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The Mars Volta - Amputechture CD (album) cover


The Mars Volta


Heavy Prog

3.87 | 553 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars 4.5 Stars

The last Mars Volta album is a surprise. It is a masterpiece, but not without flaws. It seems like the band decided to avoid the mistakes they did in Frances The mute (long background music, bunch of noises, random songwriting) and focused on song-oriented music with songs that really do stand well on their own, as they don't seem connected to each other at all. The album is flawed because some songs don't end propertly and because (Maybe it's just me) the guitar playing and something the saxophone can sound a bit unpleasant due to their lack of melody whenever they play solos. Anyways, this is a great album with lots of innovation, wonderful musical ideas, Memorable riffs and melodies, and lots of variety. The popular "anti-pop" band surpassed themselves, releasing an album of high quality that will likely be considered a classic among progressive rock fans and all music for that matter. Here are all the songs:

Vicarious Atonement: How Interesting that the album begins with a song that doesn't really recall anything from their previous album (Frances The Mute). A spacey atmosphere created with keyboards, guitar synths, and sound effects dominate for minutes. the music is always slow and may bring to mind the mood of a typical Pink Floyd song in their early 70s space rock period. This song is driven by the unique voice of Cedric, the virtuosic guitar playing which is an acquired taste, and finally a wild and atonal Saxophone which takes the front in the avant-garde finale. The song ends abruptly which quite irritates me. 8/10

Tetragrammaton, a huge epic which doesn't overstay its welcome at all. This monster of a track throws at you a wide spectrum of melodies, riffs, tones, and rhythms. This monster of a track is the most representative Mars Volta song I know, showing you have inaccessible, complicated, creative, and masterful the band can be. However, I just can't find any major complaints about this song. The guitar is quite melodic this time, the vocals great and listenable, and the rhythm mindblowing at all times. The main reasons why this song stands as one of my favourite tracks of 2006 is the diversity of the song, the innovative music and the excellent riffs and themes this song posesses. Beware, this song is very difficult to get into. 10/10

Vermicide is a very pleasant sounding mid-tempo song with neat subtle riffs in the background, catchy vocal melodies--such as "when I became a lover, You fed me from your plate"--great vocal performance by Cedric, and very neat guitars, such as the melodic solo connecting the first chorus with the second verse and the heavier section after the second chorus which is followed with the melody of the guitar solo I described before. 9/10

Meccamputechture overstays its welcome a bit, knowing that it's mostly the same thing for over ten minutes, but this is really good music! The intro is easily the best intro I heard from a Mars Volta song, containing frantic instrumentation, rap-like singing, and a very catchy riff. Then, the singer sings his best melodies near the beginning under one of the grooviest and most amazing rhythm sections in the whole world of Progressive Rock. Under a rhythm of 6/4 with drumming recalling John Bonhman's "When the Levee Breaks" and a wonderful-sounding bass playing an insanely catchy bass line which I could say that it's my all-time favourite bass line in the history of music. You have to hear it. here is a variation of the rhythms and several different melodies and solos (unfortunately, a bit on the unmelodic side) but unfortunately, it is a shame that the song is longer than it should be. You have to listen to listen to the chorus of the song: mindblowing stuff! Meccamputechture ends with style, with the catchy intro riff, hammond organ soloing, and a main vocal melody of the song. 9/10

Asilos Magdalena: Begins very avant-garde and unmelodic, but after forty seconds, it develops into an outstanding acoustic song with satanic Spanish lyrics and subtle tempo changes between verses and choruses. The highlight of Asilos are the spooky, simple choruses that anyone could play on the guitar. After the second chorus, a great melody is repeated by Cedric with two acoustic guitars. Eventually, the vocals get more and more distorted until a, I'm sorry to say, horrible, repugnant, terrible, unmelodic, random, and uncomfortable guitar solo finishes the piece. It's such a shame that a wonderful song gets ruined by bad guitars. 7/10

Viscera Eyes: A song dominated by brilliant riffs, both in verses, pre-choruses, and choruses: they are some of the best riffs in this record. The choruses contain a great hook that would make this song radio-friendly if it wasn't so long. A musical break commences at minute six with a virtuosic guitar solo under a groovy rhythm. 8.5/10

Day of the Baphomets: The most interesting song of Amputechture. Beginning with a bass solo, the song turns into total chaos. This is the most inaccessible song there is here, mainly because it is complex and very loud. Like Tetragrammaton, it has many changes within the song, but is more coherent, and the sections are more enjoyable I dare to say, thanks to great riffs and solos. In minute 6, an amazing rhythmic riffs blows you away, and it will later come back with a mindblowing guitar solo. Between the space between the two riffs, you have a catchy and fast-paced section with a great background riff. The song ends with a percussion solo and frantic vocals. 10/10

El Ciervo Vulnerado: a mellow finisher that recalls the mood of Vicarious Atonement, yet is even slower. Unfortunately, this song never clicked on me. It's not filler not anything: the band put effort in this piece, but it just sounds directionless and dull to me. To make things worse, it finishes without a proper ending. 4/10

Who should get this album and who shouldn't: This album is certainly inaccessible due to its different style and unconventional vocals and songwriting. I think this album will be enjoyed by listeners who are up to opening their minds to something new and creative and people with a short attention span regarding music should really stay away. Also, fans of 70s prog rock who don't like King Crimson/Mahasuvishi Orchestra, etc should probably stay away too. This has a serious jazz-fusion influence, so you should take that into consideration. Also, fans of MArs Volta ... well, what are you waiting for??

My Grade : A/B

Zitro | 4/5 |


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