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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

The Pessimist
Prog Reviewer
5 stars This, asa lot of you may know, is hailed to be THE Mars Volta album by the majority of their fans. I don't entirely agree with that sentiment, as I do prefer Frances The Mute, but nevertheless, it is still a masterpiece. No-one before (as far as I know) had achieved the style of music that is generated within the dark, creative brain of Omar Rodrigeuz-Lopez, and the only band that came close in my opinion was his previous outfit At The Drive In, a non-prog band. Having said this, you can pretty much imagine the impact this had on the prog scene. And what's more, they pretty much came out of thin air. Yes, admittedly they had released an EP beforehand, but it didn't even touch this standard of music so it went pretty much unrecognised globally. However, when this album exploded onto the prog scene at the very beginning of the 2000s, it printed their name solidly in its vast hall pf fame. Indeed, this is a very special album.

I will actually do a track by track of De-Loused In The Comatorium, ommitting the filler number which I can't even pronounce the name of. Hopefully though, you will get the idea of how good this album truly is.

Son et Lumiere / Intertiatic ESP -

An unusual title I'm sure you'll agree, but not that unusual a song. These two songs in my mind count as one for me, as neither of them work without the other. Furthermore, I will go and say outright that this is one of the best openers in ALL modern music, let alone the modern prog scene. It has most things that Volta fans love: creepy quiet, effects laiden sections, loud choruses with a lot of kick, a huge jam section and a kind of modest technicality about it. If you love this song, then you will love the rest of the album. Simple. Not everyone's cup of tea mind (it is very manic through and through), but very enjoyable if you are into the general craziness of the band. Brilliant.

Roullette Dares (This Is The Haunt Of) -

Don't have a clue what the tital means, neither do I care. Admittedly, this is my least favourite song on the album, but one saving grace is the drumming and guitaring. Omar is definitely in 6th gear on this one and goes all out with inventive soloing and fast riffs. Jon Theodore, in similar vein, dishes out some of the most incredible drumlines I have ever had the pleasure of listening to. This song just proves to me how much of an underappreciated musician he really is.

Drunkship Of Lanterns -

Complete change in texture as we are introduced to the bands pseudo-Latin style. Fast paced, no doubt about it, but this one is slightly gentler than it's two previous. Nevertheless, it is still insane. Be warned. It's also worth noting that this is one of the Volta's least accessible songs (to me anyway), but it is definitely well worth the plunge. You will soon see what I'm talking about when the climatic bridge kicks in, and it also shows off their technical side once again, with some clever tuplet play.

Eriatarka -

One of my favourites. This is an emotional journey that sends you through numerous quiet sections, dazzlingly chaotic louder sections and once again, a sprinkle of technicality that is definitely there, but not in any way pretntious or bombastic. Cedric's vocals are worth mentioning on here as well, as he sings those high notes the best he has ever really done in my opinion. This could be perceived as a ballad, but it also contains a lot of carnage within. It is that schizophrenic. Once again, Jon Theodore. The man is actually a monster, and I cannot even fathom it possible to play the beat in the chorus.

Cicatriz ESP -

I'm sure I speak for a lot of fans of the band here when I say that this is the tune that got me into TMV in the first place. It could be because it's got the best heavy latin jams of all time after the effects section, or it could be because the riff is so simple, yet so addictive (a bit of trivia actually, they borrowed this same riff from an At The Drive In Song; I can't remember the name, but if you listen to their material you will know where I'm coming from). It could also be a combination of the two. Either way, this is a masterpiece, and Ikey really knows how to play tastefully, as evident in the bit after the second chorus. Easily the most accessible song on the album, and maybe even their most accessible in general. If you are new to the band, then I'd head for either this song or L'via L'viaquez, as they are the first two I truly got into. And as for the lengthy middle effects section? Just enjoy it for what it is. A calm before the storm. For me, it gives the final half of the song so much more impact.

This Apparatus Must Be Unearthed -

This, unfortunately, is the only TMV song I don't listen to anymore, and could never get into. If I were to discard a track, it would undoubtedly be this one, not because it's bad or anything, but because it brings absolutely nothing new to the table. I suspect this was their "single" attempt, as it is quite mainstream based (aside from the remaining dissonance and Cedric's unusual vocals). I'm not going to comment on it really, as there is not much to comment on. You may enjoy it, but I personally don't.

Televators -

This is the greatest acoustic TMV song to listen to. It is perfect. It brings you in gently and the melodies really sore, I cannot remember a time where I didn't get goosebumps off of the haunting chorus. This is also in my hall of fame for being the most romantic song about suicide I have ever heard. If you don't think that Cedric Bixler-Zavala has a beautiful voice then quickly put on this song, kick back and you will soon change your mind. That is, in fact, the only way I can describe this tune: beautiful. And maybe even the highlight of the album. Who knows, but this is unskippable. I even think it tops the lush Miranda from Frances The Mute.

Take The Veil Cerpin Taxt -

A fan favourite, and possibly the greatest ever closer (aside from the end bit from Cassandra Gemini). Everything you have heard on the album is magnified and crammed into 8 minutes of pure genius. Omar's guitar playing kind of reminds me a bit of Fripp's playing, especially in the technical section (which by the way, shouldn't be taken lightly as it is as technical as even Atheist's material, maybe even more). The jam section also includes Chili Peppers' bassist Flea, and he does a mighty fine job of funking it up a bit. All of a sudden you are hit with a final chorus and then the phenomenal ending, which is so abrupt you actually end up saying to yourself "what the f***" out loud.

Nothing more that I can say about this album that hasn't already been said, but I will evaluate. This is by no means a light hearted album, and even less accessible, but if you are a fan of chaotic, emotionally complex, unusual and overall intense music, then I suggest you give this masterpiece a spin. It is well written, tight when it needs to be, but eases off with guitar effects when it needs to also. I don't think any album can compare to the general atmosphere of DITC, which is dark a melancholic but in the same way a very fun listen. It's very hard to explain, but even though the lyrics are utterly nonsensical and the titals incomprehendable, they do portray the theme of the album very well and you do seem to visualise some bizarre imagery. Not in the lyrics, but in the musical devices, example: the falling feeling at the end of Televators. In conclusion, I would recommend anyone into modern prog to give this baby a try. It is in the top 100 albums of all time for a reason! No doubt about it for me, 5 stars, a masterpiece of progressive music, only a hair's breadth away from the quality of Frances The Mute.

The Pessimist | 5/5 |


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