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The Mars Volta - Noctourniquet CD (album) cover


The Mars Volta


Heavy Prog

3.55 | 295 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars The newest addition to their ever growing catalog, Noctourniquet, brings forth a fresh approach to a formula that has worked for them in the past. This album will turn some heads. Some previously otherwise unwilling listeners will turn towards them. Some hardcore fans may turn away though. This is by far their biggest pop album to date. However, after they dropped the tech masterpiece, Bedlam, there was nowhere else for them to travel. After an album that heavy they had to bring it back and travel the wave of atmosphere. An approach they explore on every album but now it's time for them to expand the idea. They expand indeed.

It's safe to say that Octahedron was a transition to this. Aegis though appropriate now may not have been after Bedlam. Sound effects are the in the forefront of this album. Pop is heavy on this album. It's almost as if they decided to give a TMV approach to At The Drive In. Though not personally a fan of ATDI, I do love and appreciate how they manage to keep it Volta the whole time. This album seems very hard to recreate live and I wonder how they approach it. In Absentia in partibular. It's a great song. Very existential. Very heavily mixed. A ghost like guitar chorus stays in the front while the bass guitar and vox travel between mid and background. In fact if I were to try to classify most of this album I would say Post Rock meets Volta. Volta definitely have their own sound but the post rock approach is undeniable. TMV is a smorgasbord of different Prog Schools of Thought so it's hard to even say that. They could definitely do a tour with Radiohead to promote this album. That's about the only way I can describe this album.


At times very melodic and at times very dissonant. Cedric has the amazing ability to take the complex and simplify it. To take odd time signatures and make them sound even. To make the undanceable danceable. To tame the wild. So you put him in 4/4 and he just shreds it apart. As usual the vocals are mostly undecipherable but it's the melody we all love about him anyway. I did happen to decipher St. Christopher in the last track Zed and Two Naughts.


The older I get the more accepting and tolerant I am of a pop approach. You definitely can't call them sell outs because they've always had a pop edge to their music. This music would still be too heavy, too "weird", too prog for the radio too. This is pop music for musicians. The first time I even notice a guitar solo isn't until Molochwalker. Which is a lot more guitar driven song in the vein of older TMV albums.


From the very first chorus in the first song "The Whip Hand" it becomes apparent that this is a heavy synth album. Gone is the rawness and the traditional sounding guitar driven music that has saturated the previous albums.


For this album they employ Jazz Great Deantoni Parks of KUDU among other groups and accomplishments. This man is exciting, fresh, and reputable. In 1982 at the age of 5 he appeared on The Xernona Clayton Show broadcast on WAGA-TV in Atlanta as a result of performance with Newnan High School. He has much more control than previous TMV drummers and it is apparent on this record.

Overall this album is sick. Every album they drop is sick in its own way. This album is TMV meets ATDI meets Nick Cave meets the progiverse. You will find yourself humming many tunes from this album. It's very, very catchy. IMHO I believe the more we listen to it the more we will find it essential and game changing. This is an excellent addition to any music collection. Period.

As soon as the Vinyl is released it must be purchased. No one will be disappointed. It's that crucial.

besotoxico | 5/5 |


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