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The Mars Volta - De-Loused In The Comatorium CD (album) cover


The Mars Volta

Heavy Prog

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5 stars This is an excellent band, that came from the ashes of other two. Some may say this sounds may be annoying, but the craft in the album, along with the concept and artwork blow our minds into something spectral. A great exposure of 70's style with late 90's stuff, recovering the ideas from art rock and sometimes zehul. Songs like Cicatriz ESP and televators, make this a must... because putting a record like this in the realm of crap music and billboard of early 2000's is a hell of an effort
Report this review (#29583)
Posted Wednesday, April 14, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars I was very nervous, entering this much" talked about" cd....Mars Volta,the..... as this kind of music "normally" do not find kind words by me!! But...HEY..i was surprised.. and that in a big way....."Son et lumiere" starts this rather special album..with power and brilliance...i was actually knocked down by its sheer voluminous power!! Dear reader...i dare you to...tell me..ANY... band that sounds remarkably like this!!?? Im totally blown away... by its sheer exuberance and their expertly handling of music.. in a totally different way....from that of the ordinairy prog society!! Yes i know...big words big time...but hey...this is (Prog) music like you´ve NEVER heard before!!! The story in this extremely well told (musically and lyrically) is about a guy ..who´s in a coma...dreaming strange things....waking up....taking yourself a favour buy the damn thing......this is a story that you dont hear everyday!! That goes for the music too.......if you find a GEM...keep it!!! Im absolutely astounded by this album..........5 stars of course!!!! .. and while im at it...a fellow reviewer recently stated that there were far to many 5 star reviews in here...but hey...its a free forum..and as such...i think, that its still is up to every man (ear/eye) phrase/tell us ..what he/she thinks and by way of the rating us through their thoughts....some might give 5 stars others give 2... the 5 to zero system is quite adequate.....after all..we are only (prog) people!!

Report this review (#29585)
Posted Thursday, May 6, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars and as the turn of the millenium occured music continued to progress alongside time but no new studio album has been this memorable since the dawn of our new millenium.

nowadays progressive rock bands are described as "dinosaurs" yet prog rock is the most challenging, entertaining and musically perfected type of music there is, and the mars volta are one of the few bands that continue to prove that progressive rock is very much alive. this band also reminds us of how good those "dinosaurs" are.

Inspired by the works of yes and pink floyd (and they blagged pink floyd art designer storm thorgerson to make the album cover) the mars volta are formed from the ashes of at the drive in, who were renown for their intense live shows and really grasped the concept of the word NOISE! Cedric and Omar decided they were no longer fufilled by the music they produced in at the drive in and felt it was time to move on. deloused in the comatorium was the result of that decision. this milleniums true masterpiece.

Deloused in the comatorium is a concept album (also a dying breed) which easily competes with the wall, quadrophenia and scenes from a memory in terms of combining music and story. Based on the life and times of Julios Venegas. a friend of the band who tried to shoot up rat poison into his veins but ended up going into coma in which he saw strange psychadelic images. after awaking from the coma he then succeeds in suicide. its funny how it takes a horrific event to spark off ideas that can revolutionise music once again.

the album begins with quiet intro track "son et lumiere" which even though is only a minute and a half long, sets the scene for progressive rock by starting off quietly and having the silence being broken by mystifying synth effects which lead into menacing and unclear vocals from excellent singer Cedric, exploding into the heavy guitar riffs which leads us into a beautiful drum fill and "inertiatic ESP". the sheer volume of this track never ceases to amaze any listener. its not so much heavy like a death metal band but to step up from a quiet intro to multilayered guitar noises and cedic wailing "now i'm lost" is pure beauty.

"Roulette Dares" is the first full out prog piece and has more time to expand atmospherically. This song often weaves in and out of menacing guitar licks to slower vocal parts. The "exoskeletal junction at the railroad delayed" part is incredible. This track starts to fill more dreamlike and comatose as the story puts the listener into a type of coma fantasy. There are often spacey guitar effects used in some of the songs which reminds me of something pink floyd might tackle but especially in the style of "moonchild" by king crimson. The Mars Volta have incredibly put the effort into taking their inspirations and making something boldly unique out of them.

"Tira me a las aranas" (which roughly translates as throw me to the spiders) is a haunting and dark acoustic piece with the horn of the railroad in the distance. Extremely atmospheric. This piece links the journey from roulette dares to drunkship and it sort of reminds me of "horizons" by genesis or "mood for a day" by yes. A similar logic is used anyway. This piece is touching yet in a way miserable at the same time.

"Drunkship of Lanterns" and "Eriatarka" almost flow together as one song and are indeed my favourite parts of this album. Drunkship uses strong drumming technique and really shows off the sense of progression, experimenting and it really does make the listner feel a part of this psychadelic journey as you have been taken far away from that quiet intro of the album. Drunkship has excellent lyrics such as "counting the toll", "carpel jets hit the ground" and "lash of one thousand eyebrows clicking", whenever cedric wails these lines it feels so incredible and touching. Some of Omars guitar pieces here are incredible, whether they are subtle and use ghostly effects or straight out zeppelin-ish licks and solos. Ikey excells on the keyboards. There is also an allusion to the cicatriz centre piece here.

"Eriatarka" starts with more compassionate vocals with downer, informative lyrics. I love the way the song changes from the soft intro to the frantic "tentacles smirk please" part. This follows to another preulude of the cicatriz centrepiece with the different effects. I love the way it draws you back into the song too. One of my favourite moments on the whole album comes in at around 3:38 where omar, ikey and jon theodore kick in with the amazing bridging battle and then cedric wails "evaporated the fur/ because it covers them/ if you only knew the plans they had for us" this nearly leaves me in tears every time as i can never get over how good this album is. The song ends with lots of trippy effects to make way for the albums epic centrepiece...

