project is and what she can accomplish. Polyrhythms and epic vocals build towards a brutally beautiful climax in this song, a highlight in an album of highlights.
Feats of classical training, choral arrangement and tinges of dark and doomy jazz create an atmospheric sound which manages to be maintained effortlessly throughout the record, one of the most accomplished things we’ve heard in a while. The themes explored include the philosophical – the self, emotional paralysis – and the dark – trauma, loss, the underworld.
Finisterrae is a haunting, drone-led masterpiece in dark choral storytelling. Truly beautiful and menacing, it builds with black metal-esque drumming to a heart-wrenching climax. An album standout without question. Orphne was mixed and mastered by Jaime Gomez Arellano, who also has projects with Ulver, Ghost and Hexvessel under his belt. The heavier side of Maud the moth is supported perfectly by this partnership, bringing a quiet but steady feeling of oppressiveness to an otherwise delicate-sounding record.
Lead single As Above So Below is clearly the closest thing to radio-friendly we’re going to get from this extraordinary project. It’s shorter, with something of a chorus, and beautifully circling vocal patterns with an almost religious feel. Stunning stuff.
Mormo and the Well is probably the creepiest song on the record, not least because it sounds somewhat like a child’s story. It’s structured more conventionally again, but the repetition of lyric “he will devour” in angelic tones during the middle of the song leaves no doubt that this is not something you will want to play to your child before bed, but possibly during whatever you plan to get up to on the next full moon.
We enter more folk-sy territory with album closer Epoxy Bonds. Sounding like the softer side of Myrkyr, this song is another gorgeous blending of strings and vocals which calls to mind dancing naked in a circle in the woods.
Maud the moth’s classical training is more than apparent during this odyssey of a record. Drawing influences from the likes of classical and choral music, alongside dark jazz, and heavy metal elements as well, Orphne is a tapestry of tones, sounds, experimentation, genre, and is, ultimately, a triumph. Maud the moth’s efforts continue to standout amongst her peers in the realm of esoteric musical exploration. This album is a masterpiece.
Standout Tracks: Ecdysis, Finisterrae, Epoxy Bonds, all of it.
For Fans Of: Chelsea Wolfe, Agnes Obel, Emma Ruth Rundle
Written by: Rosie Esther Solomon