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The Mars Volta - Scab Dates CD (album) cover


The Mars Volta


Heavy Prog

2.73 | 113 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars This album is certainly worthy of a place on the shelf next to De-Loused and Frances.

The live version of "Concertina" is perhaps the most spot-on performance of a song I've ever heard. A very good rendition indeed.

"Take the Veil" (all 3 parts), "Caviglia", and "Haruspex" are all solid, but aren't "real" songs. Don't get your hopes up, kiddies. These tracks aren't stellar, but the final track "Cicatriz" will make an impact on you. I get goosebumps at least three times in its duration, much the same way parts of the studio version used to do the same for me. This impossibly long live jam showcases the talents of Omar in ways that proves one man is, in fact, capable of making all that noise. His work here is impeccable and gives this album one star on his own... at least.

The reason this album is not five stars is twofold. First is Cedric. He's pretty reliable and, in a studio setting, is one of the best singers I've ever heard. I've never had the money or the good fortune to see TMV live, but Cedric is undoubtedly being strained by the songs here. He's not up to par at the beginning, but by the end of the pentapartite "Cicatriz" he's a lame duck who is, I'm sad to say, almost painful to listen to. This is unfortunate, because it's where Omar shines. I'd love to see the two on top of their game simultaneously.

Second is TMV's obsession with ear-piercingly high sound effects, especially in the first and last tracks, which prevent me from turning up the volume high enough to appreciate the music without the fear of some unknown hearing mechanism rupturing. I wonder if their sound technicians are in cahoots with Miracle Ear.

This album is worth it only for all the parts of "Cicatriz", which undoubtedly, despite all its weaknesses, is one of the top live tracks in my library. Hearing the band let loose live is still a sacred experience for me.

"Thanks for coming out, everybody. Go home and take a bath." -- Cedric

nursethisviper | 4/5 |


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