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The Mars Volta - De-Loused In The Comatorium CD (album) cover

DE-LOUSED IN THE COMATORIUM

The Mars Volta

 

Heavy Prog

4.22 | 950 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

frenchie
Prog Reviewer
5 stars and as the turn of the millenium occured music continued to progress alongside time but no new studio album has been this memorable since the dawn of our new millenium.

nowadays progressive rock bands are described as "dinosaurs" yet prog rock is the most challenging, entertaining and musically perfected type of music there is, and the mars volta are one of the few bands that continue to prove that progressive rock is very much alive. this band also reminds us of how good those "dinosaurs" are.

Inspired by the works of yes and pink floyd (and they blagged pink floyd art designer storm thorgerson to make the album cover) the mars volta are formed from the ashes of at the drive in, who were renown for their intense live shows and really grasped the concept of the word NOISE! Cedric and Omar decided they were no longer fufilled by the music they produced in at the drive in and felt it was time to move on. deloused in the comatorium was the result of that decision. this milleniums true masterpiece.

Deloused in the comatorium is a concept album (also a dying breed) which easily competes with the wall, quadrophenia and scenes from a memory in terms of combining music and story. Based on the life and times of Julios Venegas. a friend of the band who tried to shoot up rat poison into his veins but ended up going into coma in which he saw strange psychadelic images. after awaking from the coma he then succeeds in suicide. its funny how it takes a horrific event to spark off ideas that can revolutionise music once again.

the album begins with quiet intro track "son et lumiere" which even though is only a minute and a half long, sets the scene for progressive rock by starting off quietly and having the silence being broken by mystifying synth effects which lead into menacing and unclear vocals from excellent singer Cedric, exploding into the heavy guitar riffs which leads us into a beautiful drum fill and "inertiatic ESP". the sheer volume of this track never ceases to amaze any listener. its not so much heavy like a death metal band but to step up from a quiet intro to multilayered guitar noises and cedic wailing "now i'm lost" is pure beauty.

"Roulette Dares" is the first full out prog piece and has more time to expand atmospherically. This song often weaves in and out of menacing guitar licks to slower vocal parts. The "exoskeletal junction at the railroad delayed" part is incredible. This track starts to fill more dreamlike and comatose as the story puts the listener into a type of coma fantasy. There are often spacey guitar effects used in some of the songs which reminds me of something pink floyd might tackle but especially in the style of "moonchild" by king crimson. The Mars Volta have incredibly put the effort into taking their inspirations and making something boldly unique out of them.

"Tira me a las aranas" (which roughly translates as throw me to the spiders) is a haunting and dark acoustic piece with the horn of the railroad in the distance. Extremely atmospheric. This piece links the journey from roulette dares to drunkship and it sort of reminds me of "horizons" by genesis or "mood for a day" by yes. A similar logic is used anyway. This piece is touching yet in a way miserable at the same time.

"Drunkship of Lanterns" and "Eriatarka" almost flow together as one song and are indeed my favourite parts of this album. Drunkship uses strong drumming technique and really shows off the sense of progression, experimenting and it really does make the listner feel a part of this psychadelic journey as you have been taken far away from that quiet intro of the album. Drunkship has excellent lyrics such as "counting the toll", "carpel jets hit the ground" and "lash of one thousand eyebrows clicking", whenever cedric wails these lines it feels so incredible and touching. Some of Omars guitar pieces here are incredible, whether they are subtle and use ghostly effects or straight out zeppelin-ish licks and solos. Ikey excells on the keyboards. There is also an allusion to the cicatriz centre piece here.

"Eriatarka" starts with more compassionate vocals with downer, informative lyrics. I love the way the song changes from the soft intro to the frantic "tentacles smirk please" part. This follows to another preulude of the cicatriz centrepiece with the different effects. I love the way it draws you back into the song too. One of my favourite moments on the whole album comes in at around 3:38 where omar, ikey and jon theodore kick in with the amazing bridging battle and then cedric wails "evaporated the fur/ because it covers them/ if you only knew the plans they had for us" this nearly leaves me in tears every time as i can never get over how good this album is. The song ends with lots of trippy effects to make way for the albums epic centrepiece...

"Cicatriz ESP" is the longest piece on the album and the two RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS excell themselves. Flea's brilliant basslines thunder through jon's incredible drumwork and cedric really grabs the listeners attention with clearer vocals. This then finds its way into the brilliant "I'm defected" which always wow's me. There is an incredible show of prog effects in the middle of this album with john frusciante creating trippy solos and effects for a long but listenable length of time.This shows off the drug based substance of the musicians. this is incredibly progressive. There is meant to be the effect of being underwater and it is done very well if you listen from around 6 minutes on. there are even some Floydish effects that remind me of echoes (also a water themed piece). This then leads back into an excellent reprisal of the I'm Defected part and that familar bassline is there too for one of the best progressive pieces on the album. This track also reflects to the "squidman" artwork that Storm Thorgerson created that represents a monster like creature ascending to heaven as a man from the murky depths of self disgust. This idea comes from the Greek representation of water and death. The ESP in the title could stand for exit sleeping process, representing the end of the coma fantasies as cerpin taxt awakes. (the ESP in intertiatic is enter sleeping process). This is only a theory. There are huge discussions about the story and lyrics and their different meanings and interpretations on www.thecomatorium.com

Its not over yet. "This Apparatus Must Be Unearthed" is one of the shorter tracks, (well 5 mins isn't short) that takes you from the relaxing watery effects of cicatriz to a keep in the teeth frantic guitar based track. Omar and Cedric continue to play together flawlessly almost like brothers. This is a strong piece and is bound to give you a headache. "Televators" is full of sorrow and depression. A slow acoustic piece with trippy effects to backround. Cedric's best vocals display is probably here, tho i love his voice in whatever he plays. The lyrics are about Cerpin Taxt (who is based on Julios Venegas) awaking from the coma and finally achieving suicide. This track continuosly builds up and shows a nice change to the album.

The album closer is an epic. It seems to have everything. Jon theodore is a star on this album as his drum fills, solos and beats are truely insane. One of the best parts of this song (and the album) is there is an amazing bass solo in the middle or towards the end. I've seen a live version and it was taken to even more epic proportions but for the studio version, go flea! This song has a similar concept to "Cicatriz ESP" in that it builds up to an instrumental centrepiece that is very progressive and lengthy and then has a reprisal of the main vocal and guitar structure. The outro is spectacular and i couldn't have asked for a better ending to an epic story as cerpin taxt takes the veil and questions who brought him to the afterlife.

musically this album continuosly switches between fast and fiddley guitar and keyboard pieces to slow, psychadelic sounds. The mars volta have used the sound effects to their advantage to create a "space rock" feel to the album and a sense of distance as it feels like each layer of sound is attacking your ears from different directions. The sheer intensity of this 60 minute trip plays on your mind. Ikey Owens frantic keyboard action is the closest thing to match up to the wizard, rick wakeman of yes. Cedric and Omar take the spotlight on this album with their intense guitar sounds and ghostlike vocals which are truely amazing. music may have changed. yet the mars volta have bought the sound of the 60's and 70's perfectly into the new millenium. deloused in the comatorium is just what modern music needed. Now i cant wait to see where the next studio album, "frances the mute" takes us.

If you ever get a chance to read the lyrics to this album you will be amazed and with the wide use of a thesaurus and will find words you never knew existed and a mixture of languages as you would expect from the titles. Musically orginal and challenging throughout, this album will be impossible to put down. a masterpiece, makes ugliness look beautiful, beauty obscured, contridication and irony. the mars volta.

frenchie | 5/5 |

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