"Cicatriz ESP" is the longest piece on the album and the two RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS excell themselves. Flea's brilliant basslines thunder through jon's incredible drumwork and cedric really grabs the listeners attention with clearer vocals. This then finds its way into the brilliant "I'm defected" which always wow's me. There is an incredible show of prog effects in the middle of this album with john frusciante creating trippy solos and effects for a long but listenable length of time.This shows off the drug based substance of the musicians. this is incredibly progressive. There is meant to be the effect of being underwater and it is done very well if you listen from around 6 minutes on. there are even some Floydish effects that remind me of echoes (also a water themed piece). This then leads back into an excellent reprisal of the I'm Defected part and that familar bassline is there too for one of the best progressive pieces on the album. This track also reflects to the "squidman" artwork that Storm Thorgerson created that represents a monster like creature ascending to heaven as a man from the murky depths of self disgust. This idea comes from the Greek representation of water and death. The ESP in the title could stand for exit sleeping process, representing the end of the coma fantasies as cerpin taxt awakes. (the ESP in intertiatic is enter sleeping process). This is only a theory. There are huge discussions about the story and lyrics and their different meanings and interpretations on

Its not over yet. "This Apparatus Must Be Unearthed" is one of the shorter tracks, (well 5 mins isn't short) that takes you from the relaxing watery effects of cicatriz to a keep in the teeth frantic guitar based track. Omar and Cedric continue to play together flawlessly almost like brothers. This is a strong piece and is bound to give you a headache. "Televators" is full of sorrow and depression. A slow acoustic piece with trippy effects to backround. Cedric's best vocals display is probably here, tho i love his voice in whatever he plays. The lyrics are about Cerpin Taxt (who is based on Julios Venegas) awaking from the coma and finally achieving suicide. This track continuosly builds up and shows a nice change to the album.

The album closer is an epic. It seems to have everything. Jon theodore is a star on this album as his drum fills, solos and beats are truely insane. One of the best parts of this song (and the album) is there is an amazing bass solo in the middle or towards the end. I've seen a live version and it was taken to even more epic proportions but for the studio version, go flea! This song has a similar concept to "Cicatriz ESP" in that it builds up to an instrumental centrepiece that is very progressive and lengthy and then has a reprisal of the main vocal and guitar structure. The outro is spectacular and i couldn't have asked for a better ending to an epic story as cerpin taxt takes the veil and questions who brought him to the afterlife.

musically this album continuosly switches between fast and fiddley guitar and keyboard pieces to slow, psychadelic sounds. The mars volta have used the sound effects to their advantage to create a "space rock" feel to the album and a sense of distance as it feels like each layer of sound is attacking your ears from different directions. The sheer intensity of this 60 minute trip plays on your mind. Ikey Owens frantic keyboard action is the closest thing to match up to the wizard, rick wakeman of yes. Cedric and Omar take the spotlight on this album with their intense guitar sounds and ghostlike vocals which are truely amazing. music may have changed. yet the mars volta have bought the sound of the 60's and 70's perfectly into the new millenium. deloused in the comatorium is just what modern music needed. Now i cant wait to see where the next studio album, "frances the mute" takes us.

If you ever get a chance to read the lyrics to this album you will be amazed and with the wide use of a thesaurus and will find words you never knew existed and a mixture of languages as you would expect from the titles. Musically orginal and challenging throughout, this album will be impossible to put down. a masterpiece, makes ugliness look beautiful, beauty obscured, contridication and irony. the mars volta.

Report this review (#29586)
Posted Friday, May 7, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars The Mars Volta's album didn't quite strike me as a prog-rock album, but the more I think about it and listen to the music the more I agree. The best bits of At The Drive-In were Omar & Cedric, and they certainly prove that with this superb display of musical intiricacy and creativity. For the most part, this is a bombastic, ear-splitting minefield of noises, crunching guitars and wailing vocals. But the quieter, melodic moments fit in beautifully, such as the last single 'Televators' which is an atmospheric acoustic gem, and many of the introductions of songs. Drawing on influences and pushing the boundaries forwards are what progressive music is surely all about - and The Mars Volta show everyone how it's done, without ever wanting to be called 'Prog-Rock'
Report this review (#29584)
Posted Wednesday, May 19, 2004 | Review Permalink
James Lee
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The music on this album almost singlehandedly revived my savor for progressive rock after spending the majority of the last two decades with frustration and disappointment...and makes my list of the best albums of the last ten years, in any genre. The lyrics are unabashedly verbose,but the concepts are basic and powerful; the instrumentation is (comparatively) sparse and often stark, but always full of energy and exploration. There is a haunting, ragged passion throughout that dares to be both violent and vulnerable.

Theodore's percussion skills drive each song, from wild feats of rock drumming to tempestuous latin rhythms. Cedric has a distinctive upper-register voice, youthful but not the least bit naive, and an uncanny knack for delivering memorable lyric hooks within the experimental framework. Omar covers a wide range of tones, favoring a slightly overdriven but hardly smooth sound that brings to mind some of Fripp's classic complex single-note patterns. Every so often he'll pour on the fuzz for a sustained lead tone (a Howe-meets-Santana combo which is especially striking during the latin section of 'Cicatrix'). One of my few criticisms concerns the not infrequent atmospheric passages, mostly effects and guitar noise- dynamically, they suit the structure well but are themselves not always terribly interesting. I'm guessing that the band is more than capable of some great atmospherics but struggled a bit in the studio to match the excitement of these same parts as performed live. One might counter that this strikes a refreshing contrast with many albums where every last note is carefully premeditated.

Rawness has never been a hallmark of the progressive genre (apart from some live mishaps and 'just messing around' filler tracks), but The Mars Volta proved that the punk influence and the progressive rock approach (for lack of a better word) could be idea that I'm sure would have sounded absurd during most of the 80s and 90s. This album is something special, a herald perhaps of a burgeoning reconciliation between the often backwards-looking and insular progressive rock genre and the brash and energetic sounds of more alternative, underground forces. I know it isn't for everyone in the Prog community, but condemning it to less than four stars seems miserly.

