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

DE-LOUSED IN THE COMATORIUM

The Mars Volta

 

Heavy Prog

4.22 | 944 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Zitro
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 3.4 stars

This is definitively a very unusual album with an unexpected amount of popularity behind it: how did such complex and eclectic music reach the charts? This is way out there to my ears and if I wrote a review when I got this album, I would have panned it somewhat badly. However, I restrained myself from doing so until I understood more the band in general and get more comfortable within the modern progressive world, which I was oblivious of until recently. While I still find the album a bit too harsh-sounding in terms of production, I recognize this as a daring piece of art that most progressive rock veterans would certainly enjoy it more than me.

The musicians seem to know what they are doing and sound as if they were playing for several years, with a lot of chemistry between each instrument. The singer is an acquired taste, but unlike bedlam in Goliat, he not only avoids indulging himself on distorting his voice, but also sings with more passion and honesty, as if this is what he felt like doing with his voice unlike the more forced feeling of the following albums. The guitar player plays very competently and avoids atonal improvisation unlike the guitar playing in the next two albums. The keyboards are used as a secondary instrument, as they always did, and they help improve the musical texture of the album. However, the main attraction here is the rhythm section, with a drummer that combines power and complex polyrhythms without sounding forced.

The music is very eclectic, introducing several genres that would make people think that they just can't be combined, but they do gel well. While latin rock is one genre, the unusual one is punk. This album is loaded with punkish energy. Imagine a genre called latin jazz-fusion psychedelic progressive punk. That is more or less what Mars Volta is showing here. The track where the latin influences are the most obvious is on the fast-paced Drunkship of Lanterns . For punk energy look no further than this Apparatus, Inertiatic ESP or Eriatarka which probably deserves a paragraph on its own.

Eriatarka is Mars Volta executing their mixture of styles perfectly: it is where this mixture sounds the most natural and a complete genre of its own. The verses are spacey rock/pop segment with inspired melodies while the choruses are punkish explosions in odd-time signatures (check out that drumming, seriously: it is out of this world!). The bridge is psychedelic rock and leads into another chorus, which at first I noticed it was different and could not tell in which way. It really is the refrain but arranged into a smoother 4/4 rhythm. Genius closer indeed.

Cicatriz ESP is the longest song in the album and far from perfect. While the first 5-6 minutes and the ending are decent enough, there is an extended electronic ambient section that is very dull. This Apparatus has a similar style to Eriatarka but is less progressive. It is just a loud alt.rock tune with a very catchy and memorable refrain. Talking about solid choruses, Televators has a great one. This song, unlike the others, is mostly acoustic and laid back and is one of my personal favorites here. the closing track is a loud and powerful one: it pummels you for three minutes in a row until a tranquil and unexpected mellotron solo dominates, accompanied by nothing. The rest of the song is somewhat atonal and very heavy. A bit more than I can stomach but I can see others being able to enjoy it.

Overall, this is a very important album to own due to it being popular, inaccessible, and innovative at the same time. The mixture of styles works quite well and if you do not mind loud music with a 70s production style, you might enjoy this a lot as other reviewers do. Just don't expect pretty music.

Zitro | 4/5 |

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