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The Mars Volta - Live CD (album) cover


The Mars Volta


Heavy Prog

3.38 | 44 ratings

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Eclectic Prog Team
3 stars Wary was I when considering The Mars Volta live. After all, live, there are no exquisite vocal effects for a true singer to hide behind. Likewise, a live guitarist can only utilize so many effects. There's just much more a studio has to offer over a stage. Yet the sound is full here, even if limited in certain respects. All four songs on this EP (funny term, since the recording is around forty-five minutes long) are from the band's first LP. "Roulette Dares (The Haunt Of)" is a somewhat faithful rendition of the album version. Rather than use backing tracks for the backup vocals (such as on "Drunkship of Lanterns"), Cedric Bixler-Zavala permits an emptiness, a void filled only by strange sounds, likely from Omar Rodriguez-Lopez's guitar. The instrumental section, the first time I heard it here, shocked me: It's the brilliant instrumental section from "Cygnus...Vismund Cygnus." The sixteen minute rendition of "Cicatriz ESP" begins with some almost unbearable screeching and messing around from the band before the song proper begins. The middle bit is a throwback to the more experimental side of the duo's enterprise. Some fantastic organ can be heard during the second half. "Televators," one of my favorite songs from this band, is given a looser treatment, especially since the singer seems to lose his way around the words in a few spots, allowing emptiness to take over. He also takes some liberties with the melody (singing the harmony at times), which gives it a different feel, but this is largely due to being one man and not using backing tracks or backup singers. It's far messier than the album version, but so what? It's honest, and more importantly, interesting. As a final note, this is a somewhat rare bit of live music, but I was fortunate to have found it, I suppose (though since I got it, I've seen it more frequently on online auctions for not much more than I paid for it), so perhaps it is not as rare as some people make it out to be.
Epignosis | 3/5 |


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