Report this review (#29587)
Posted Sunday, May 30, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars The Mars Volta can be summed up in one word: crazy. They are a crazy group. If you ever have a chance to see them in concert then you definitely should. They will play around 4 songs and get them to last for who knows how long. Deloused in the Comatorium was one of my picks for album of 2003. It's fast when it needs to be and it slow when it does. The closer 'Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt' is a big highlight on the album. It even has a bass solo, how often do you hear them anymore? This album is a must have but also one that takes a little getting use to, worth every bit you will pay for it. You might also want to check out the Tremulent Ep they put out in 2002.
Report this review (#29588)
Posted Sunday, May 30, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars if you want to truly experience this album fully, you need to listen to the whole thing from start to finish, WITH HEADPHONES. You hear things that you wouldn't normally hear with ordinary speakers. This album takes you on a musical journey that compares with listening to Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon". I highly recommend this album to anyone that is need for a little variety from the "normal" music out there, especially if you are a fan of the "harder" progressive rock .If you do get this album, don't forget to check out the website that offers the lyric booklet. the lyrics are all about a close friend's of the mars volta who had a failed suicide attempt, ended up in a coma for some time, then when he came back to reality he couldn't take it so he killed himself.
Report this review (#29589)
Posted Monday, July 26, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Simply put, De-loused in the Comatorium is the greatest progressive rock album released in recent memory. It is the reinvigoration of a genre, and I can't help but wonder what is possible if the quality stays consistent. DitC is a mish-mash of old and new influences covering the gamot of the musical world. Free-jazz, salsa, punk, and dub music all make appearances on this conceptual journey, but progressive rock is the solid basis on which this city was built. The music is energetic, fast, loud, and rockin'. Omar and Cedric of At the Drive-In sure dropped the emo but did not drop any of the energy or power that made ATDI famous. However, there are downsides. The album is a concept album, but the lyrics are quite cryptic and confusing. It can be fun to decipher, but an easy-going listener will probably avoid such attempts. Also, if you don't like long, instrumental jams and solos, you may be turned off by many of the tracks. However, there is no such thing as a perfect album, and this is the closest thing to a masterpiece I've seen since I first popped in The Wall and Thick as a Brick. Incredible album - a must hear.

If you want to give it a try, first listen to Televators. If you enjoy, go for Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt and Cicatriz ESP.

Report this review (#29590)
Posted Friday, July 30, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars A progressive masterpeice in every sense! With a fresh sound and unique writing style, The Mars Volta are storming onto the prog music scene and are shaking things up a bit. This is an album that is boiling over with energy and artistry. The emotion produced by the whaling vocal lines and scratchy guitar riffs is something that hasn't been quite so well explored since the likes of Zppelin. The percussion section is nothing short of brilliant, while the keyboards provide an eery element that supports the concept of the story beeing told through out the album. With such exquisite originality, The Mars Volta are an exciting new addition to the prog world. It'll be interesting to see whether their next release will meet the standards they've now set for themsevles by this ground breaking debut. 'De-loused in the Comatorium' is a stongly recomended purchase for any and all proggers as you'll will not find anything quite like this. This is evidence that the spirit of progressive music still burns with the young musicians of today.
Report this review (#29594)
Posted Wednesday, January 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I give this album 5 stars not only because of it's amazing guitar work, the out-of-their-minds rhythm section, or the very intricate lyric and vocal coordination. This is changing music. Young people who before this album listened listened to Britney Spears (just an example, people can like who they want) and now crave very progressive and experimental albums. My album collection before this album's release dictates exactly what this band consists of: Santana, King Crimson, Rush, Genesis, Led Zeppelin, and some punk. It's AGGRESSIVE PROGRESSIVE. It's not for everybody's taste. But amongst the younger generation (myself included), the "my Dad's old Selling England By the Pound vinyls" are getting their first spin in years. And it's great to see musicians now, even after "Songwriting for Dummies" was released, strive to make an album of entirely original, creative, explosive, progressive, experimental, avant-garde, emotional masterpieces.
Report this review (#29595)
Posted Friday, January 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This really is a good album, 4.5 stars. It certainly is unique in it's ability to fuse together prog rock, punk rock, latin and salsa influences, and a hint of jazz-rock fusion. It is about the life and times of a character (Cerpin Taxt) based on one of the bandmates' friends, who attempted suicide by overdosing and entered a coma. He struggles to decide whether to live or go through with the suicide. When he awoke, he decided to finish the suicide and jumped off a building. It takes a sort of prog cliche (used in Ayreon's "Human Equation" and "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway): the cliche of dying/entering a coma and going through an introspective journey and deciding to live, and twists it. Cerpin Taxt decides to die. Not humorous, I know, but even death can be ironic.

The first track serves as an intro, and an excellent one at that. Everything builds up as Taxt reviews why he wishes to die, and injects rat poison into his veins. The guitars slash into the flowing keyboards multiple times, then everything stops. A huge strike on the guitar, and "Inertiac ESP" begins. I don't know what Bryan Adair is talking about; this is one of the best songs on here. It is very dense, but not chaotic. And the "now I'm lost" vocal is simply wonderful. Taxt's journey has begun.

"(The Haunt of) Roulette Dares" is a fairly good track, but is not my favorite really. Following it is a short acoustic instrumental ("Tira a Me a las Aranas" -- translated as "throw me to the spiders") which leads into "Drunkship of Lanterns," a great and varied song. "Eriatarka" is another winner, a veritable roller coaster of sound.

"Cicatriz ESP" is a good song, beginning and ending in a beat-based rock fashion which sandwiches a keyboard psychadelic interlude. In the next track, "This Apparatus Must be Unearthed," Taxt wakes from his coma. The instrumentation is extremely chaotic, but by no means bad. Then the music cuts, and we are left with the sounds of birds chirping.

This leads to "Televators," a sad acoustic epilog which tells of Taxt's choice to commit suicide. But it's not over. We are flung into a band frenzy for "Take the Veil," a sort of odd ending. It functions about the same as "Cicatriz ESP," and seems to be about Taxt just after he dies, and he is in purgatory. Or something.

All in all, it really is an essential album to any new-school proggers. Old-schoolers should try it, but don't be disappointed if it doesn't work for you.

