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


The Mars Volta


Heavy Prog

4.19 | 1138 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

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Eclectic Prog Team
5 stars The Mars Volta's first album is certainly their most consistent and easiest to digest; I almost wish I'd listened to this to get an idea of their sound rather than their later works. I avoided The Mars Volta for quite a long time, failing miserably to understand what people saw in this band. The music was so strident and noisy, and Bixler-Zavala's voice can be piercing at times. Due to a promotion at a store I frequent, I managed to acquire their second and third albums for under nine dollars. Upon hearing the music with a fresh mind (and through proper speakers), I came to find an awful lot I liked. Right from the start here, there is no question that these gentlemen are not just musicians, they are artists of sound. The vocalist, Cedric Bixler-Zavala has a voice quite similar to that of Geddy Lee, but has its own distinct qualities that make it stand apart. Omar Rodriguez-Lopez is quite simply one of the most innovative and imaginative guitarists I've heard in a long time. Together (and with a hell of a band and an arsenal of sound effects), this is a group whose music I could only succinctly describe as structured chaos.

"Son et Lumiere" Atmospheric noises and an electric piano give the listener a brief and deceptive preview of this album. The effects over Bixler-Zavala's vocals are well done (even though they won't always be).

"Inertiatic ESP" The short piece before ends with a punctuated rhythm that flows right into this. This song is loaded with energy. It does a good job of summing up the whole tenor of the band while being a highly creative effort in its own right.

"Roulette Dares (The Haunt Of)" This one goes from soft, mellow passages to loud and insane guitar work. There is an almost classic rock sound during the chorus. Rodriguez-Lopez delivers some very experimental guitar work, full of strange noises and frantic drumming. The ending is full of mellow guitar and bass, with the singer vocalizing now and then over it.

"Tira Me a las Araņas" This short interlude consists of spacey sound effects and a rickety acoustic guitar. It serves as an introduction to next song.

"Drunkship of Lanterns" Tribal drumming lends this a primitive sound, but Rodriguez-Lopez's guitar tone initially gives this the feel of a surf-rock song. At times, the noises can be grating and irritating, and the arrangement is sometimes unbalanced. Still, it's a wild and fun song.

"Eriatarka" One of the greatest moments on not only this album, but in the entire discography from The Mars Volta, "Eritarka" shows the band at both their mellowest and their most ferocious. The verses are beautiful, quite frankly, and the build between the first verse and the chorus is epic, and when Bixler-Zavala sings the chorus, he sounds absolutely commanding. The instrumentation is hyperactive but under control. The first chorus gives way to some noisy business and slide guitar before Rodriguez-Lopez guides the listener to the second verse with a simple but skilled solo. The bridge is well done, with frightening lyrics.

"Cicatriz ESP" The longest track has a bouncy rhythm throughout most of it and the vocal melodies are highly memorable. During the instrumental sections, the bass playing stands out a bit. Everything is fantastic here- the drumming, the guitars, and even the sound effects have their timely places within the piece. The arrangement gives everything room to breathe, and after listening to this one, it's hard to fathom that twelve-and-a-half minutes just went by.

"This Apparatus Must Be Unearthed" Sound effects bridge the previous song seamlessly to this one. There's a lot of slightly annoying guitar at first, but when Bixler-Zavala begins singing (and with those weird effects on his voice), I am always reminded that I am in for yet another treat. The verses sound a bit like jazz rock, but it's not long before the band revs up again and lets it rip. The final moments, however, involve mindless percussion.

"Televators" Another of my absolute favorites from not just this album, but the whole of The Mars Volta's work, "Televators" represents the band at their most sedated, and features some disturbingly harrow yet obscure lyrics. Compared to everything else on this album, this song is very straightforward, with a verse, chorus, and bridge setup, unusual for this group.

"Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt" One final exotic cacophony ends this magnificent and avant-garde heavy progressive rock album. Once more the vocal melodies are largely memorable, and the guitar work and tone stays fresh throughout. In the span of less than nine minutes, the band uses every stamp they have to make this track one of the most representative songs of their history. Peculiarly, the album ends in an abrupt halt.

Epignosis | 5/5 |


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