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The Mars Volta - Octahedron CD (album) cover

OCTAHEDRON

The Mars Volta

 

Heavy Prog

3.65 | 344 ratings

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The T
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I have been baffled at my own attitude about THE MARS VOLTA for a while now. I disliked 3 of their 4 previous albums, I never really enjoyed anything they did after "De-loused in the Comatorium", yet I have all their albums, and continue to get their new releases every time they appear in the store bin. I guess there's a little part of me that still believes this band can achieve greatness, the one they hinted at with their debut album.

"Octahedron", while still not a favorite of mine, is a step in the right direction and quite an improvement over both the boring "Amputechture" and the hyperactive "Bedlam in Goliath". In this most recent album, THE MARS VOLTA finally seems to have decided to restraint their drummer, who doesn't seem like he's trying to steal the spotlight away from the entire band anymore, and who plays like a regular, skilled musician. The over-emotional vocals by Bixler-Zavala are also more rational this time around, and there's less jamming/experimentation/waste-of-time on this record.

There seems to be a much higher focus put on creating actual songs this time around, and the best evidence strikes us right from the start: "Since we've been wrong" is one of the most melodic, best songs the band has ever released, actually (and incredibly so) catchy, memorable, without losing credibility or atmosphere. Never since their debut album did the band manage to make me want to press "replay" in my player, but with this song I had to do it. Tracks like "Cotopaxi" (named after a volcano in my country, who would imagine) signal a shift in priorities, which nowadays would appear to be more in the making good songs and music side of things. The band fails to deliver another fantastic song after the end of the first one, but it nevertheless accomplishes the unthinkable for me: it made my sitting through the entire album an smooth, satisfying experience. Less emphasis in feedback and distortion and more in melody seems to have helped matters.

A good album that is in no way a masterpiece or even an excellent record but that signals better things to come. 3 stars is the perfect rating in my view.

The T | 3/5 |

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