Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
The Mars Volta - A Missing Chromosome CD (album) cover


The Mars Volta

Heavy Prog

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
4 stars This is a hugely underknown little compilation from the band featuring all of their studio EP material and unreleased material. The track listing is as follows:

-1. Cut That City (Tremulant EP) 5:42 -2. Concertina (Tremulant EP) 4:54 -3. Eunuch Provocateur (Tremulant EP) 8:48 -4. A Plague Upon Your Hissing (DITC Outtake) 4:40 -5. Ambuletz (DITC UK Import) 7:03 -6. The Bible And The Breathalyzer (L'via L'viaquez Single B-side) 5:17 -7. Frances The Mute (The Widow Single B-side) 14:36

It is a nice addition to have in any The Mars Volta completionist collection.

Cut that City is the opener for the TREMULANT EP, and it is a nice track that is heavily fused with effects and odd times.

Concertina is the second track on the TREMULANT EP, beginning with four powerful chords before calming down for the verse and picking back up for the chorus. It is beautiful, but nothing extremely special.

Eunuch Provocateur, the final track on the TREMULANT EP, begins with soem ambient guitar work and escalates to a high point where it pauses for the words "Have mommy or daddy ever had to spank you?" to be said backwards--which is a strange, creepy easter egg. Then it explodes into a very nice combination of pyschotic drumming and guitar frenzy work. I really love this song, and it is the best off of the EP. Near the end there is some almost electronic-esque drumming over which the same voice that said the first backwards quote now sings "The Itsy-Bitsy Spider" backwards. Again a creep little easter egg.

A Plague Upon Your Hissing, a DE-LOUSED IN THE COMATORIUM outtake track is a true gem. It shows teh band exploring more what their sound was like on FRANCES THE MUTE with more dissonance and vocal breaks. It is a constantly moving track and I wonder why it was cut from the album, it is a wonderful track. At any rate I'm glad they released it, and I'd recommend any Mars Volta fan to try and download it somewhere.

Ambuletz, another DITC outake, but released in UK as part of the album, is a very creep track filled with effects. At the same time it manages to be beautiful in it's own right. Some people will hate this track, whereas others will love it. One thing I will say is that it holds no competition with "Take the Veil" as a closer, even though it is a brialliant track.

The Bible and the Breathalyzer, taken from the L'VIA SINGLE, is a mysterious track that is really nothing but a statemental poem read over some ambience, there for it is very chilling and disturbed feeling. Nothing great, but not exactly a weak spot either.

Frances the Mute (single), taken from THE WIDOW Single and meant to be part of the album itself, is an amazing track that every Mars Volta fan should get a copy of. It feels like part of teh album and measures up with every other song on teh album. Beginning with some hammers/low bells/ambience, it soon explodes in typical TMV fashion to show one of the best hooks I've ever heard this band create. Then there is the middle segment which is comprised of spanish-esque guitar riffs below a mumbling Cedric, speaking about Frances' murder--creepy as ever. Then it explodes near the end exclaiming "This never happened" before repeating, with effects over top of it, the beginning theme of "Cygnus...VIsmund Cygnus" (Sarcophagi) before it stops. It was meant to be either the first or last track on the album. and serves well either place.

This is the perfect compilation for compeltionists that don't want to go buy all of those singles just for a re-worked live song. I'd highly recommend it to anyone that can find it, as it is rather rare.

Report this review (#63764)
Posted Sunday, January 8, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Cut That City- Cedric has some aquatic distortion on his voice. This song is very At the Drive In esqe. It rocks hard however carries that Mars Volta Psychedelic Feel

Concertina- This is the slow song, with nice vibes in the back making a sort of polyrhythmic feel, Nice transitions from loud to soft. Random spanish is always a plus. (its random to me cause I dont speak spanish)

Eunuch Provocateur- This song is an early taste of Francis the Mute, very quick and lots of powerful odd back guitar.

A Plague Upon Your Hissing- This song is truly a great one, I dont know why they took it out, it is in 10/8 and reminds me of take the veil cerpin taxt mixed with parts of cassandra gemini. Very nice vocal breaks and overall a very good song, rocks rather well too, which is always a plus to me.

Ambuletz- This song is a sort of creepy filler track, however behind it, there is music, I even wonder if it is similar to a new generation of "Skat" in prog. This song is pretty creepy, Theodore's drums sound very electronic, a rather psychedelic track, a good one to relax too. (also I would like to know what tracks it goes between on the UK version so I can put it there.)

