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


The Mars Volta


Heavy Prog

4.19 | 1293 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

1 stars 0 Stars. Prog at its worst.

I have quite a bit of history with TMV which I have to go though before my viewpoint of this band and album becomes clear. I came to discover Prog music about 11 years ago (2004, I was about 14 at the time) though classic Prog bands such as Genesis and Yes. I spent a long time embracing that genre and loving almost all of it. Eventually I decided to look at modern Prog to see how the genre had progressed. So I randomly started with Tool and The Mars Volta given the praise they were getting at the time.

When I heard both bands back then I was horrified by what I was listening. I found TMV to be stupidly over the top, physically painful to listen to and with some of the most annoying singing I had ever heard in my life! I quickly developed a extreme hatred for both bands. I was so put off that I refused to listen to any form of modern Heavy Prog/Prog Metal for 5 years, assuming they would all sound just as horrible. This I now regret significantly as I ignored what would be some of my favorite bands (PT, Anathema, Opeth etc) at that time.

10 years on my musical tastes have changed and I am now much more at home with heavy music including Death and Black metal, but until last week I still refused to Give Tool or TMV a second chance. I figured now is a good time to give both bands a listen again using all the musical insight I have gained since my teenage years. <3>

I found that I had softened my opinion with Tool somewhat, but with TMV nothing has changed. In fact I find them even worse then I did then due to the songwriting being sub-par. For those that have not heard the band they combine King Crimson like frenzy-ness with Latin-inspired Santana along with more Post-Hardcore and Nu-metal features. This translates into lots of fast paced screechy electric guitar solos, manic drumming and ultra-high pitched singing/screaming which sounds like Geddy Lee after breathing in from a helium balloon. This fast paced and very high pitch music is almost relentless (with the exception of Televators, the only song I can listen to without having to fight the urge to press skip). There are quiet moments which tend to be very brief before things get crazy again. Where they do settle down they show that have some abilities in psychedelic rock as well.

The problem with De-Loused and TMV in general is that the band try to act as super-intelligent and complex, but in reality it is all a illusion. Lets start with the lyrics as apparently this is a concept album of a man in a coma for one week due to taking morphine and rat poison (hardly a inspiring concept). But when you look at the lyrics (and song titles) you will find the band have been taken obscure words from the dictionary and used them everywhere. Unlike someone such as Jon Anderson from Yes (who can be understood with a bit of effort) its pretty much impossible to work out what the band are talking about and combined with the fast paced singing/screaming you will never know what they are babbling on about.

As for the complex musicianship, its just noodling at a huge scale. Now Prog Metal and modern Symphonic Prog are well known for noodling and I myself don't have a big problem with it. However usually the Prog band know how to make the track reasonably coherent and to put a usually overblown (but entertaining) story-line in to tie things together. TMV does none of that, its just endless blasts of random odd-time signatures with no care of song development beyond the "ooh cool playing" gimmick which quickly loses interest. It means the band has nothing to say that is artistically interesting.

Finally being somewhat subjective the music played here is very painful to listen to. And when I say painful I am being literal. The high pitch vocals and music is very painful for my ears to tolerate even at low volume. I don't think I have ever gotten though a listen without having a real headache at the end of it. Of course the singer can't help the way he sings, but its something else that needs to be taken into account before you explore this band. You may be like me and just find the music on offer here unbearable regardless of quality. 10 years of listening to a very wide range of progressive music (including Death and Black metal) has done nothing to make this album any more enjoyable for me

The most annoying thing about this band is that they are technically very talented and have been able to create a sound that is unique to themselves. Even though they do not suit my tastes at all I would have given the band 3 stars had the songwriting been strong. The problem is that they wasted all that talent in making emotionless, super self-indulgent music along with immature and ridiculous lyrics. There is nothing in this album that sounds genuine or well crafted. In fact they are showcasing prog Rock at its very worst, where the band puffs itself into some super-complex, intelligent and deep bunch of artists when in fact they are only making fools out of the listener by pretending to have a master plan when in fact there is none.

I find nothing positive to say about this album or TMV in general, they are easily the worst Prog-Rock band I have ever heard. TMV fans will be glad to know that I am only reviewing this album with 1 star as I cannot bear the torture of going though any more of their albums (I have heard snippets of other albums and see they don't get any better). If any TMV fans want to contact me and counter what I have said then I welcome it with a open mind, but you better come prepared as I really cannot stand this band whatsoever.

LakeGlade12 | 1/5 |


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