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


The Mars Volta


Heavy Prog

4.19 | 1142 ratings

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4 stars The most sophisticated noise.

This album was my "first contact" with a modern prog - whatever is hidden behind that tag...

I must say a few things. First of all, I heard a sample or two of THE MARS VOLTA before, and I didn't like it all; it sounded like a cold, emotionless, somewhat-complex, poppish-polished music for the hungry dumb masses who will appreciate anything masked under "alternative"...don't be one of them! That's disgusting! That was my opinion. However, after the myriads of positive reviews from the progressive rock fans worldwide, I decided to give these guys another chance...and I'm glad I did! This album is a killer.

However, there are few points where I disagree with the majority of the reviewers and I have to get the world out - but they are by no means a negative criticism.

Well, I'm not familiar with the rest of the band's material (although I promised myself I shall be), but , judging by this one, this is not progressive rock in my ears. Evolving, boundaries-pushing, progressive in a way "looking forward", unheard before (well, yes and no), quite so...but not groundbreaking - not if you examine any of these items separately.

There's nothing breathtakingly new or radical on this album.

But, it's overall picture what counts. It's just a damn good rock album, maybe one of the best modern rock album I've heard in years. An old cliche - "much more than sum of its parts" fits here perfectly.

There are few renditions of progressive rock - keyboard layers, sound effects noodling, Floydian solos. A oomph of extra bar or two in a time-signature here and there. Dissonant chords, occasionally.

And lots of noisy rock.

And it all works p e r f e c t l y . This beast is compact, homogeneous and powerful. The dynamic range of this band is scary. Sudden bursts of dissonant, monstrous chords, just after the whispering. Another thing that must be mentioned is production. There were loads of digital studio editing, processing, producing...and loads of killing guitar stomp boxes intelligently used, surely. A new art form is developed: a clever usage of sound effects. Like all the noise is not enough, your ears are in pain, sound-speakers are suffering and alerting with peak LED's, and on the top of all that there's a tiny ring modulator added - - just to add an extra spice to the your ears' agony. Sweet. Echoes, stereo delays, reverbs, flangers - they had been all used very cleverly - it will took you more than a dozen of careful listening to figure out some things.

As of songs themselves, they are energetic, melodic, sending shivers down the spine, they're keeping you interested and focused. There are no outstanding technicians here (at least not by my book), but they' re all good and they all sound sincere. A heavy mix of alternative rock, modern metal, Latinoamerican music works well.

I guess this album will become the milestone of rock music in a same way as LED ZEPPELIN's debut became decades ago. As I said, there's nothing breathtakingly new here, but the noise and the art are together raised on a new level.

My only complaint about this albums is its length. It's too long, and, unfortunately, not all the songs are on the same level. After 50 minutes or so listening become tedious, not because of constant amount of noise and dissonant, prolonged parts, but because last three or four songs are simply not on the same level as the rest of the album.

That's the curse of a digital era and a 70+ minutes album lengths and it's a shame. This one is so close to the masterpiece status. However, it's still essential and it will remain so in a forthcoming years.

clarke2001 | 4/5 |


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