Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
The Mars Volta - The Widow CD (album) cover


The Mars Volta


Heavy Prog

3.84 | 48 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars First I'll start off by saying that this review will not encompass the track "The Widow." The song doesn't excite me enough to play it as a single, but I'll listen to it through the course of Frances the Mute. In any case, it feels odd reviewing a single track, but in all honesty, it's not meant to be a single track to begin with. The "Frances the Mute" track is what would have been the closer of the album bearing its name if CDs were able to hold more music.

Wheras some have debated that this is supposed to be the opener of the album, I find it hard to agree--partially due to the fact that inside the FRANCES THE MUTE Jewel Case, the title track is listed after all the rest. Also, the song's lyrical material and resurfacing aspects of other songs in the album leads me to believe that it's meant to be a sort of encore closing song.

As mentioned in previous reviews, the track starts with a clanking sound, sort of remeniscient of pipes, although I like to think they have a sort of "ghostly" aspect. While somewhat annoying if this is the first thing you start listening to, when appended behind the end of Cassandra Geminni on a playlist, it actually transitions quite naturally, and doesn't last for very long in comparison to the noise on tracks like "Miranda, that Ghost Just Isn't Holy Anymore." After the noise, it goes into crooning rock segment, which is certainly less frantic and complex than tracks like "Cygnus... Vismund Cygnus" or "L'Via L'Viaquez." Within this segment, BIXLER sings of apparitions and other such things regarding the prior events criptically laid out by the other songs off of FTM.

After the rather upbeat segment, the track slows down to a mellow, acoustic pace, with strings similar to those featured on the "Sarcophogii" segments of the intro of "Cygnus... Vismund Cygnus" and the closer of "Cassandra Geminni" with typical Bixler morbid, abstract lyrics. The song begins to mount after a few minutes, then breaks into another crooning segment, where Bixler relates that "This never happened," which is probably referring to the whole FTM album. After a quick little segment with a few repetitions of those words, it again cuts to a new segment with some ambience over a loop of a recorded-sounding bit from the "Sarcophogii" segments, with liberal use of spacey sounds. Then, this begins to fade away, as a steady humming sound builds and gets louder, similar to the conclusion of "The Bends" by MR. BUNGLE, but not quite so eardrum splitting. It then cuts out completely, and the song ends.

The song itself is actually pretty pleasant, and the lyrics are much less cryptic than most of the other songs by Bixler, AT THE DRIVE-IN or THE MARS VOLTA. Also, the noise isn't quite so annoying as that on FTM (to those of you who are actually annoyed by it). It certainly doesn't work as a standalone track, though. It really needs to be played as a closer for FTM for it to work. I certainly reccomend it for those of you who enjoyed FTM, and want at least a LITTLE closure to what is a very lyrically confusing album.

Shaikoten | 4/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this THE MARS VOLTA review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.