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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

Prog Reviewer
4 stars My true introduction into the world of prog.

Yes, I heard the likes of Yes and Rush and Genesis, but it wasn't until I borrowed some of my brother's music that I found this gem of a disc. Now, this was a long time ago, back when i favored the most popular music of the time. Of course, that was a big mistake looking back on it now, but once I saw this on iTunes, it recommended a playlist of "Modern Prog" which featured bands like Dream Theater and Pain of Salvation, and thus, I was hooked on everything prog ever since.

The first true Mars Volta album since the demise of At The Drive-In, the experimental side of Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Cedric Bixler-Zavala finally emerged through the rough-and- tumble, smash-your-face-in fury that combined hard rock and chugging riffs with the fast fury of punk and a strange twinge of indie.

Now, I'll admit, 5 years ago, I wasn't too fond of the lyrical aspect of the band, but now I could care less. The instrumentation of this band is what really sets it apart from most other progressive rock outfits. I find it interesting though that, as a drummer, while I consider Neil Pert and Mike Portnoy and Gene Krupa to be several of my idols, each and every time I fail to include Jon Theodore in that mix. It's quite a shame really. One listen to "Roulette Dares (The Haunt Of)" and you can instantly hear the technical rhythms, the rapid-fire fills and the numerous time signature changes.

This album also seems to begin the trend of having significantly long outros (starting with the minute long outro on "Inertiatic ESP" and with it, their infamy with very elaborate textures and soundscapes thanks to one Jeremy Michael Ward . Now, when one thinks of the word "sounds", it's a pretty generic term. Not to the Mars Volta, though. If you want weird sounds, trust me, TMV will deliver. (Try the 2 minute [roughly] long outro on "The Widow" or the nearly 5 minute long outro on "Cygnus...Vismund Cygnus", both on "Frances The Mute")

Then again, there's also the retro sounds of Rodriguez-Lopez's guitar. His style of playing seems a bit abnormal (he is a lefty), but his talent is unmistakable, and his guitar solos represent that. He's not one to show off his chops (and blistering those may be), but there are times where he's not afraid to try to melt your face. However, while it seems like he's trying to crush your skull with his guitars and Theodore's blistering speed (such as on "Drunkenship Of Lanterns"), but rather his simple chords in the intro add to the texture of the song.

It seems to be a new phenomena in progressive rock music. While electronica sounds were first discovered in old Krautrock discs, emerged in the form of Kraftwerk's infamous "Autobahn", then seemingly crushed the entire world of music in the form of the cheesy '80's keys and fakes drums, this new fad of adding texture, of developing atmosphere within the song is rapidly becoming widespread in more abstract prog albums these days. Again, you can hear the punk and math rock influences in this album, but then pay attention to the openess in "Cicatriz ESP" (note the jam tendencies in the band's playing style, evident but not clearly as evident in "Scab Dates"), then listen to the atmosphere in "Televators". Feel like you're still sitting in your stuffy office cubicle? Not during this bad boy.

Shocking how this record is only a 2003 release. This disc, "Frances The Mute" and "Amputechture" are obviously my favorite TMV albums, but some of my favorite albums of all time. Once you've listened to this album fully, you pretty much know what you're going to expect in "FTM" and "Amputechture", yet, when you listen to both, they're completely different recordings, and for good reason. "De-Loused" seems to be the ground work that came out of "Cut That City"'s blueprints out of the older structure that was "At The Drive-In".

To me, "De-Loused" is more of a technical masterpiece, while "Frances The Mute" is just a progressive epic in the truest sense of the word, while "Amputechture" combines both philosophies into one album, while continuing to combine the Latino (and also Aboriginal, among other) cultures in to ones seamless (sort of) recording.

For that's another big key into this band's genetic makeup: cultural influences. Take a listen to "Eriatarka". Roughly 4 minutes into the track, you can hear all the guitars and sounds drop out behind a Theodore backbeat, with one guitar chord piercing the eerie silence, almost in a reggae-esque feel. Compare that to "Televators", where the sounds of a damp rainforest lull you into a soft acoustic guitar and Bixler-Zavala's strangely hypnotic voice. Again, while the lyrics may not make sense, it's best just to not bother with them.

All in all, it's a fantastic album, but it's not exactly a progressive masterpiece in the truest sense of the term. It's not reasonable to compare this to Yes' "Fragile" or Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here"; it's certainly a beast all it's own. Yet this is the predecessor to one of my favorite prog album's of all time. At The Drive-In fans may like this album, but probably not any others after this; the punk influences go wayward after that. However, if you're into a album with excitement, avant-garde and cultural influences, this particular record is right up your alley.

Wicket | 4/5 |


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