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


The Mars Volta


Heavy Prog

4.07 | 1006 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars TMV's second full-length studio output actually would have all essential ingredients for an interesting prog album - multi-part lengthy tracks, a cyclic structure, mellotron, plenty of odd-timed rhythms, sudden breaks between quiet and driving sections and blending different music genres like salsa with hardrock/heavy metal . But unfortunately it contains as well in the first 3 to 4 tracks too many filling parts with redundant lengthy electronic noodlings or noise experiments which are disturbing severely the continuous flow and an enjoyable listen. IMHO these are exactly the features of Prog giving a reason to those fellows who blame it for being pretentious. And honestly I think they're completely right in doing this. I really can't get the point what it is good for if otherwise good tracks are being spoilt by something like that.

As said before first two tracks are quite fine if one cuts the final unnecessary parts off. Especially in the second one this part is much much too lengthy and actually absolutely unbearable (at least for me). Third one "Via Lviaquez" is an excellent sort of progressive salsa, only short part in the beginning and end could be cut without missing anything. Maybe I should mention that actually I find it a pity if it's necessary to edit the tracks of an album to make it enjoyable. Actually I prefer to see prog albums as an entity and not to strip it down to its individual parts.

"Miranda That Ghost Just Isnt Holy Anymore" starts with an again too lengthy part with ambient noise and some spine-chilling electronic noodling, probably the right thing for a horror movie or to listen loudly in complete darkness. After four minutes finally some music is starting with guitar, sax and synths sounding quite nice actually after one has got used to the vocals.

"The Cassandra Geminni suite" suddenly is bringing back the band's well known high energy and is a very good track as well again using some sax. Second part is a very tough and quirky one as well with some dissonant avantgarde-type parts at times. In the third one the sound becomes very orchestral but as well incredibly loud. This eight parts suite is really a very interesting piece of music revealing quite different sides of the band.


With this album TMV is proving very well that they are a creative and innovative band with a high potential for big things to come from them in future. Although they might never become one of my favs especially due to the vocals they managed here a lot better than with "Deloused..." to convince me of their talents and quality.

(edited 7/19/2006)

hdfisch | 3/5 |


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