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The Mars Volta - Tremulant EP CD (album) cover

TREMULANT EP

The Mars Volta

 

Heavy Prog

3.30 | 126 ratings

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Kempokid
4 stars While The Mars Volta tend to be heavily praised for their first 2 albums, it still felt clear that Omar and Cedric hit the ground running after their work in At the Drive In and De Facto with their debut EP, Tremulant. Those more experimental, complex elements to their sound that could be seen previously really come into their own here, with the frenetic intricacy of Omar's guitar work finally having an opportunity to completely flourish and get complemented by an equally talented musician, Jon Theodore. That tight focus on rhythm feels as if it's taken to a whole new level with Theodore's drumming, being able to perfectly fuse meticulous rhythm with a lot of manic flair, constantly breaking up his grooves with crazy drum fills to give his style a certain looseness to it without falling into the territory of being messy. What I love about Tremulant is the way that the band immediately made the most out of this with all 3 of the songs here having such intensity that nicely represents the post-hardcore leanings of their sound being just as strong as ever.

Each track has such a distinct identity to it and they all sound so good as well, making for a great little listening experience. Cut that City, while probably being the weakest song here also has an undeniable sense of ferocity that's supported both by the fast paced instrumentation and the veritable wall of distortion that feels like it's being created around Cedric's dramatic wailing, and it just doesn't sound like it'll calm down at all, immediately representing how bold The Mars Volta were right out of the gate. A similar intensity is conveyed with Concertina, but it's channelled into how the emotion is delivered, with a constantly melancholic tone that makes Cedric sound like he's singing he's heart out with a sense of remorse and longing underpinning it all, making for a faster, more punkish prelude to some of the band's ballads, especially Televators. Eunuch Provocateur has a lot of isolated elements to it that would be reworked into Deloused later and I find it really interesting to see the early form of some of these ideas, particularly the outro with its pulsating electronics and spacey guitars that would be reworked into the end of Drunkship of Lanterns later. After feeling as if you've been completely swept up in the music throughout the rest of the song and its nonstop bombardment, this psychedelic jam session serves to wind down nicely and make for a fitting end to this EP. Overall I'd say that Tremulant deserves to have some more attention than it currently gets, as while it might not be as tightly constructed as some of the albums the band would soon put out after, not only is this a great little piece of history that shows how The Mars Volta's roots informed their style moving forward, but it's also just an incredible little album that doesn't really slow down at any point. If you liked Deloused in the Comatorium you'll almost certainly like this as well.

Kempokid | 4/5 |

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