The Maw is a four piece post-metal group from Des Moines, Iowa. Rather than sticking to the traditional post-metal format of sludge + ambience (like Neurosis, Isis, Cult of Luna, etc.) The Maw incorporate heavy doses of experimental, progressive, classic rock and metal which pushes their sound in a direction that is more similar to bands like Mastodon, Burst and The Ocean.
“1937” is a sprawling musical odyssey; the five tracks boast a total playing time of over forty-nine minutes. Despite the extended song length, The Maw seldom meander and know how to keep things interesting by incorporating inventive guitar and bass styles (Forrest Lonefight and Joseph Antelman), piano, organ and synth that range from atmospheric to classical (Erik Brown, who also contributes vocals and trumpet) and drumming that is both explosive and creative (Alan Domer). The vocals are at times sparse, which they should be for this type of music. When Erik does sing, his parts are skillfully executed and never over indulgent.
Standout tracks on the album are the relatively short “To Close Third Eyes” and the epic closer “Seven”. Clocking in at 5:37 and incorporating some very memorable vocal melodies, “To Close Third Eyes” is the only track that is even close to being suitable for radio play. “Seven” is a very diverse track which starts with acoustic guitar and layered vocals and eventually shifts to some of the heaviest material on the album. This song ends perfectly. Crushingly heavy sludge metal fades out like parting storm clouds letting the sunlight of an elegant piano piece shine through.
Overall, “1937” is a promising debut from a young band. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for The Maw as they grow and progress.