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The Mars Volta - Amputechture CD (album) cover


The Mars Volta


Heavy Prog

3.84 | 535 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars This is probably the most truly 'progressive' rock album released in 2006. It may have been released on a mainstream label, and even non-proggers may have heard of this band, but that doesn't change a thing. In contrast to 'nice' symphonic prog bands like the Flower Kings or Spock's Beard, the Mars Volta take genuine risks and really try to blow the listener's mind. Their music is complex, hectic and often wildly exciting. Calling it 'commercial modern prog' just doesn't make sense. It's no more commercial than A PASSION PLAY or TOPOGRAPHIC OCEANS.

Unfortunately, that's not AMPUTECHTURE's only resemblance to those notorious mid- seventies beasts. For what exactly is the concept behind this album? What do all the disjointed images mean? Cedric, the band's lyricist, belongs to the "I wants to make your flesh creep" camp of writing. His lyrics about 'sepulchers' (which he bizarrely pronounces as 'sePULchers'), 'holding up your entrails' and such, sound rather sophomoric. They do not fill this listener with horror; they merely annoy. And don't get me started on Cedric's shrieking. His high-pitched vocals were (just) bearable when he got to sing recognisable melodies (as on DELOUSED or FRANCIS THE MUTE, both of which I enjoyed), but with this album he seems to have tipped over the edge.

Nevertheless, AMPUTECHTURE is worth a listen, simply because of the visionary quality of the band's playing. Sax, lead guitar, organ, bass and drums all deserve praise, and ensemble playing is impeccable. Would it be too much to ask for an instrumental album next?

fuxi | 3/5 |


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