Report this review (#29596)
Posted Wednesday, February 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars well i have not much to talk about this albume, this albume is one of the most i mean the most great album i mean the music rock it is the best man wow i mean wow. the lead volcals Cedric Bixler Zavala is the [&*!#] his voice is so like Freddie Mercury from queen man even Omar Rodriguez Lopez is the [&*!#] in this album man his guitar playing is the best man i jsu have to say man this album and the band rocks
Report this review (#29597)
Posted Friday, February 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is a succesful combination of many different styles, which, in my opinion, include basic prog, some tasty psychedelia and a bit of punk, too. From the first notes of the intro, "Son et lumiere", to the album-ending "Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt", the listener is on a breath taking journey. "Inertiatic ESP" , "This Apparatus Must Be Unearthed" and "Roulette Dares (The Haunt Of)" are the best tracks, but to be honest, it's very hard to make a difference between them. Every song is just pure perfection. Singer Cedric Bixler-Bavala puts his heart in it, singing with such emotion it's amazing. Omar Rodrigues Lopez's guitar work is inspirational, and Red Hot Chili Peppers-stars Flea and John Frusciante also pop by to suply some more magic with their skillfull playing. Being the story of a close friend of the band, who committed suicide, the album is also very emotional, at times being enormously touching. R.I.P. Cerpin Taxt / Julio Venegas. I have to give this 5 stars, as it is a perfect album in the most profound meaning of the word 'perfect'.
Report this review (#29598)
Posted Saturday, March 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars TMV is presenting on their first full-length release a kind of concept album which is supposed to tell us the story about the suicide of a friend of the band after he's fallen into coma. From the first note on this record one can realize that this is not the kinda of Prog, we are used to from whatever sub-genre, this is something completely else, well maybe one could call it Post-Rock meets hard alternative rock with hints of 70's Prog.

Starting with electronic sounds in Radiohead style followed by thunderstorm-like guitars and drums in the short introduction "Son et Lumiere " the laser is arriving at "Inertiatic Esp" which sounds like a combination of modern alt. rock with traditional prog. In "Roulette Dares" one gets hints to Post-Punk band Muse not only due to the vocal style, but as well nice guitar lines without any distortion, really a rather good mix of different styles in some way though being initially not that "my cup of tea". " Tira Me a las Arañas" is a rather short piece with odd acoustic guitar and some electronic effects. "Drunkship Of Lanterns" and "Eriatarka" are both sounding very quirky and weird having great guitar play and drumming. "Cicatriz ESP" is the longest track on here with 12+ minutes and though starting in a basically grunge rock vein it has some nice and versatile instrumental section later on. But unfortunately as well an ambient electronic one in between that is a bit too much extended for my taste.In "This Apparatus Must Be Unearthed" there are some references for old school prog to find like the Fripp-ish guitar. "Televators" is almost a fully "acoustic" song with some bongo percussion. Last song "Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt" could be described again as a sort of sophisticated alt. rock showing great guitar work by Omar Rodriguez-Lopez.

As a SUMMARY I've to say that TMV's music sounds very fresh, modern and absolutely progressive in the real literal sense though I've to admit I did not like it that much in the beginning.

edited 7/20/2006

Report this review (#29599)
Posted Tuesday, March 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars If you could only send one record back in time to blow people's minds, this would be the one.The songs are a powerful mix of jazz, punk, and raw energy. Although not every song is at the same level, almost half the cd is a new kind of good you've been wanting to hear but unable to explain. The rest is still strong, and even the "worse" song wouldn't be half bad at all if it was the only one you hear. Their next album expanded on the psychadelic lapses in music between songs. This album cemented their take on what rock music could be.
Report this review (#29600)
Posted Saturday, March 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
el böthy
4 stars In a time were music is stuck in [&*!#], hip hop and pop are more powerful than ever (that's bad) and the so called "rock" bands like Linkin Park or Evanescence play the same bad song over and over again, The Mars Volta seems like fallen from the sky!!! Finally a good band to reach mainstream popularity... and what a great album too! Their music is a great mix of prog, psychotic sounds and free jazz. But if I had to say the type of music they play... I'd say [%*!#]ing loud music would be the right name... but good [%*!#]ing loud music!!! My favorite songs are "Son et lumiere-Intertiatic esp", Roulette dares (the haunt of)", "Drunkship of lanterns" and "Televators". This last one , unlike the rest of the album, is a beautiful and sad number played with acoustic guitars. the chorus at the edn and Cedric´s vocals give me the chills every time. By the time I'm writing this review I haven't bought "France the Mute" (their 2 album), but I'm sure it won't take long before I do. I say this because I'm told it's even better than "De-loused in the comatorium"...I surely hope so, but if not I'm still happy this band even exists!!!!!!!!!!!
Report this review (#29601)
Posted Tuesday, March 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Around about a year ago, I was watching MTV. I don't why but instead of their usual boy-bands and lust-inducing underaged girls, MTV was going a "rock show". I barely paid attention as one dull outfit after another came on ... The Strokes, The Stripes, The Strikes, The Strobes (I'm only half-joking here!) ... they all sounded the same to me. And then out of the blue, I heard it ... the awesome spine-chilling sound of The Mars Volta's Inertiatic ESP. It's a song I'm still in love with, and it fuelled my obssession with The Mars Volta. In fact, the little waltz section (towards the end of the song) alone is worth more to me than many a modern progressive rock album.

Throughout the course of this album you will hear evidence that The Mars Volta's main men Cedric and Omar have been listening to Yes (particularly Heart Of the Sunrise), King Crimson, Pink Floyd and even Santana. Yet what sets The Mars Volta apart from many other progressive rock acts of our time is that they have an original sound that manages to sound cutting edge to today's youngsters yet has enough invention to appeal to hardcore proggers. I'm not one of those who's going to go overboard though. Just like Marillion who I believe made some of the best prog of the 80s, The Mars Volta may be best of their time, but still don't compare to the greats of the 70s.

