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Omar Rodriguez-Lopez - Megaritual CD (album) cover


Omar Rodriguez-Lopez

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3 stars Nothing new here...but that's ok by me.

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez has certainly done his fair share of recording over the past few years, and Megaritual is yet another album put together during his time in Amsterdam. The entire album is instrumental with only he and his brother Marcel as the credited musicians, and from the get-go it sounds like just another mishmash of sounds and grooves he would maybe later incorporate into a Mars Volta song. However, I will say that he tends to be able to stuff more ideas and rythyms into a fairly forgettable side project than most bands can put in their entire catalogue.

The first 3 tracks are all one song (divided equally into segments of 3:22), and a very good song at that. The song titles even fit together: A Device Imagined To Turn/Screaming Babies Inside Out/At The Push Of A Button. Charming, eh? All-in-all a fun 10 mintue groove. Bells At The Slipstream is another good tune laced in Omar's frantic guitar work. Good Is Repaid With Evil is short and spacey with some nice piano, followed by Panta Section, which is all over the place and could easily be placed on Calibration or Absence. Hands Vs. Helix seems to be building to something bigger throughout, but closes like a knife to the eardrum. The last few seconds of this song could wake coma patients. Dispanec Triage is like a longer version of Good Is Repaid With Evil, only a little less cohesive. Finally, we have Dead Hisses To Match Our Own, which doesn't actually sound like an Omar song, at least at first. It leads in with some crunchy guitar reminiscent of 70's rock, but quickly turns into typical Rodriguez-Lopez. Dead Hisses sounds like a building block for Ouroboros, a Volta track from the Bedlam album.

This is yet another decent output from Mr. Rodriguez-Lopez, all of which sound alike, but also different...somehow. The first 4 tracks and the last track are the standouts, in my opinion.

Nothing brilliant here, but completely enjoyable!

Report this review (#207385)
Posted Monday, March 16, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Unlike some of his other solo albums/projects, Megaritual is a consistent, coherent album. If Omar Rodriguez Lopez has got some sort of issue with the electric guitar, it doesn't show here. (It didn't show at TMV's live shows at The Roundhouse in London in July 08 either). This is fundamentally a semi-freeform electric guitar freakout, but always with some sort of underlying melody or musicality. In this sense it differs from cut and paste efforts like Despair, and in my view is far superior as a result. Close in nature and quality to 'The Apocalypse Inside Of An Orange', this album does feel very much like The Mars Volta, but minus vocals of course. Not to detract from the phenomenal vocals of Cedric Bixler-Zavala (when's his first solo album coming out? Make it soon please), Megaritual really does highlight ORL's considerable and substantial musical talent. If you're a fan of TMV but not sure where to start with the mass of ORL solo releases, you'll find this a pretty essential starting point along with 'Apocalypse...', both progressive and listenable instrumental works but in subtly different ways from each other. Not quite five stars - I'd only award those to 'De-loused...', but here's hoping that Octahedron will be just as good.
Report this review (#211833)
Posted Monday, April 20, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Megaritual can be ruthless in its cacophony (more so at times than anything The Mars Volta has done), but also contains some very refined segments. Track markers seem to have been placed at haphazard intervals, so don't expect too many clean breaks. I can't say I thought anything was exceedingly good, but I can say that this is an album for those eager to hear the mastermind behind The Mars Volta team up with his brother Marcel Rodriguez-Lopez and tackle some Latin-infused heavy psychedelic music- no guarantees though.

"A Device Imagined to Turn" It wouldn't be an Omar Rodriguez-Lopez album if it didn't begin with extraterrestrial electronic noises and disharmonious guitar playing. The track is over halfway through before anything coherent happens, and even then is on the avant-garde psychedelic side of things.

"Screaming Babies Inside Out" This is a noisy continuation of the first track, swamped with fuzz and heavy phase-shifter effects. The last bit has a pleasing Latin groove immersed with electronic sounds that unfortunately doesn't stay long.

"At the Push of a Button" The Latin groove returns along with some thankfully tasteful guitar playing.

"Bells at the Slipstream" I like the light drumming here, and the multiple guitars weave an interesting, if loud, fabric, while the younger brother's electronic sounds bore holes through it.

"Good Is Repaid With Evil" This piece has some pleasant piano, and sounds a bit like Porcupine Tree infused with busy electronic factors.

"Panta Section" A heavy fusion piece with several lively guitars, a funky bass groove, and excellent percussion, this one intersperses jamming over an easy-to-follow rhythm with cacophonic and hard-to-digest passages.

"Hands Vs. Helix" This is about as ludicrous as it gets, with those warbling guitar tones over giddy noises and a Willy Wonka-like rhythm. Veruca Salt is not impressed, and neither am I, although this piece is admittedly fun.

"Dispanec Triage" That melancholic piano returns, this time accompanied by effects and a guitar sound that actually add to the feel rather than distract from it. Overall, the longest track is one of true post-rock and sheer beauty.

"Dead Hisses to Match Our Own" This has some of the best guitar work on the album, and ultimately salvages it for me- the arrangement is killer. While this album dawdled throughout most of its time, it finished in a stellar way. It would have been better if someone had not messed with the time-stretching effects, which almost ruin it.

Report this review (#246906)
Posted Wednesday, October 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
3 stars Megaritual is a pretty interesting album for the way it seems to embody both some of Omar's most subdued and erratic sensibilities in the one place, being this bizarre, spacey jam session grounded by groovy Latin rhythms and sections dedicated to his signature frenetic playing style. Despite this, there's not really too much that separates Megaritual as a particularly essential or unique ORL album due to the fact that its identity feels as if it hinges on elements of his previous works without trying to bring a new or even refined take on any of it, with even the way it blends the 2 extremes of his material feeling a bit slapdash. This isn't a bad album by any means, it's got some neat textural stuff going on with its tamer moments and tracks like Screaming Babies Inside Out really represent the way that even some of the less essential Omar albums have a few songs with some killer rhythmic elements to them. Overall the sort of album that feels only really worth listening to if you're already a big fan of Omar Rodriguez Lopez, it's good but really, there are just better albums of his that you could be listening to instead.

Best tracks: Screaming Babies Inside Out, Dead Hisses to Match Our Own

Report this review (#2691432)
Posted Friday, February 11, 2022 | Review Permalink

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