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The Mars Volta - Frances the Mute CD (album) cover


The Mars Volta


Heavy Prog

4.07 | 1007 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars The Mars Volta release once again a masterpiece, after the brilliant landmark album De Loused In The Comatorium. "Frances The mute" is probably the most progressive album of TMV, not only because all the songs are very long, but especially because of the content.

The style of the album is incredible, something that TMV were never able to repeat in their following albums. Shattering, confusing and incredibly wild moments played with guitar, keyboards and vocals are alternated with bizarre electronic soundscapes or calm moments that are heavily influenced by Spanish and central American music.

The unbelievable opener is "Cygnus....Vismund Cygnus", a 13 minute masterpiece. After the one minute intro, the song explodes, and the band has one of their wild moments, moments that really blow your mind. After a few minutes it get's calm and spacey, and when 8 minutes tick it returns wild again, even though not as much as before, but there is an unbelievable moment when the singer does some high pitched vocals, so beautiful that it gives me goosebumps every time I listen to it. When only three minutes are left, the song fades away and some bizarre electronic samples that I mentioned earlier reign supreme. Definitely the best song of the album, and maybe the best Mars Volta song.

"The Widow" was the only song that got a bit of success (it was released as a single), probably because it;s the shortest of these songs, almost 6 minutes. The song for the first three minutes is a great ballad, very touching but interesting at the same time. The second part of the song is completely dedicated to electronic weirdness, a great intro to the following song.

"L'Via L'Vaquez" is a very interesting song. It starts almost immediately, and it's probably the most Spanish influenced song of the album, thanks especially to the lyrics, which are in Spanish, but also thanks to the music, which isn't as wild as "Cygnus....". After a while, we hear for most of the song some piano accompanied by the singer, who now whispers, making the atmosphere tense and creepy.

"Miranda That Ghost Just Isn't Holy Anymore" is the most experimental song of "Frances The Mute". It takes a couple of minutes before some music shows up (the intro is just the sound of birds). When the music kicks in, the song isn't wild at all, and before you know it you are once again immersed in experimentation until the end of the song. Nobody really likes this song, I personally think it's extremely interesting, a song that is quite different from the rest, a 100% progressive song in my opinion.

"Cassandra Gemini" is the most epic Mars Volta song: more than 30 minutes of wildness, crazy time changes, amazing experimentation, weird calm parts, and of course a great melodic chorus that echoes that comes up in some parts of the song. The first ten- fifteen minutes are the most wild, with many changes of themes, making the song a 100% suite. After a while, the music gets mellower, and the massive use of electronics returns once again, even thoug the guitar has an important role too. Only when thirty minutes pass the bands starts to get more enlivened, and the last couple of minutes are a reprise to all the previous madness.

What more can you say about an album like "Frances The Mute"? An album that in my opinion must go down in prog history, since it did bring back some elements that were trapped in the seventies and never exposed again. An essential masterpiece.

EatThatPhonebook | 4/5 |


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