I'd say about 70% of this album is top notch. I love the laid-back tune Televators with that gorgeous harmony vocal part and delicate acoustic guitar playing. I like the chaotic, razor's edge feel of the conluding tune Take The Veil Cerpin Taxt, which also does a great job of "wandering" through a spaced-out jam segment before returning to the main song. I love the melancholy verses and the underused guitar riff (that preceeds the chorus ... and is actually drowned out by it) of Roulette Dares. I think the vocals and lyrics are awesome, but there are times when I get lost, and other times when I feel the band repeats the same brilliant trick too often (for example those rapid-fire drum rolls of Jon Theodore, or the fact that some choruses and guitar solos sound interchangeable.)

I had a tough time with the stars on this one ... if you compare it for example to the 3 stars that I gave most Camel albums, you might think I prefer listening to The Mars Volta whereas I actually enjoy De-Loused as much as Rain Dances, Breathless, etc ... but I've given De-Loused an extra star because of how fresh it sounds in relation to the competition. In some ways, this is an album that made me believe again! ... 71% on the MPV scale

Report this review (#29603)
Posted Monday, March 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I completely agree with mattias boettner. This album came to save us from the music degradation our world is suffering. I heard this album long before I started listening to prog, and it captivated me even then. I've listened to it some many times, and every time it makes me like it even more. Even thoguh Frances the Mute was not as good (my opinion, of course), I still hope Cedric and Omar come up with another that will be even better then De-loused.
Report this review (#29604)
Posted Sunday, April 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars This album has 4 solid songs on it. But unfortunately, the rest of the album is noisy and boring for me. They are a good band, and they could be great, but they dont really pull it off here, due to the excess of random noises and bleeps and blurs.....

The majority of the album sounds messy and it frustrates me. However, tracks 1, 2, 3, and 9, are fantastic songs, hinting at the potential of this interesting band.

I'll look forward to all of their future releases (i still haven't checked out Frances the Mute) and I'm sure eventually, they will drop a fantastic album. This album however, is not the one.

I recomend downloading tracks 1,2,3, and 9. if you really like them, you MIGHT like the rest of the album, but if not, you saved yourself cash.

Report this review (#29605)
Posted Tuesday, April 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The first time I listened to this album I felt that it was a totally different kind of music I had had been exposed with. But, I found it interesting. So I kept spinning the CD, especially if no one was around. Why? The distortion produced by the music man . It's not that bad for my ears but I was afraid some people don't get used to it. Yes, some people might say that the music is noisy. Let's respect the musician's style and just let our mind open with their music. And this is my view abut this album ..

It starts with an ambient style keyboard followed with voice in the opening track Son et Lumiere (1:35). It flows seamlessly into a hard driving track Inertiatic ESP (4:24) with pondering vocal and very energetic style. What interesting is the keyboards sound at the back that resembles electric piano played in chords that seem to run in different direction with the melody but it produces excellent harmony. I think this is the interesting part of this track. Distorted guitar sounds provide balance sound with weird but powerful vocal line. The interlude part with dazzling and solid bass lines augmented with guitar effects and guitar solo that feature vocal is truly stunning. These two tracks should be enjoyed in its entirety. At the end of the track there is a sort guitar work that reminds me to Robert Fripp's guitar style. Overall, these two tracks are excellent.

Roulette Dares (The Haunt of) (7:31) opens with sound loops accompanied by drum's high-hat sounds. The nuance of this opening reminds me to DREAM THEATER's "The Great Debate" track from "Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence" album. Drum betas bring the music in hard driving energy music followed with abrupt change into quiet passage with melodic vocal part. That's actually how this song is composed, it comprises with many surprises in terms of styles and tempos that make this song is truly progressive. The only problem - if you think so, because I don't have a problem at all - is probably the noisy distorted guitar sounds with weird vocal quality in high register notes. The electric guitar solo at the end of the track reminds me to MANFRED MANN'S EARTH BAND music. Stunning! I like how the band approach the composition of this song. BTW, this song has many catchy segments produced by vocal, guitar and even bass guitar.

Tira Me a las Arañas (1:29) is basically the band's exploration / experimentation of guitar fills and sound effects. It flows seamlessly to a latin rock kind of music that remarks the entrance of Drunkship of Lanterns (6:20) in an uplifting tempo with percussion plays dominant role as rhythm section. Electric guitar work provides excellent accentuation at the back with some solo. I admire the good vocal quality of its lead singer. His vocal may not favor wider audience because it's unusual, I think. This song has excellent interlude and Frippian guitar style in modern sound at the ending part of the track.

Eriatarka (7:06) is a mellow track with nice melody accentuated with a variety of sound effects at background. The music turns a little bit louder but still in the range where most people can bear it. It has a spacey transition piece followed with melodic singing part in the middle of the track. What follow is the change into more hard driving style and louder voice with more energetic vocals. The combination of bass lines and drum work is excellent. Overall, even though it sounds less complicated than previous tracks but this song has an excellent structure and variation in styles with some catchy segments.

Cicatriz ESP (12:29) Wow! What an excellent opening part with great drum beats and powerful vocals augmented with guitar solo at the background. The music flows with solid bass lines in uplifting mood. There is a spacey nuance break followed with higher register notes singing part. The guitar solo part is built around seventies style but with more distortion and effects. Hmm .. I like the part at approx min [4:10] when the music turns into bluesy style with STUNNING clean guitar melody plus some effects - but no distortion this time. It's truly a killing part here man! This wonderful part ends at approx min [06:00] when the keyboard effects fill the music in silent mode. Actually, this is an excellent part - but it's too long so that I get bored with this sound effects part. The ending part is another latin rock music with distorted guitar solo.

This Apparatus Must Be Unearthed (4:58) is a high energy track with fast tempo reminiscen of THE BEATLES. I like the quiet part with powerful bass lines and guitar fills featuring excellent vocal. This track combines distorted part and quiet part nicely.

Televators (6:19) is probably the most accessible track for most people as the song is built on acoustic based concept with nice electric guitar imposed on top of acoustic guitar work. The vocal combines low and high register notes nicely. It's the band's answer to rock ballad, I think.

Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt (8:42) concludes the album with an upbeat music with a singing style that is close to rap music but performed differently. I can sense the lead guitar solo that in some pieces are in the vein of Robert Fripp. In the middle of the track the music turns into a nice interlude where clean guitar work gives excellent solo with bass and percussion give the rhythm section. Another excellent track.

Overall, it's an excellent addition to any prog collection. There is only one caveat that may be useful for those who don't get used to heavy and abrupt music like this album: noise produced from distorted electric guitar. If you are OK with this, this album is definitely for you. Keep on proggin' .!!!

Yours progressively,


Report this review (#29606)
Posted Thursday, April 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Excellent high energy, intense rock with a touch of dark experimental extremism of the new bands, and the progressive sensibilities of the old. The instrumental attack gets very intense with drums, bass and heavily distorted guitars hitting hard in complex time signatures, while the soaring, sometimes piercing vocals deliver dark lyricism. Absolutely amazing vocal work, unlike anything I've ever heard before: the combined male and female vocal adds to the overall confusion and mayhem, and works wonderfully. Overall, the album has an identifiable style, and yet each song has enough variation to keep an old proghead like myself interested. Despite the noisiness, the album overall manages to be quite melodic. This is the ultimate evolution of "prog-metal" and "alternative rock" - a fusion of the two, really. Forget crappy Radiohead and Dream Theater. This is truly brilliant stuff.
Report this review (#29607)
Posted Tuesday, April 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars To be honest, this is just as much of an important statement as a great album. Music in general has suffered somewhat of a decline over the last 15 or so years, becoming more and more about commercialism and less about the purity of the artform. Don't get me wrong, I'm not anti-pop. In fact, in my opinion (and I hope I'm not run out of this site for saying this), the renaissance of pop rock has been one of the best things to happen in music lately. Bands like Franz Ferdinand and Death From Above 1979 might not perform 20-minute epic pieces, and they may only play 4/4 time (dear GOD!), but the passion and creativity is definitely there. However, genres such as commercial (aka "gansta") rap and pop punk have truly tainted my view on pop music. Bands with a true experimental and imaginative-based sound and attitude have definitely been missing. Bands that aren't afraid to push the enveloppe, that are more concerned about satisfying their own creative tastes rather than the wants of vicious pop culture music critics.

Then, BLAM, out of the blue, and out of the ashes of At The Drive-In, comes The Mars Volta, the brainchild of Omar and Cedric. Truly, these two have to be considered as two of the most exciting musicians out there right now. Like Neil Peart wrote over 25 years ago, "art as an expression, not a market campaign, will still capture our imagination." This sentiment is eerily echoed in The Mars Volta's first full-length album. This is a true concept album, something that has also been missing from rock lately, excluding the work of Dream Theater. What makes this album so special is how it psychadelically flows from song to song. The album is loud and very hardcore influenced, as seen in pieces like Inertiatic ESP and Roulette Dares. This may turn off some listeners, but I for one enjoy it. The album is very, very tight, and it's obvious the recording of this album was very meticulous. The vocals of Cedric are excellent, and his vocal range reminds me of a Jeff Buckley, although no one will ever top his voice. Omar puts in some solid guitar work, and the visit by John Frusciante and Flea of RHCP in Cicatriz ESP are definitely a highlight. Televators is a solid track as well, with more of a soft sound than the rest of the album. The lyrical rampage is similar to the extreme poetry of a Gord Downie (of The Tragically Hip for those unfamiliar with his work), and it gives the album that added mystical effect. What's amazing is that the album, while being so experimental and "out there", is still very concise and tight. A very fine balance is struck, and that's why this album is so good.

Really, this sound can't be described, it just HAS to be heard to appreciate. Have an open mind when listening, and appreciate the presence of creativity and artistic freedom throughout the album. You won't be disappointed.

Report this review (#29608)
Posted Tuesday, May 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars The reason this album is essential is because out of all the bands (I may be sounding general) from the past few years, we've had nothing like The Mars Volta, NOTHING. The way Mr. Bungle was groundbreaking and original in the '90's is like the way The Mars Volta are the saviors of highly original and great music and playing this decade. Cedric and Omar broke up At The Drive-In to start playing what they really wanted to play, what they really wanted to put through their instruments from years of listening to groundbreaking music, they looked back on ATDI and treated it has the past and forged on with The Mars Volta, and they are truly remarkable, even more-so than the extremely solid At The Drive-In.

The first full-length release by The Mars Volta is one of the landmarks of prog, and the only reason to dismisss it is because you are super-glued to your roots and won't check out the culmination of all of the greats packed into one, The Mars Volta.

Son Et Lumiere hits a psychedelic stream of mood like Pink Floyd or Tangerine Dream before fragmenting into Inertiatic ESP, a full blown high octane ride swirling with jazz and fresh keyboards. The entire band has a great sense of melody and song structure and Cedric can hit notes as beautifully as any.

Roulette Dares (The Haunt Of) has one of the most blistering and groovy intros there is. Omar's guitar tone is girtty and clear, and his chords are so nasty and brilliant that they borderline offensive. The guitar as you can tell is used a lot for texture and less for repetitive riffing, much like Robert Fripp (whom Omar is always compared to). Everything swirls together very nicely in this song and it touches a lot of ground, and don't forget to listen to Ikey's keyboards!

Tira Me a las Aranas is a textured guitar piece with electronics in the background. It doesn't hit any real type of mood, but the spiraling nature of it is very moody and mixed. It quickly segues into...

Drunkship of Lanterns proves that Cedric is a highly intelligent writer, not compromising to the listener as he wants to make them think and get that much more out of the song, you can hear his metaphoric structure of his writing, like Beefheart's or Eno's. A very percussive tune, it follows suit of the upbeat and groovy nature of the band. Jon Theodore really shines in here, playing very busy as well as the rest of the band. Omar's Frippy guitar breaks are very dissonant and excellent, while Flea's bass playing is ridiculously well-placed and perfect for every situation in the song. Drunkship of Lanterns swirls in and out of many sounds and touches the most ground on the whole album.

