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The Mars Volta - Frances the Mute CD (album) cover


The Mars Volta


Heavy Prog

4.07 | 1006 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars Yeah, yeah. I know. Only assign 5 star ratings to absolutely essential albums. Well, I can't think of a more perfect description of this, the Volta's second masterpiece.

I was a fan of their debut, but not a rabid one. This album changed all that. This album, in my opinion, established the Mars Volta as the one-and-only true successor to the Prog crown which was vacated after the 70's by those greatest of great bands Yes and Pink Floyd.

Frances the Mute is uncompromising, heavy, beautiful, chaotic, majestic, rousing and hypnotic, all at once. These aren't just the random superlatives that came off the top of my head. There are moments across the album that snugly fit these descriptions. Hell, I think that one could easily argue that all these words are apt descriptions just for track 1!

The first track, Cygnus...Vismund Cygnus is an absolute powerhouse opener. After a brief but beautiful acoustic introduction, showcasing Cedric's wonderful voice and obtuse lyrics, the song explodes into something so chaotic and frightening it almost certainly takes several listens to digest properly. But once you do...oh man. Just marvel at the intircate rythms of Jon Theodore's drum kit as they intertwine with Omar's waves of distorted guitar blasts. Cedric's wail soars with epic confidence over the whole ordeal. I tell you the chorus sends shivers down my spine every time.

I won't go into each track seperately, for fear that the review will become tediously long. I will however, make specific reference to the 32 minute epic which closes the album. I honestly didn't know music could still be this good until I heard this song.

Like most of you, I think all the best music in the world was made during the 70's (even though I was born way afterwards). All the songs I would cite as the best ever were recorded during that decade. Until this album came out. Cassandra Gemini is a song so wonderful, complex, entertaining and well, just plain ROCKING that I feel compelled to cite is amongst the best songs of all time, along side such classics as Shine On You Crazy Diamond. Yeah, I think it's THAT good.

It never gets boring, which is an achievement for any song so long. But it's so much more than that. The shifts in mood, the complex polyrythms, the sheer creativity on display. Omar's production is second-to-none and contributes to what is the grandest, most accomplished work by a band which can only be described as wholly original.

I firmly believe that this is the finest album of progressive rock since sometime in the late 70's. Others can and will disagree, but this is my opinion. And after all, what are reviews if not subjective opinions?

Eapo_q42 | 5/5 |


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