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


The Mars Volta


Heavy Prog

3.48 | 481 ratings

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Sgt. Smiles
4 stars Organized Chaos?

The 4th studio album from The Mars Volta is yet another step diagonally for what is one of the most interesting bands currently in their prime. After Deloused, who could have expected the sonic masterpiece Frances? Which in turn was followed by the explorative and seemingly direction-less Amputechture. Now what? The Bedlam In Goliath is just that--- Bedlam! Fury. Energy. Angst. Chaos. Just as soon as you have a song figured out, it changes. Next track? Maybe...maybe not.

The Mars Volta continue to impress me with every album for many reasons; with every release they manage to sound like the same group without copying themselves, they offer plenty of music per album, and they are never stale. This is not my favorite release from them now, but it might be one day. Almost every track has multiple parts, and they roll on top of one another without hesitation. The bass is more prominent here than on Amputechture, and the drums are insane (for lack of a better word). Some people complain that Bedlam is overproduced, which I understand but disagree with. Several parts of several songs are layered ridiculously with multiple instruments (namely Metatron) and effects, but the opposite is also true for much of the album.

Aberinkula kicks you in the teeth as soon as you press play, then gets funky, kicks again, and finally transitions back toward a fiery and funky closure. Metatron starts immediately and almost sounds like part of the same song. This song is a frenzy of everything the group can do... almost too much. The slightly ambient middle is the best part. Ilyena begins like their earlier releases: fading into the explosion of sound. Also extremely funky. Much like Aberinkula, Ilyena turns into a different song completely for the final minute. Wax Simulacra... wow. A three minute song with enough punch for a whole album. The drumming here is just plain nuts and perfect. Goliath is a powerhouse of a song, a great beat smothered in frantic guitar, drums and keys. At the 4 minute mark it takes a detour towards the asylum, all while Cedric sings the blues. Best vocals on the album. Tourniquet Man is spacey and short and out of place on this album, not bad but nothing special. It easily could have been part of another song. Cavalettas seems to bury the bass through much of it, and has so many time changes I never know where its going. Long and complex, but almost without a point (unless that is the point). The next track, Agadez, is evil music at its best. A well rounded and very heavy song, and another that changes into something different at the end. Askepios is a well structured song where the so-called over production makes it even better, especially where the drums are concerned. Guess what? It too changes for the last two minutes. Ouroboros is another funky track driven by the drums. Coolest song on Bedlam. Then we have Soothsayer, completely different than anything else. Long and dark and somewhat middle-eastern. It is very much a combination of organic and polluted, beautiful and ugly. Conjugal Burns is a decent song but a curious closer. Cedric's scream near the end is chilling and gutteral and practically makes the song.

The Bedlam In Goliath is easily one of the most intense albums I own. I personally think Soothsayer should close it, but otherwise it is another remarkable output from The Mars Volta. I am very excited for more from this group. 4 strong stars.

Sgt. Smiles | 4/5 |


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