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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
5 stars Aaah, rewritten album number 4, and what a re-write this is. It's actually getting the big 5 from me. Now, I'm very conservative when it comes to this. I believe that a 4 star album is an incredible album. However, it needs that something extra to become a full-blown masterpiece. It's a tough word: masterpiece. Perfection. I give five stars to the all-time classics like Close to the Edge. Mind you, I don't do this because everyone else does. I do it because I believe they are masterpieces. OK, I've gotten my point across.

The Mars Volta is one of the most innovative, creative, and forward-thinking bands to ever exist. Yes, I said it. Get over it. All of you who hail this whole experimental/post-rock genre as not prog, bad, typical modern music, please don't do that. Most of you saying this have not even given the bands here a chance. And by "chance", I mean more than one listen. Try having an open mind. Geez, that's what prog is all about. And, of course, I am a firm believer that we are all entitled to our opinions. So, to each his/her own, I guess. But give them a chance before you shout your opinion of disapproval.

As for this album, it is one of the largest strokes of genius in my collection. You can go down the line from 1967 to 2005 and put the top albums up, and this would have to be there. I believe that it is the best album of 2005, and most likely, the new millenium. Originality knows no bounds here, and it is executed with brilliant playing and amazing song writing. Omar is a genius, and Cedric is a fantastic vocalist and lyricist. Combined with Ikey's tasteful keyboards, Theodore's potentially frantic but structured drumming, and Juan's solid bass work, you're all set.

Cygnus.... Vismund Cygnus: The acoustic guitar opens up peacefully, and then Cedric's voice comes in, and you can tell that this is different than De-loused... Then, The Mars Volta kick into gear, and it starts, like an unstoppable onslaught, it doesn't stop, but you don't want it to. It grows and grows, until it reaches the 9/8 12/8 8/8 time signature section. The bass sets the foundation, while the drums hold it together. The guitar and keyboards work their way in, and it builds slowly until it gives way to Cedric closing out this section before it returns to the original. Followed by a few minutes of different sounds and noises. I'll leave you to decipher those. The song is mind-blowing. The only song style that could have opened this album.

The Widow: And it calms down. The tidal wave drops for the moment. And The Widow starts. It's the radio song of the bunch. Nonetheless, it is perfect/brilliant. I actually saw the music video in California. It made me happy (seeing it made me happy, the video itself is quite disturbing). The song, the shortest one here, in itself is mellow with great guitar work in the middle. Very interesting, followed by 2-3 minutes of sound effects (cut off for the radio) before:

L'Via L'Viaquez: Could be the most original song ever written. The band amazes with me with their ability to think to the future. Omar, as I have already said, is a genius. It starts off with some of the best guitar work on the album, followed by the Spanish lyrics of the song. Followed by, lo and behold, the Latin section. Forward-thinking? Understatement. So incredible. Frusciante gives some absolutely mind-blowing solos here. Towards, the end Cedric's voice becomes demonic, but still incredible.

Miranda That Ghost Just Isn't Holy Anymore: Absolutely positively stunning and mind-blowing. I didn't know a song as mellow as this one could be this fantasmagoric. The trumpet work is absolutely incredible, and when it builds to the climax and the drums start in.... one of the best point's in music. Period. I don't want to say anymore.

Cassandra Geminni: Oh my God, I almost can't write all this. An album as incredible and masterful as this, it's impossible to put into words, and to do so is tiring. This is an epic among epics in a way. I'm actually going to do something weird here. I'm not going to say any more about it. I'll let you figure it out.

TO ALL FANS OF PROGRESSIVE ROCK MUSIC, HEAR ME. I believe that you should own this album. At the very least, just give it a try, give it its due. It is a masterpiece of progressive music, completely. Do not simply shrug it off. Be open-minded, and hear what I hear, if you can. 5/5 stars. And you're hard-pressed to get that out of me.

Yanns | 5/5 |


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