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The Mars Volta - Octahedron CD (album) cover

OCTAHEDRON

The Mars Volta

 

Heavy Prog

3.65 | 343 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

J-Man
Prog Reviewer
3 stars A Step In The Right Direction

My introduction to The Mars Volta was their previous album, The Bedlam In Goliath. That was one of the worst albums I've ever experienced in my entire life, and every second of it made me cringe. I was hesitant in buying the new album by The Mars Volta, but since I'd heard that Octhedron showed a softer side to their music, I figured it was worth a shot.

Let me say that I am really glad I gave this a try. This proved to me that The Mars Volta are more than just self-indulgent mindless noise. This showed me that they have a melodic side and that they have talent as songwriters - two things that are impossible to see through the unlistenable mess of The Bedlam In Goliath.

While it is true that some of this album can get boring, and some of it is bland and organic, this is a really good album. This doesn't make me an instant fan of the band, but it shows me that they are very capable musicians. I don't think that Octahedron is a great prog album, or even one of the best of 2009; but it is a solid album from beginning to end. I really like the soft acoustic sound that is played on this album, and I think the band can shine as musicians more this way. They still show their heavier side on a few songs, but this is generally a soft album.

THE MUSIC:

"Since We've Been Wrong"- After an unnecessary one and a half minute period of silence, the first notes of the album enter. It shows a much different side of he band than the previous album. I really like the softer approach to this song, and I like the acoustic instrumentation in contrast to the melodic electric guitar. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I enjoy Cedric's vocals here. This is a really good song from beginning to end. The entrance of drums and mellotron near the end is excellent, and it shows great progression throughout the song. If more Volta songs were like this I would be a fan of the band. "Teflon"- After the solid opener, this opens up with a drum beat. This goes into a fairly annoying verse, but it gets better. This has some good melodies and riffs throughout. I like the overall rhythm of the song. The vocals can get a little annoying later in the song, but this is a solid composition.

"Halo of Nembutals"- The first minute of this song is just noise, but after that this is one of the best songs on the album. This is very melodic with solid riffing. The vocals fit the mood of the song perfectly. I really like the melodies on this song, and it proves how capable these guys are. This is one of the most inspired Mars Volta songs I've heard.

"With Twilight As My Guide"- I like the acoustic feel to this song, and this has really good melodies. This has an atmospheric feel to it, mostly because of the hypnotic acoustic guitar notes. Parts of this song can get a little boring, though.

"Cotopaxi"- The previous song was fairly boring, but this is fast and upbeat. I really like the fast guitar riffing. This is a high quality riff, and it makes for a high quality song. The vocals, drumming, and guitar playing are all great. This proves that all heavier Mars Volta songs aren't just mindless noise. One of my favorites from the album.

"Desperate Graves"- This is an upbeat song with a solid chorus. Not all of this song is that solid, and the verses fail to grab me. The catchy chorus is enough to make this a good song, though.

"Copernicus"- This song is 7 and a half minutes, and it gets pretty repetitive. It never really does anything new, and it can lead to some serious boredom. I like the addition of piano near the end, but the electric drums near the middle don't fit in the context of the song. Overall, this is probably my least favorite from the album.

"Luciforms"- This song is pretty irritating and never gets much accomplished. The vocals are self-indulgent and annoying. This doesn't feature any good riffs like much of the album, and this leads to a disappointing end. This has a weird feeling throughout, and it's decent. They should have ended this with one of the earlier songs, though.

Conclusion:

Octahedron is a really good album by The Mars Volta. This doesn't have the various flaws that killed its predecessor, and this album comes recommended from me. I don't think it's really above average, but it still is an enjoyable album. I'm going to give this a 3 star rating, as I think this is really good, even if I don't consider it an excellent album. This is recommended for people looking to get into The Mars Volta, as I think it's one of their best.

3 stars.

J-Man | 3/5 |

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