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

FRANCES THE MUTE

The Mars Volta

 

Heavy Prog

4.05 | 714 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

con safo
Prog Reviewer
4 stars The much anticipated follow-up to the very well done deloused in the comatorium, Frances the Mute is mars voltas sophmore effort, and it does a good job of taking what was done musically on that album, and taking it into a new (but not completely unfimiliar) direction. The album, though filled with fantastic, tight and complex music does tend to drag, as the ambient parts are for the most parts fairly un-interesting. These annoyances aside, the fantastic music more than makes up for it.

I resisted the temptation to download this album and wait until it was released, and my efforts have payed off. Frances the mute is a concept album in the essence, and not easily interpreted. Its definitely an album that warrants your full attention. Clocking in at over 75 minutes, its definitely worth the 10 $ you'll pay for it.

The opening track, 'Cygnus....Vismund Cygnus' introduces us to the protagonist 'Cygnus', loosely based on deceased band member jeremy ward. From here you enter a brilliant world, and your guides are some VERY talented people. A latin-influenced prog sound, you'll be hard pressed to fit this music into one genre. It's simply not possible. One of the great things about this band is the seamless blend of paranoia inducing time-signatures, odd ambient sounds, and the mind-blowing guitar work courtesy of Omar Rodriguez-Lopez. After a seemingly pointless 3 minutes of ambient sounds we enter "The Widow", already released as a single, and the only song on the album short enough. What it makes up for in length it makes up for in impact, being one of the most important songs concept wise. After another tedious 3 minutes of ambient noise we begin "L'via L'Viaquez" which features two great guitar solo's by RHCP's John frusciante. Very nice salsa-influenced chorus in this track. "Miranda" begins with yet another pointless foray into ambient soundscapes, and don't get me wrong, ambience can add great atmosphere to an album, but in this case it seems to go nowhere. Once the song does kick in, it is a real treat. Reminiscent of "Televators", it is a slower song with a very latin feel, nice trumpet contribution from yet another RHCP member, flea.

The real treat is the 32 minute epic "Cassandra Gemini", which ties the story together into one thrilling climax. All the musicians of TMV shine in this track, mind-bending guitar solos, un-human drumming, and cedrics amazing vocal range. Cassandra herself is a bit of en enigma concept wise, cygnus's twin, or cygnus himself? Nobody knows for sure, but the eventual spiral into madeness will leave you gripped. Cedric whispers "ill peel back all of my skin/peel back and let it all run" and then the band lets you know how this feels, a true sensory overload. The movement "Faminepulse" is an intense instrumental segment with some awesome trumpet and ambient guitar noises, all degenerating into a reprise of the albums first movement "Sarcophagi"

A solid 50 minutes of absolutely fantastic music, and a dissapointing 20 minutes of aimless ambient noise. Though i do love this album, i don't find it in my CD player much anymore, as the amount of tedious ambience makes this quit a lengthy listen. I am hoping their next album cut's down on the ambience. Definitely worth your money. 4.5/5

con safo | 4/5 |

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