Eriatarka contains some of the most engaging melodies I've heard and the most intense moments as well. An excellent piece with great guitar work and awesome overall sound.

An odd thing about Cicatriz ESP is that it sounds like a really good At The Drive-In song but goes right into the essence of Mars Volta. Which means it's a killer song. The end of it gets really psychedelic and setting heavy and blares right into...

Televators was one of the singles off of the album, it's a very mellow piece with some very high points in it, beautiful melody and songwriting while still capturing the Volta flavor. Does the beginning of this one remind you of Animals by Pink Floyd? Hm...

Take The Veil Cerpin Taxt ends the album on an incredible note. It kind of says "oh if you forgot that we could play here you go". The bass, guitar and keyboard solos are taken in turns and it's phenomenal melodically and playing wise, and the chorus is one of the most engaging melodies I've ever heard by any band. An incredible closer.

Not many albums seriously dropped my jaw songwriting-wise, playing-wise, and melodic-wise as much as this one, I am extremely impressed of the knack these guys have for writing songs, it simply can't be touched.

All in all, it's sad that some of the old prog giants with all of their experience sometimes couldn't pull off anything as good as these new guys, and they'll be here for a while, and I know you'll hear of this landmark of an album and this band for years to come.

Report this review (#36935)
Posted Sunday, June 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars The Mars Volta is AMAZING. I was the only person at my middle school who knew about them. Which made it even better.

My favorite thing about this album is the way the songs flow into the next one without stopping. It is like a movie.

My favorite two tracks are Roulette Dares And Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt.

These two songs feature out of this world guitar solos. Wonderful lyrics. Sensational Bass solo (Cerpin Taxt)

And above all, I personally think the drummer is the musician who sticks out the most. If you like this band or are a drummer, listen to what Jon Theodore does. It will blow you away.

So will all the other musicians to, but i just think Jon is Out of this world.

Lastly if you can see these guys in Concert, Definatly go. I have seen them and it is a life changing concert.

Report this review (#37888)
Posted Tuesday, June 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars As I have been frequenting this site, I've been noticing the misinterpretation of five star ratings. As we all can tell, they are only to be used for masterpieces, which means quite sparingly. That being said, De-loused in the Comatorium is one of these few five-star masterpieces.

Being a fan of these guys since De-loused in the Comatorium came out, I was absolutely thrown down the stairs by this album. These guys are the ones who introduced me to prog rock, and I've been building my prog collection since. In fact, I think I have listened to this album, on average, at least twice a week since I've bought it.

Let's break it down nice and easy for you folks:

Son et Lumiere/Inertiatic ESP: 10/10

These tracks are really one song, and an excellent one at that. From the nice synth pads in the beginning to the introduction of the vocals, Son et Lumiere is a pure aural orgasm. And then it rockets you into outer space with Inertiatic ESP. The guitars come fast and heavy as the song switches to a beat of 6/8 after the nice 4/4 of Son et Lumiere. The furious guitar and almost contradictory keyboard melody line during the chorus is absolutely stunning. This is certainly a progressive rock song; you find yourself in a very funky 7/8 beat during the bridge and the song keeps on surprising you with almost ballad-like sensitivity during the end. Wow, what a track!

Roulette Dares (The Haunt Of): 10/10

Another amazing track. The syncopated percussion that offsets the guitar line in the beginning drives you into this insane 6/8 rock beat that is quite difficult on first listen. But the chorus, oh, the chorus! Stunning you with powerchords, something rarely heard in prog rock, Omar A. Rodriguez-Lopez gives a beautiful background for Cedric Bixler-Zavalas strong and passionate vocals. The guitar solo in this track is beautifully atonal and is offset by syncopated toms for percussion, rocking you into a bliss often associated with LSD. This track ends with a beautiful guitar solo/jam session that leaves you relaxed and unassuming until...

Tira me a las Aranas/Drunkship of Lanterns: 10/10

Out of the mist comes the strangest sound... a guitar, maybe, but played unlike any other. The fact that this instrument is played acoustic won't throw you... because the scales, good lord, the scales coming out of that thing are out of this world. And then the electronic guitar played over it lulls you back into a sense of melody until you board the Drunkship of Lanterns. This is more exciting than it sounds, because, in a flurry of noise, Rodriguez-Lopez throws us into a sick salsa beat accented by what seems to be a nice yell by Bixler-Zavala. This ain't any old salsa beat, though. This is a salsa beat, Mars Volta style. It's like taking mushrooms while at a rave except the music is better. I have no other word to describe it except for "ill", and I mean it in both literal sense and figurative sense. This track will instill you with the need to dance and if you choose not to, you will feel an odd sense of self-loathing. When everything on this track shines, from the bass to the drums to the guitar, you can't help but realize this masterpiece is what good music is.

Eriatarka: 10/10

And hey, this album just improves and improves. Eriatarka is probably the most melodic track on the album (excluding "Televators") with guitar melodies that soar and vocal lines to die for. The song itself catapults from points of soft, light sound to points of fast-paced and energetic melodic rock, not to mention the break-down in which the bass sounds surprisingly reggae-inspired. It's really not surprising, since a good chunk of the members used to belong to the dub-reggae band, De Facto. However, the vocal lines of this track are probably some of the catchiest throughout the entire album and they are what makes this track. I don't know how many times I've caught myself singing "Evaporated the fur/because it covers them/if you only knew/the plans they had for us". Goodness, it's running through my head right now and probably when you read this review. It's good, man, wicked good.

