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


The Mars Volta


Heavy Prog

4.20 | 1327 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars The Mars Volta's debut studio album is one of the best albums of 2003 (if not the best), and it is as inventive and forward-thinking as their work has always been and will always be. Although I don't think it measures up to their next effort, Frances the Mute, which I gave an unquestionable 5 stars, this is still extremely worthwhile.

Most "pure" prog fans are extremely wary of this sub-genre. I was, so I understand where you may be coming from. But after I got Frances and spun it a bunch of times, I began to like it a lot, and then it hit home big time and I realized it was a masterpiece. I challenge everyone reading this review (if you're on this site, then you must like prog) to go out and get some TMV. And don't discard it after a first listen like I've seen many people do. Nothing angers me more than that in the prog music world. This is prog. You need to give it a chance to grow, so you can see what direction it's going.

Son Et Lumiere/Inertiatic ESP - This is TMV. The opening sound effects and Cedric's voice lay the way for the album to follow, and the guitar and drums explode shortly before entering Inertiatic ESP. The very opening verse of "Now I'm lost" is fantastic, with the keyboard chords soaring up and down behind it. The rest of the song basically follows in the same wake.

Roulette Dares - The first "longer," even "prog-sized" track on the album. The opening blasts you out of your seat, even though I wasn't particularly into it the first few times I listened. It's a slight grower, but it's good at the end. The album is kinda like that as a whole anyway. Give it time, and you'll realize it's power.

Tira Me A Las Aranas/Drunkship of Lanterns - Tira Me... is a nice little guitar piece. Every band has one or two of these, it's almost customary now... (Yes/Clap and Mood for a Day, ELP/Lucky Man, The Sage, From the Beginning, Still you Turn me on, etc., King Crimson/Peace - A Theme, Genesis/Horizons, Spock's Beard/Chatauqua, you get it.) But it accomplishes its goal very nicely and leads into Drunkship. The song indeed kicks off right away, and Cedric's vocals throughout the song I like. They take on a different element here, in a way.

Eriatarka - I absolutely love this song. Everything about it is amazing for me. Omar's guitar never stops, and the frantic drums of Jon Theodore are perfect. Also, one particular thing I love about this song... The "chorus," I guess you could call it, is done three times. The first two times, the guitar and drums go in, basically, intervals of three. The last time, however, it's all even throughout, with all the instruments jamming smoothly, with Cedric still sailing above.

Cicatriz ESP - "Do you recall his name..." The distorted vocals begin this frantic song, the longest on the album. The two RHCPs do a great job here. Frusciante would continue on after this album to do guitar work on Frances, and most notably, the song L'Via L'Viaquez. Flea, I believe, did all the bass work on this entire album. He would, of course, continue on Frances on the trumpet.

This Apparatus Must Be Unearthed - This song has one of my favorite parts on the whole album, when Cedric semi-wails "I've been waiting for so long, for something to.." etc. etc. I absolutely can't get enough of this song because of that alone. The rest, of course, is great is well, but that must get mentioned.

Televators - Totally laidback song. Kinda why I like it a lot. (Check out the video for this song, by the way.) It's crazy when Cedric sings "You should have seen, the curse that flew right by you", especially when the drums kick in afterwards. Definitely the most mellow song, but still amazing.

Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt - One heck of an album closer. I think the high point of the song is Cedric's overdubbed vocals. I think he has one of the best voices around anyway, but when there's two of him singing two different things, it's that much better. If it's one thing this band can do, it is to close out an album. Frances ends absolutely magnificently with the end of Cassandra Geminni, and this is no exception.

I can't stress the following enough. It's in my prog reviewer bio, it's here in this review, etc.: Give this genre and this band a chance. Don't shrug them off, thinking "They aren't prog, blah blah blah". I know prog inside and out, the I know the The Mars Volta are a progressive band. You must hear them to believe them, and hopefully appreciate them from there. I think this is a fantastic album, worth a listen from one and all. 4/5.

EDIT: Yeah. After listening to nothing but Volta for about 2 months now (getting ready for Amputechture and all), I've come to the realization that this album is beyond perfect. From Inertiatic to Cerpin Taxt, this is one of the most well-done, awe-inspiring works to arise since the late sixties. Anyone looking to open their mind to music should just buy Volta albums, starting with this one.

Yanns | 5/5 |


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