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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 SaidRemark
3 stars I'm not a big fan of the Bedlam in Goliath

I realize that every Mars Volta album is an "acquired taste," but I simply can't get into this one, and I've been trying for about six months now.

Every TMV album up this point has been a challenge for me, but I can truthfully say that I love them all. Some more than others, but they all hold a special place in my heart. I bought Amputechture on it's release date, despised it, but then found my self infatuated with it a week later.

I figured this would again be the case with Bedlam, only it never really clicked. I really appreciate the first five songs, but sitting through all 75 minutes of this album is an exercise in endurance for me. I'd go so far to say that there is only one reason to keep the album playing after the song "Goliath", and that is "Soothsayer," the closest thing to a ballad on this album (I don't really consider "Tourniquet Man" a song.) "Cavelettas" is OK too.

Maybe there is something wrong with me, because every other TMV fan I talk to hails this album as a masterpiece. I have tried to pinpoint what it is I dislike about this album.

- Monotony: these songs rarely ever lower the intensity. They seem to mostly be mid-tempo, very loud, and packed full of as much guitar noise Omar could fit. Even when the slower songs do come along, there is so much unrelated noise in the background, I can't dig it. - The solos on this album don't really accomplish anything. On Frances the Mute, Omar's solos made that album come alive. All that cool reverb, delay, those sloppy-yet-appropriate tweaking sounds, which would slowly build up to a crescendo... I digress. Here, their only objective seems to be noise. - Though all the members of the band are obviously extremely technically proficient, they are not given the time they deserve here. The role of the woodwinds and keyboards is a reduced quite a bit. Amputechture had great solo segments for the bass and percussion, something that is now gone. - I don't like the (relatively) short song style here. The songs here are mostly chorus driven, and with few exceptions, don't shape shift like those songs on previous albums, which I consider much more ambitious. - Though I find Cedric's vocals great, he seems to be a one-trick-pony on this album. He does the same extremely high harmonization with himself one nearly every track, which I don't see how he will reproduce live. I believe he wastes too much time with that vocal distortion. He also no longer sings in Spanish. - There is no room to breathe here. The older albums had ambiance (which I miss greatly), quiet interludes, even songs you might consider ballads (Televators, The Widow, Asilos Magdelena.) - The closer, Conjugal Burns, is a six-and-a-half-minute mess. Noisy, directionless, I even heard that Cedric let the Ouija board write the lyrics. This might be my biggest problem with the album.

However, this isn't a terrible album. I just expect more from a band like the Mars Volta. In fact, the first five songs are great, of the same standard of their older material. The rest of the album, however, seems much less creative. I really, really, REALLY want to like this album like the others, but I simply cannot. Sorry, but I am disappointed.

No offense is meant to big fans of this album. I guess it just isn't for me.

The SaidRemark | 3/5 |


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