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The Mars Volta - Amputechture CD (album) cover

AMPUTECHTURE

The Mars Volta

 

Heavy Prog

3.84 | 458 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Pnoom!
3 stars Rating: C

The Mars Volta's third release, Amputechture, is rightfully polarizing. After all, about 2/3 of the CD is really good, among the best the Mars Volta has done, and the rest is boring tripe. I'll get the bad out of the way first so that I can focus on the good, since the good truly is, well, good. The bad consists of three songs: the opening Vicarious Atonement, the closing El Ciervo Vulnerado, and Asilos Magdelena. All three can be described with one word, dull. Vicarious Atonement sees The Mars Floyd trying to be Pink Volta, and, oh dear, I've gotten The Mars Volta and Pink Floyd mixed up. Not only is it boring, Vicarious Atonement is blazingly unoriginal, and is a terrible way to start the CD. Then you've got El Ciervo Vulnerado and Asilos Magdelena, both of which are boring (and way overlong) Spanish numbers that go nowhere and waste sixteen minutes of the listener's time (but hey, they bring the CD to seventy-six minutes in length!).

Thankfully, the rest of Amputechture reminds the listener why they've captured the hearts of prog fans in the first place. Tetragrammaton is a tremendous epic-length track that combines the energy The Mars Volta are known for with strong songwriting abilities. Sure, it gets a bit too chaotic at times (especially just before the end), and there's that section five minutes in where The Mars Volta are *still* trying to Pink Floyd, but beyond that it ranks among their best. Then you have Vermicide, the closest thing to an actual song on the CD, which combines spacey elements with soaring vocals, making for a powerful and also beautiful song.

Of the five stronger songs, Meccamputechture is the weakest, mostly because it's too repetitive. If it were narrowed down to eight or so minutes (and the terrible transition around six minutes in were strengthened), it would be much stronger. After all, it starts with invigorating energy that can't be ignored, and it's ideas are all excellent, even if they're repeated too much. The real highlights of the CD, though, are Viscera Eyes and Day of the Baphomets. The former is a tremendous hard-rocking song with catchy riffs and excellent vocals. As for the latter, it's the best thing The Mars Volta have done since Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt from De-loused. With elements of free jazz inserted into the already volatile prog-punk hybrid of The Mars Volta, the ensuing mixture positively explodes.

Above all, I have to congratulate The Mars Volta on refusing to sink into moments of pointless noise (except for the briefest moments on Tetragrammaton), as it makes their better moments all that much more enjoyable. If only they had stuck to what they do best, rather than what others have already done best, this could be their second best release. Unfortunately, the three terrible songs that mar Amputechture make this one of their weakest (above only The Bedlam in Goliath so far). If you make a copy without those three songs, however, you are left with an excellent CD that you'll return to time and time again, as I do.

Pnoom! | 3/5 |

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