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


The Mars Volta


Heavy Prog

4.19 | 1138 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Prog Reviewer
3 stars One of the more encouraging signs of life for Prog Rock in the early 21st Century is the growing popularity, against any reasonable expectation, of the Mars Volta, a difficult band with an uncompromising musical vision and a fan base stretching from hardcore metal heads to psychedelic warlords to seekers of genuine off-the-wall weirdness. Talk about crossover appeal: I first heard of them myself in the otherwise decidedly mainstream pages of my local daily paper (The Buffalo News, hardly in the vanguard of cutting edge cultural journalism, but lucky to at least employ one first-rate music writer).

There's no easy way to become acquainted with The Mars Volta. But in retrospect, being introduced to the band through their sophomore album "Frances the Mute" was not unlike learning how to swim by jumping headfirst into a shark-infested whirlpool. By comparison, their 2003 debut album "De-loused in the Comatorium" sounds almost (but not quite) normal, which may explain its higher overall rating here at Prog Archives.

Be forewarned, however: to the uninitiated the album is no less outrageous than its successors, presenting a unique blend of hyperactive metal and psychedelic salsa that has to be heard to be believed. This is clearly a band ahead of its time, but here the music sounds more like a rough sketch of something still a few years away from its fullest realization, with more conventional instrumentation and only limited use of the studio wizardry that would characterize their later efforts.

The music and lyrics (sung in a sometimes frantic mix of English and Spanish) are thick with arcane symbolism and surrealist imagery, as even a token glance at the CD cover art should no doubt make plain. And in true Prog Rock fashion there is (of course) a concept behind it all, with a web-link in the CD booklet to the presumably official explanation, for anyone bold enough to venture that far.

But the music, by itself, should pose enough of a challenge for newcomers like me. Consider The Mars Volta a test of your Prog credentials. At the very least you'll succeed in clearing the room of any unwanted guests; and at best you might just be turned on to some exciting new music, which ought to be the goal of any self- respecting Progger.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |


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