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The Mars Volta - Amputechture CD (album) cover


The Mars Volta


Heavy Prog

3.84 | 535 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Most of us love a challenge, and Mars Volta typically offers at least that.

With Amputechture, I hear an inferior follow-up to Frances the Mute, but still plenty of interesting music. I think the key feature is that with Frances--in particular the epic Cassandra Geminni--Mars Volta were building to something, leading up to anything that would resemble some sort of climax for the chaos leading up to it.

Not so with Amputechture. Good music just happens sporadically, often to be followed by relatively uninteresting material.

Highlights: Meccamputecture, Viscera Eyes, Day of the Baphomets. Fortunately, Mars Volta keep most of their best music--at least to my ears--to these three tracks. The longest, Tetragrammation, has some decent material, but it's largely a mess: superficially creative, but simply alternating between hyperfast playing and ambience. One thing to remember: Cedric's double-octave overdubbing is more annoying than interesting, and Tetragrammation has an awful lot of it, much to its detriment.

Meccamputecture features intense freaking out within the same general rhythm. I think they excel at this--perhaps even Zheul-style--but their short attention spans often prevent them from exploring things in depth. Of course, including the horns always helps to prick up this progger's ears too. With Viscera, again the guys pick up a beat and just kill it--great stuff. Baphomets is a bit different, as it's very schizophrenic, but here the variety works for me (particularly Omar's freakout toward the end), although the aforementioned limitation of not leading to anything spectacular still applies.

So, we have plenty of good prog, and then plenty of average material. Who would expect anything else from the Mars Volta? Make of it what you will, but if you are new to the group, I would start with Frances the Mute and lower your expectations from there.

Flucktrot | 3/5 |


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