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


The Mars Volta


Heavy Prog

3.52 | 524 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars I give this five-star rating without a moment's hesitation. I've read through a good deal of the reviews here on PA, and there seems to be a general consensus that this album is all over the place, overburdened with noise and energy. For many Volta fans this results in a diluted effort, lacking some of the...dare I say subtlety? of previous releases. However, this manic, crazed, raving power is what has always attracted me to the band, and I find it to be their one true redeeming feature.

Essentially, I like The Mars Volta when they throw everything out the window. I like the hectic sound effects, the weird distortions, the random interjections of ambient nonsense. Their value as a band has always hinged on their ability to create cacophonous, brilliant coherence, and (I reiterate) this album is the pinnacle of their ability to craft compelling and chilling music from chaos. I admit, it may not be to everyone's taste, but I've always felt that The Mars Volta were headed in this direction stylistically. The Bedlam In Goliath is the august inheritor of De-Loused, my other absolute favorite release by the band. The two feel intrinsically linked to me, a beginning and an ending. The following release, Octahedron, is the quiet epitaph to this completed circuit.

All of this, of course, is not enough to secure the hallowed five-star rating. However, this album can also boast the claim of being Mars Volta's only cogent concept album. The conceit framing the album - the band's torment by the power of an evil, possessed Ouiji board - reeks of rock mythology, even if it is a load of bull. However, once the listener is aware of the 'true story' behind the album's recording and substance, it lends the work an added, brooding, evil air. Standing alone, it's an album of total freak-out music, but in conjunction with the widely disseminated story of a wicked Israeli talking board, everything gets much darker. The musical themes suddenly epitomize the threat of possession and insanity, ie there is method to the band's madness. For once

Okay. This album is not for everyone. It's akin to a demanding demonic child with severe croup, or a corkscrew roller-coaster that refuses to stop and let you off. But persevering past the veneer of sheer crazy is well worth the effort. Giving in to the trip is the first stage to completely enjoying this very loud, very long, very excellent release.

Oh, and the lyrics suck. But that's nothing new.

Lozlan | 5/5 |


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