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The Mars Volta - Octahedron CD (album) cover


The Mars Volta


Heavy Prog

3.64 | 422 ratings

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Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Restraint, mood, and an edgy feeling of peril rules the day with this solid Mars Volta release which is a much improved package than its predecessor thanks to a more comphrensible tone and genuine class in song writing.

Taken as a whole, "Octahedron" slinks its way through the ears at slow tempos and extended passages of negative space. The song's heavy moments (of which there many) are much less frantic or intense than anything they have yet recorded, the band playing big, full compositions with fewer dexterity-based embellishments than usual. There is a good mixture of dynamics, with the more mellow passages standing out to me as the album's highlights. The loud stuff is somewhat bland, but still powerful; there are few things in noisier songs which catch one's attention-- especially when compared to their past works. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, since it takes "Octahedron" places the group hasn't yet fully explored, but it does not as easily engender itself to the listener as in, say "Deloused". Fans of the band will certainly appreciate the change in this album's tone.

Cedric's strong singing is very listenable as well, sounding almost like a croon. Gone is the castrati-falsetto of "Bedlam" in favor of some honest-to-goodness seranades, like in the excellent "Twilight as my Guide". His lyrical content is characteristic, sending off a fun mix of sinister undertones hidden behind strangely beautiful combinations of words. Omar's stellar guitar work is largely tonal, with only one real solo which closes the album on a powerful note. There is some nice riffing in the heavy songs, but don't expect to be dazzled.

Overall, an interesting and enjoyable Mars Volta entry; far from the monolithic success of their previous works but standing tall despite expectations.

Songwriting: 3 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 4 Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

Prog Leviathan | 3/5 |


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