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The Mars Volta - De-Loused in the Comatorium CD (album) cover


The Mars Volta


Heavy Prog

4.19 | 1244 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars This is a pretty damn good album, considering its placement in time far from the golden days of prog. Once upon a time I caught 'De-Loused In The Comatorium' in the background, and heard something really quite interesting... heavy guitar riffing and wailing rock vocals that usually would not grab my attention at all, but somehow in this continuous barrage of noise there was something unique and compelling. A memory of something quite disturbing, of great energy, stayed with me until I decided to pick up the album for myself and explore further.

It wasn't too long until De-Loused was getting a daily airing. I found the album to be a fairly strong musical journey, unlike anything I'd heard before. Musically, the guitar playing especially is inspiring, incredibly fluid and constantly varying in style and texture, and the heavy metal riffing sound I originally identified turned out to be only one colour used well within the overall painting. There are many soft moments here, too, that blend naturally with the aggressive without any stink of contrivance. Lyrically I was also very intrigued by the half-adventure story, half-abstract wordplay, which works well as an instrument in itself along with the music. Quickly I began to find more subtle qualities to Bixler-Zavala's vocals, and to appreciate both the clarity of his tone - consistent regardless of how much he darts maniacally around his range - and the clever effects used to grant more ear-bending variations on the delivery of his lines. There is thus a genderless, alien aspect to his singing on this album, combined with an unusual sense of melody that rarely relies just on phrasing along with the rest of the rhythm section. The bass, drums and keyboards also play crucial parts in each track, and display similar energy in their own ways.

The result of an hour riding this vicious onslaught is serious mental exhaustion. In its own right - that is, without the accompanying storybook available on the net - there is next to no narrative cohesion here, and instead De-Loused invites the listener to a restless banquet of skewed, abstract impressions and emotions, all piled upon one another and demanding submission to the febrile, demented viewpoint. The effect is the feeling of looking into the mouth of madness, being dragged mercilessly down the rabbithole, and thus to some extent The Mars Volta have succeeded in a rare depiction of an extended human dream/nightmare state.

ThulŽatan | 3/5 |


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