Bart M. : The fourth album from Belgian quintet Maudlin is titled 'Sassuma Arnaa', which translates to something like "Mother of the Deep". A sea goddess from Greenlandish mythology. This and the album cover (which shows some kind of steampunk man sitting on a throne of coral, all of this covered in things you will find down in the sea) are a good indication that what we are dealing with is a concept album that focuses on the mighty sea in both its calmness and its fury.
Therefore it is not strange that all the time while listening to 'Sassuma Arnaa' you get the idea that on the one hand you are moving through a dream and on the other hand you are waking up in a total nightmare. This music is very atmospheric and there are multiple things that make it so. It is calm and psychedelic but there is a lot happening, musically, in the background so there is never a point where your mind wonders away from the music. This does not mean the music sounds chaotic or messy: I get the idea that every sound and every chord is placed in each song very deliberately. The music is heavy. Not because you walk into a wall of sound (even though the music is quite solid), but because the theme and the images that it conjures paint quite a dark picture. The vocals are also used very well: when needed we hear a powerful, loud voice, but overall it is steady and calm, and it is this calmness that makes each track just a tad heavier.
Reading certain titles (not just with this band) can often give you a very expansive image and feeling of what that song is going to be about. Maudlin manages to expertly mold the music so that each song has the exact shape of what the title promises. 'Endless Expanse'. 'Above The Vast Clouds'. If these words touch you, you would do well to listen to this album. I think if Anathema had gone into a louder direction than they have done now and then fused with Opeth you would get the sound that is on this album. Fortunately they did not, and now we have Maudlin to thank for 'Sassuma Arnaa'.