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The Mars Volta - Octahedron CD (album) cover


The Mars Volta


Heavy Prog

3.68 | 453 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars More melody, less dense, less cocaine.

Octahedron is a unique release. This is a reletively sparse, mellow, and mature TMV and their most impressive album since De-Loused. Gone is the "Everything in the kitchen sink" approach of previous releases, and what we have is something akin to Televators and it is a great step. Octahedron is much more vocal focused than before, but that's fine because Cedric is in good form. The playing is just as great as we would expect from TMV, only more focused.

From the opening track Since We've Been Wrong, I knew greatness was coming. How can a fevered high-energy band such as TMV begin a song with a 1 1/2 minute long note? A gorgeous and careful guitar picks across each vocal phrase as the song begins. Have you ever heard Cedric sound so delicate and longing as when he says "Since you've been wrong"? The song swells and calms with keys dabbling between verses. And the payoff begins as soon as the drums pound into existance. Solid start to the album.

The stand out tracks for me here are Halo of Nembutals and With Twilight as My Guide for reasons TMV usually does not impress with. Halo has a great rhythmic and ambient intro as Cedric sings a few sparsely accompanied phrases. He sounds great even without the music behind him. It is an obvious tension as you wait for the sound to slam in. The vocals and drums seem to be the lead players as they carry this song from beginning to end. Guitars and keys provide chords and twisted tones in the background. This song is vocal focused which is unusal for TMV and superb.

Next we have With Twilight as My Guide which is an 8 minute song with no drums . And its wonderful and evocative. Cedric contributes his most beautiful vocals to date. (Who knew this guy could sing beautifully?) Its is sad and soft and interesting all at the same time. Omars strums lightly under the vocals as synths provide background chords and oscillations. They did a fantastic work of engineering this song, particulary in the vocal choruses where they hit that "sweet spot".

Luciforms begins with a 1 1/2 tensioned organ-like intro as the bass comes in to bounce between octaves. Enjoyable guitar work by Omar throughout. The songs manages to catch some of the franticness of past releases while still maintaining the "sparse" feel of this album. Its a dark song and a lot of fun.

What we have is a return to grace for The Mars Volta. They have matured and grown on this album. A different, fresh, and inciteful work and their best since De-Loused. An excellent addition to any prog rock music collection, 4/5 stars.

bloodnarfer | 4/5 |


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