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


The Mars Volta


Heavy Prog

4.19 | 1138 ratings

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Symphonic Team
4 stars One of the most ferociously original heavy prog bands of the new millennium.

The Mars Volta blazed onto the scene with this incredible debut album that was unlike anything we had ever heard, borrowing elements from free form jazz, to heavy riffing and psychedelia, every track becomes part of the whole. The conceptual framework is based on the heavy sense of alienation and loss of sanity.

The intro, Son et Lumiere, is a rather hypnotic guitar motif that introduces the next track. Inertiatic ESP includes the repetitive vacals, "Now I'm lost..." over fast guitar work and raucous off kilter drum patterns. The lead instrumental section is strange and frenetic and became a signature trademark of the band's inemitable style.

Roulette Dares (The Haunt of) is a lengthy track that twists and turns in a myriad of musical directions. The vocal performance of Cedric Bixler-Zavala is monotone and estranged, at times sounding like Led Zeppelin or Muse, and hard to pin down in sections. There is a complexity of musical styles underlying each track that rises and falls in crescendos. The lyrics are non sensical but become part of the performance as we hear of 'exoskeletal judges at the railroad...' whatever it means, it becomes an extension of the soundscape.

Drunkship of Lanterns is a highlight with the abrupt guitar riffs of Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and quirky jazz drums and metrical patterns of Jon Theodore that would send any metronome into overdrive. At times the pace is chaotic and this is balanced with moments of quiet beauty. "Is anybody there.. nobody's hurt" Bixler-Zavala wails in desperation. The invigorating display of group dynamics is evident on the excellent Eriatarka, with an interplay of guitar and bass and unexpected elements of jazz fusion thrown in the mix. It begins with bird calls and ends on a long somber note.

Cicatriz ESP is the killer 12 minute mini epic that begins on one riff and ends on another, frenetic and immersed in clanging guitars and bass. The surging keyboards add to the effect of guitar heavy sounds feeling at times like free rock improv.

Televators is another highlight and a softer track than the others almost entirely acoustic. This prepares us for the intensity of Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt. The sound is very unfriendly at times and not for all tastes but its a wash of heavy guitars and screaming vocals with many abrupt stop and starts in the music. The electric modalities are undisputably progressive and their are virtuosic leaps of guitar mastery that express the chaotic atmosphere. It all becomes isolated in a drone towards the end

The conclusion is this is a debut album any progger would be proud of. It set the scene for great things to come with 'Frances The Mute', the best of the band, and the excellent 'Amputechture'. The Mars Volta should not be ignored and this would appeal to anyone who love their prog unusual and heavy and laced with lashings of the psychedelic.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 4/5 |


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