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The Mars Volta - De-Loused In The Comatorium CD (album) cover


The Mars Volta


Heavy Prog

4.19 | 1136 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars I've been playing this album along with Frances the Mute, their latest release, constantly in my car over the past three weeks since I bought them, and I think only now after bombarding my ears with their wall of sound, melody, noise, call it what you will, do I begin to really get what these band are about. I've already reviewed "Frances" and here as well I'd give it 4 stars. Of the two albums, this one is perhaps a little easier to get into, while Frances the Mute has the more obvious prog reference points (e.g. a 32 minute epic with "Gemini" in the title..!)

Although the theme of this album - and its cover! - and some of the lyrics, like in Televators - are rather gruesome I find it an uplifting, inspiring experience; it's a long time I've heard a new artist that really does seem to be pushing musical boundaries. The album tells the tale of Cerpin Taxt, based on a real-life artist friend of the band who overdosed on morphine, finds himself at death's door but pulls back from it; as he lies on coma, he goes through a series of fantastic adventures before finally waking up, rejoining the real world, and finding he can't live in it - so throws himself onto a highway - presumably the "page of concrete" in the aforesaid Televators. Although this is a less than cheery premise, its a great album, and meets an important maxim for me - that truly progressive music should be radical and challenging. TMV's music is also quite hard edged, with shades of metal to it - but it's a long way from Dream Theater's rather cliched view of what "modern" prog should be. (Sorry if I'm DT bashing here, what I'm trying to say is that whereas DT are a fairly conventional band, there is nothing very conventional about TMV). Sure there are some reference points - there's a guitar break in track 10, "Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt" that's very similar to one of Fripp's breaks in (I think) Fracture from "Starless..." album, but TMV are very hard to categorise.

Lyrics aren't included with the album, but are available via a link on TMV's web-site, included in a .pdf file telling the story of Cerpin Taxt - apparently they charged for this initially, but now its a free download. However the story - and the lyrics - are a little obtuse to put it mildly, but at least it helps pinpoint roughly how the songs fit into the story of Cerpin's life.

My UK release has a so-called "bonus" track on it which frankly isn't up to the quality of the rest.

Phil | 4/5 |


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