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The Mars Volta - Octahedron CD (album) cover

OCTAHEDRON

The Mars Volta

 

Heavy Prog

3.65 | 339 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

brainerd
4 stars This album comes as a pleasant surprise to me. As much as I enjoyed The Bedlam In Goliath I had a feeling that the band were going round in circles and didn't really have the capacity to really progress or change. Upon hearing 'Cotopaxi' it seemed to me that I was right; and while it's a great example of an up-tempo, catchy, Mars Volta jam it is hardly represesntative of the rest of the album.

That's not to say that it's a massive departure, since it's still unmistakably a Mars Volta record. But while 'The Bedlam...' was the band's most intense album to date, barely letting up in it's 75- minute barrage of noise and screaming horns/guitars, Octahedron mostly focuses on the softer side of the band's sound. This record, however is not going to change the mind of anyone who hates the band (people either seem to love them or hate them with no middle ground...). While there is a surprising lack of shredding guitar solos Cedric Bixler-Zavalas' wailing vocals are very much present.

Octahedron is not a classic, but it is a very easy and enjoyable listen. what it lacks in the scope and power of (most of) the previous albums, it makes up for in strong songwriting and great ear-grabbing melodies. 'Teflon' and 'Copernicus' in particular are up there with some of the best songs the band have written, and are as moving as 'The Widow' or 'Televators. But because of the lack of force behind the songs some tracks seem a little noncomittal and flabby. Opener 'Since We've Been Wrong' sets the tone perfectly, but doesn't do much to warrant your attention until near the end. 'Desperate Graves' is the worst track; while being more of a rock song it sounds like a castoff from 'Amputechture' (easily the worst MV album). 'With Twilight As My Guide' is a nice mood piece but doesn't really grab me unless I'm really concentrating on the album.

While it's nice that the band have written albums showcasing their different sides, what I would personally like to see in the future is a an album that combines songwriting finesse with their more psyvhadelic heavy rock sound. Octahedron is a strong showing but will not be remembered as one of their greats.

brainerd | 4/5 |

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