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The Mars Volta - Octahedron CD (album) cover


The Mars Volta


Heavy Prog

3.64 | 423 ratings

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3 stars Octahedron ? 2009

10 ? Best Song: Cotopaxi

I don't know if they got the nasty message I sent to their unofficial fan-managed Myspace account under the guise of Corporal Montblanc of hatred, but I think it worked wonders. This eight-sided object is much less burdensome than that big giant thing from last year. This is nearly normal! It's night on the edge of mundane, even. 'Since We've Been Wrong' is a simple little pop song, and it might as well have been written and performed by a different group entirely, save for the retention of their oh-so shrill and unnerving vocalist. He apparently booted a couple folks out and make everything superquiet so he could study the art of not being an asshole. It takes years of training, personal growth, and it's the primary cause of monasteries. So yes, no more desperate assaults on the senses.

'Halo of Nembutals' is almost hooky, and the dulled senses allow the separate instruments to develop their own reach within the respective compositions. The most energetic they become is with 'Cotopaxi', which is hardly in tune with their jazzy roots. It's more along the lines of a typical newer hard rock song, though with more focus on brevity and getting the ideas out of the way before they collapse on themselves in a hideous husk. But save for the aesthetic repairs, little progress has been forged in the domain of strict songwriting appeal. He called this his 'pop' album, but he missed the boat on what used to make pop a worthy contender in artistry ? substance always over the form. If you confine yourself, do so only for the benefit of the composition.

Alitare | 3/5 |


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