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The Mars Volta - The Bedlam In Goliath CD (album) cover

THE BEDLAM IN GOLIATH

The Mars Volta

 

Heavy Prog

3.46 | 430 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

J-Man
Prog Reviewer
1 stars Unlistenable, Painful, Annoying, Irritating, Cacophonous, Dissonant, etc.

I have heard so many great things about The Mars Volta. They are praised from reviewers here at PA, they're always mentioned on the forums, and I was always being told I needed to hear their music. I was told that if I'm into heavier music (which I most certainly am), I would love The Mars Volta.

The Bedlam In Goliath was my response to this request. I saw it for $8.99 at my local record store, so I figured I'd just give it a shot. What was there to lose? In reality, there was a lot to lose. I might as well have burned that $8.99, rather than having my ears tortured by this disastrous album in addition to wasting my hard-earned cash.

When I first popped this in my CD player I was really wondering what people could possibly see in this sloppy excuse for an album. The lead singer has the most annoying voice I've ever heard. It's constantly in your face and irritating. The songwriting is uninspired, lacking in dynamics, and completely unlistenable. The lack of melody and quality riffs really keeps this from being an intriguing or enjoyable album. I just can't listen to this album from beginning to end. I try, but I fail and put something more listenable on.

The musicianship isn't very good at all either. As I mentioned, the vocals are extremely irritating and annoying. They are overdone and too "in-your-face" to the point where it's not even listenable. The drumming is horrendous as well. I think before each recording session Thomas Pridgen must have had 10 doses of caffeine pills, 12 cups of coffee, energy drinks, and a 2-Liter bottle of Mountain Dew. He is all over the drum kit, hitting everything he can in the course of 5 seconds. While this can usually be a good thing, most times it just doesn't fit the music on this album, and comes off as a sloppy and poorly done job. None of the other musicians do anything memorable, but the singing and drumming is just horrendous.

Up until about one week ago, I put this album away, and never planned on listening to it again. I've listened to it two or three more times recently, trying to be fair with how I would rate this album. I've tried, but I just can't give this disaster more than my lowest recommendations: a one star rating. Even that feels like too much sometimes. If the zero star was still available on our rating system, this would be a perfect contender. I just can't find anything that makes for a rewarding listening experience here. Without sounding too nice, there are a few decent moments. Occasionally there will be a nice chord progression or solo, but these are rare. On an album with a painful 77 minutes in length, this is irrelevant, though. A few minutes of redeemable music can't save this album, especially when no single song is great from start to finish.

It's really a shame that this album is so terrible. I bought their first album De-Loused In The Comatorium, and I thought that was a really good album. It showed me that The Mars Volta is much better than they come across as on this sad excuse for an album. To write the rest of this review (unfortunately), I had to listen to this album from start to finish and state my opinion of each song (which you can guess, are not positive).

THE MUSIC:

"Aberinkula"- The first song opens with a "BANG!" if you will, and it does nothing for me. The vocals are horrendous and annoying, and the rest of the musicians don't do anything special. The main riff is decent and this has a kind of cool instrumental section near the end. I almost enjoy this song at times, but all chances of me enjoying this album are destroyed later in the album.

"Metatron"- The last song ended with some of the best moments of the entire album, but this entire song reminds me why I dislike the album. This is one of the most annoying songs I've ever heard! The vocals are horrendous as usual, and this is irritating musically. This makes me cringe from beginning to end. The fast punk-ish main rhythm is just painful and cheesy. This is absolutely awful.

"Ilyena"- After the pretty terrible first two songs, this is (kind of) like a breath of fresh air. This has interesting rhythms and basslines. The drummer does a surprisingly good job throughout most of the song, though sometimes I wish he'd relax a bit. His drumming does not fit the mood of some of this song. This has a decent melody, which is a rarity on this album.

"Wax Simulacra"- By this point of the album, I'm usually bored out of my mind, and this song doesn't help. Cedric's vocals are irritating, and the music does nothing special. This is a song that strikes me as a waste of time.

"Goliath"- For one of the first times on the album, we are shown a decent riff. The drummer does a good job, though I'm still not even remotely a fan of the vocals. This has a decent melody, and it one of the best songs on the album. This has some awkward transitions, but as a whole this song is actually listenable, which trust me, is a plus on this album.

"Tourniquet Man"- For a change of pace, this is a slower piece of music (with no drumming ? thank God!). This song isn't memorable or noteworthy, but at least it's not quite as annoying as other songs here. Cedric really irritates me in this song, though. I really wish he could tone down the effects, and prove to me that he actually knows how to sing without annoying voice effects.

"Cavalettas"- At almost 10 minutes you might expect this song to do SOMETHING interesting. Well, you would be wrong. This is filled with different riffs and melodies, but none of them ever grab my attention. This is just 10 minutes of pure noise. I know I've said I don't like Cedric's voice at all, but this is one of his worst performances on the whole album. It's really a shame that the songwriting is so bad, though. The guitar playing is pretty good on this song. The effects throughout this song really annoy me, though.

"Agadez"- This has a kind of cool opening after the disastrous previous song. Most of this song sounds like one of those songs that I'd hear on the pop radio station, though. The songwriting is really uninteresting and the vocal melodies are far too predictable. This is really boring.

"Askepios"- This song has a really good instrumental section in it that proves that The Mars Volta know how to write songs. A good amount of this is still uninteresting, but the section beginning around 2:00 in is really good. It's a shame they didn't use a similar formula throughout more of the album. After the short instrumental section, the rest of the song doesn't do anything special. This song is especially disappointing because it has potential.

"Ouroboros"- This opens with a really fast and interesting Latin-tinged riff. I actually like Cedric's vocals here. This song is actually pretty good, though at some points near the middle the transitions seem disjointed. This song is decent from start to finish.

"Soothsayer"- A lot of this song sounds avant influenced, and it's actually really good! Sometimes this can drag on, but this has some good moments. I wish Cedric's vocals wouldn't have been distorted, though. I think it drags down the overall quality of the song.

"Conjugal Burns"- After the short, but good, opening, this song turns for the rest. If the entire song would have built off of the first notes of the album, I would have liked this song. The first minute or so is interesting, but after that it just progresses poorly between riffs, and does nothing worth listening to. A really poor way to end the album.

Conclusion:

The Bedlam In Goliath is a really terrible album, in my opinion. I've tried to be as fair and respectful as I possibly can during this review, but I just can't find any redeemable qualities whatsoever in this entire album. If you're looking for heavier music, there is so much great prog metal out there that you should experience before wasting your time with this disaster. Apparently there are a lot of people here that really enjoy this album. Needless to say, I am not one of them. This is only recommended to people who are die hard fans of The Mars Volta, or if you're looking for an unintelligent assault on your ears.

1 star.

J-Man | 1/5 |

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