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The Mars Volta - The Bedlam in Goliath CD (album) cover


The Mars Volta


Heavy Prog

3.52 | 524 ratings

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The T
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars For some strange reason I own all four THE MARS VOLTA albums. I've never quite loved this band, but I have always seen some potential for greatness. Sadly, with each new album, my hopes get slimmer. What started very promising with "De-Loused in the Comatorium", descending a little bit in "Frances the Mute" and a lot in "Amputechture", has ended, at least for right now, in one of the most boring albums I've heard this year, "The Bedlam In Goliath".

There's no need to waste any time talking about individual songs, especially when all of them are so much alike. I'll talk a little just about what I think are the problems with this band.

Musically, the members are, of course, very capable. They created a very original sound which continues to be original, unique. But they have lost any sense of restraint since their beginnings. In their early albums, there were moments when one could actually hear music played and created with cold heads.

Nowadays THE MARS VOLTA is just a train wreck of speed and paranoia that doesn't seem to be able to stop. Whatever atmosphere the previous albums contained, this latest one is absolutely devoid of. There's nothing here but a very nervous drummer who can't quiet down at least for a few seconds, and has to fill the canvas with fill after fill after roll after roll, absolutely destroying any chance this music could have to have any drama or tension. The singer, whose voice I never really loved, has turned into an obnoxious replica of the drummer but with vocal chords instead of drum heads for torture device. No stop, no pause, no room for breathing. The band thinks that the faster and more relentless they play, the better they are. The music loses in the process.

But the songwriting is the biggest victim of this overdose of self-indulgence. In earlier albums (mostly in the first two, as "Amputechture" was already a big disappointment), THE MARS VOLTA were capable of writing songs, not just aerobics exercises for their drummer, they could write songs with drama, with tension, with melody. Nowadays this sounds more like a bunch of musicians who had too much caffeine in their drinks and too much acclaim from their fans. Drunk in energy and ego, THE MARS VOLTA's latest album is the prime example of "pretentiousness", that word that many are so ready to use for classic bands they don't like but so cautious to even allow its existence for any artist that somehow plays "unique" music.

Yes, this is unique. But it's also BAD. Because of that uniqueness, I'll give it a couple of stars. It still sounds like more than it deserves, though.

I hope that for their next album, THE MARS VOLTA sit down and write some compelling songs for a change. And please, give your drummer a good sedative.

The T | 2/5 |


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