The Bible And The Breathalyzer- This is just a creepy poem describing the priests raping of miranda and then the distortment and disposal of her body, Creepy, not too much music though except random stuff in the back.

Frances The Mute- This is my favorite Mars Volta song of all time, although the excessive hammers in the begining are somewhat of a detterance, when the music comes in, it is powerful, everyone is working hard, Cedric's voice is nothing short of perfect in this. After a powerful intro, everyone backs out and Cedric and Omar duet, most likely a lot of Santana influence, however he is still very original. Then the giddyness comes back King Crimson style (21st Century Schitzoid man (sp)) with everyone playing together very fast. Then at the end is the Intro to Francis the Mute.

This album is a great prog album as well as definantly nessacary for Mars Volta fans. Very Very good music, I expect nothing better from TMV.

Report this review (#70359)
Posted Thursday, February 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
The Pessimist
2 stars The Missing Chromosome is a compilation of all the rare EP and non-album tracks from The Mars Volta's lifespan up until Amputechture. As expected, none of their more popular songs are on this record, so don't assume you are going to be as thrilled as when you listened to De-loused for the first time. But, the fact of the matter is, some of their best material lies deep within this compilation EP, and most Volta fans will something here. First, I will mention the songs not worth listening to. These would be, in my opinion, Concertina (the weakest of the three Tremulant tracks), Ambuletz and The Bible and the Breathalyzer. Concertina and Ambuletz are simply a failed attempt at ambience, and are plain boring with nothing of any value to offer. The Bible... is just noise and probably a failed experiment by Omar, it pains my ears.

Then you have your average Volta tune Cut That City, which although taking a while to start, it has some awesome atonal riffs, and the opening riff in 19/8 is one of my favourites in their catalogue. Definitely worth a ganders.

As for the brilliant tracks, there are three of them. Frances to Mute is actually about 8 minutes in length (editting out all the funky pipe effects at the beginning and the faint recappitulation of the album at the end) but within that 8 minutes we have sheer beauty. The ending is very heavy and is a great headbanging moment for Volta, and the rest is just on par, even the beautiful middle acoustic jam session. Plague Upon Your Hissing is also one of their best, with a superb and energetic drum performance from Theodore. This deserved to be on De-loused, although it wouldn't have fitted in very well. Finally, Eunuch Provocateur is probably my favourite song of all their bonus works, and it is utterly amazing. The jazz influences show up with a radiance, and if you skip the ending, this one will probably grow on you. Indeed, this is well on par with their later catalogue, and they obviously spent a lot of time on this number. I recommend most Mars Volta fans to give this a good listen.

3 terrible, 3 great and one in the middle. I think it's fair to award A Missing Chromosome 2.5 stars, as it also contains some of their unrecognised greatness. Unfortunately, only fans will take something away from it.

Report this review (#159735)
Posted Friday, January 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars While A Missing Chromosome might be little more than a bootleg compilation of b-sides along with the entire Tremulant EP, this is still without a doubt one of the most interesting bonus track collections I've heard. Not only do the tracks sound interesting and varied, but they're able to paint such a profound representation of the band's journey up to this point. The EP tracks at the start show off the post-hardcorish beginnings of the band, before things delve further and further into surreal, experimental territory that showcases the band's ability to craft detailed, evocative soundscapes. Say what you will about Bible and the Breathalyzer, some might consider it an unsuccessful experiment, but it still feels very clear that the band had the ability to move far away from those more immediate, instantly catchy and frenetic tracks from their earlier days. A Plague Upon Your Hissing is especially interesting as well thanks to the fact that it feels like a first draft of one of their most harrowing and amazing songs, Day of the Baphomets, channelling this sense of manic, anxious energy but with a distinctly heavier edge here than on the final version of the track. Frances the Mute also manages to be just as great as most of the album by the same name, so to miss out on such a masterpiece is doing a disservice if you're anything of a Mars Volta fan. So once again, despite the fact that this is a bootleg compilation of songs, it's honestly really worth a listen if you're a fan of the earlier works of the band, extremely effective as a standalone and even more effective as yet another piece of history.

Best tracks: Frances the Mute, Concertina, A Plague Upon Your Hissing

Weakest tracks: Ambuletz

Report this review (#2596217)
Posted Thursday, September 23, 2021 | Review Permalink

THE MARS VOLTA A Missing Chromosome ratings only

chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of THE MARS VOLTA A Missing Chromosome

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.