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


The Mars Volta


Heavy Prog

4.18 | 1231 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Son et Lumiere. Upper atmospheric disturbance. A repeating motif, gently nudging the listener at first, then exploding into the buzz guitar violence of Inertiatic ESP. So this is how Mars Volta opts for an introduction: the intentions are immediately stated. The song is continuously twisting and turning, guitars alternatively squealing, hammering, and doing those Wes Montgomery-style octave-doubling solos. The vocals are not immediately pleasing to these ears, though we eventually reach entente.

As we move through the songs, the band displays an uncommon mastery of tempo, mood, and every trick any reasonable prog-pretender might hold up its sleeve: backwards tape-loop guitars; echoing guitars; Frippish layers of guitar; Mellotron influenced synth washes; aggressive rhythm section; the ability to take the listener from an end-of-the-runway 747 roar to the most blissed-out pastoral sort of burbling river bank, all within a matter of seconds.

By the time Cicatriz ESP rolls around, I've heard everything I expect from progressive music and more. But it turns out the band is just getting warmed up. Cicatriz is a dense, multi-faceted sort of prism of a song. Turn it one way and it's red hard rock. Turn it another and it's a blue-green symphony. The song eventually ventures into noise of sorts. I've heard better, but it's remarkable to hear noise again, noise having been out of style for wha? twenty/thirty years.

The album finshes strong with Televators, with its beautiful Siren-like melody that lures the listener right into the dangerous, brittle outcropping that is Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt, which again provides an almost voluptuous display of the band's mastery of the classic progressive forms.

I'm not particularly impressed with contemporary progressive rock, but Mars Volta is the exception rather than the rule. Deloused in the Comatorium is a remarkable prog album, all the more impressive in that it's their debut. Almost a 5, and highly recommended.

jammun | 4/5 |


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