Cicatriz ESP: 15/10

And this, my friends, is the apex of the album; the highest point of musical genious from The Mars Volta. A spectacular twelve an a half minute track, it is like a journey of its own. Imagine the verse, marked by a beautiful, almost funky bassline, breaking into a chorus of hard rocking and passionate lyrical content ("I've defected" has never been sung so well). Then more verse. Then more chorus. AND THEN... AND THEN! We have the part of the song that is solely jamming. And not your run-of-the-mill uninspired jamming, but structured jams that take you across the world and back with their topsy-turvy hit-you-in-the-face twists of melody. This all continues for quite a while until it fades into a gorgeous ambient wash of synth and tremolo that pulls you from the depths of whatever trance you were in and slams you right back down again. And after that, a dual guitar solo by Rodriguez-Lopez and the Red Hot Chili Peppers' John Frusciante. It's not something to be missed. The final verse and chorus are remarkable for their vocal feeling. By the end of the track, you'll believe God himself has descended upon you and personally given you a massage.

This Apparatus Must be Unearthed: 9/10

My least favorite track on the album is "This Apparatus", and I still love it. How's that for good? What always threw me off were the annoying diminished chords in the chorus and the strange vocal effects that make it sound like two people singing a tritone away from each other (yuck). However, these are easily overlooked because this track is TIGHT. Rodriguez-Lopez pulls off some nice guitar work in this angry track, and the entire band manages to take on the feeling of anger that surrounds the guitar. In the end, we have some nice reverse-effect drumming that is like eating nails, in a good way. The pain is unbelievably real and effective in this track, and I love it just for that.

Televators: 10/10

A ballad. But not typical - in fact, it is quite atypical, with some acoustic (upright?) bass. The track starts off with birdy-noises that bring you into a forest setting, almost. The music fades in after this mood-setting ambience, which is very appropriate for the track, if you ask me. The vocal line is catchy and the guitar line is interesting and not your average ballad guitar line. What really makes this track is the bridge, though. With your lovely, proggy, multiple-voice line, the bridge echoes feelings you can't begin to describe. The singing is some of the most heart-felt on the entire album and melodic until the end.

Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt: 11/10

Another godly track, but this time, it is godly in its complexity. This is definitely the most proggy track on the album, starting out with a very interesting and quite illin' guitar riff that works with tritones and whole steps in ways you wouldn't believe. With a really nice opening melody line, you won't be able to stop listening to this track as it catapults you from verse to verse to chorus to... jam? What is this? A keyboard synth line, marked by strings and pads? Amazingly intelligent... but when it's over, you are thrown into something entirely new to music. Rodriguez-Lopez plays a sickening guitar line seemingly absent of time signature... which is misleading, for the drums come in directly after and seem to be in perfect time with the guitar. What ensues then is not music in your normal sense, but the most technically difficult and mathematical musical line in the history of rock. I read somewhere that it was in 9/8 with an extra sixteenth-note triplet every other measure, but somehow I still can't figure it out. It is indubitably a pleasure to listen to. And it ends with a very melodic bass solo, which I can never get out of my head. This catapults us into a very funky/jazzy straight-eigths jam session, with interesting guitar lines and a beautiful and haunting vocal melody. Which brings us back to the chorus, and an ending that I can't spoil outside of saying it brings the album to the most spectacular close of prog music.

The divine intended this album to be a masterpiece, and from a musical standpoint, the divine was right for once. The fact that it's a concept album makes it even better. In fact, the music is only half the album, but I can't really write about it due to time constraints. Just imagine musical perfection coupled with a concept that is trippy, spacey, and all-out insane.

I give this album a 10/10, undoubtedly. Yoda says: A masterpiece for every prog collection, this is!

Report this review (#38678)
Posted Wednesday, July 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars What to say that hasn't already been said well by the reviews below. The Mars Volta is the thinking man/womans prog band. The Mars Volta do not waste their words, the ones they use have definate meaning to those willing to sit down and LEARN from the music as well as listen to it. This band gives new meaning to the word "passion". Emotion leaks out of every whispered note and emotional scream. To those who call the music "noisy", how dare you. Turn up any music and you may at some point call it noisy. I think the more appropriate term to call it would be intricate. The Mars Volta seems more like a soundscape to me. Not only do they paint stories that unfold through each song, but the sounds and noises seem to almost "paint" the scenes that flash and weave through each song. This album is full of strange harmonies that some bands would not attempt to pull off, but in these songs the dischord makes the harmony. If you are looking for a band with a world more to offer than just a catchy tune (what I like to call junkfood for the ears) The Mars Volta would be the band for you.

I won't waste time writing what's already been said.

I'll just say now... The Mars Volta is both enlightening, and inspiring.


Report this review (#38832)
Posted Friday, July 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars so, what is this?, some kind of mix of many things, trying to be avant, or maybe experimental, but, in the end, is just a lot of sounds without true meaning, one thing is avant, and another is being meaningless, these are two differents words and, i'm sure, these guys didn't read the dictionary and got confused.

there're no new ideas, there's no new sound, just left a lot of nothing trying to be something, but failing in a miserable way

Report this review (#38852)
Posted Friday, July 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars I've been playing this album along with Frances the Mute, their latest release, constantly in my car over the past three weeks since I bought them, and I think only now after bombarding my ears with their wall of sound, melody, noise, call it what you will, do I begin to really get what these band are about. I've already reviewed "Frances" and here as well I'd give it 4 stars. Of the two albums, this one is perhaps a little easier to get into, while Frances the Mute has the more obvious prog reference points (e.g. a 32 minute epic with "Gemini" in the title..!)

Although the theme of this album - and its cover! - and some of the lyrics, like in Televators - are rather gruesome I find it an uplifting, inspiring experience; it's a long time I've heard a new artist that really does seem to be pushing musical boundaries. The album tells the tale of Cerpin Taxt, based on a real-life artist friend of the band who overdosed on morphine, finds himself at death's door but pulls back from it; as he lies on coma, he goes through a series of fantastic adventures before finally waking up, rejoining the real world, and finding he can't live in it - so throws himself onto a highway - presumably the "page of concrete" in the aforesaid Televators. Although this is a less than cheery premise, its a great album, and meets an important maxim for me - that truly progressive music should be radical and challenging. TMV's music is also quite hard edged, with shades of metal to it - but it's a long way from Dream Theater's rather cliched view of what "modern" prog should be. (Sorry if I'm DT bashing here, what I'm trying to say is that whereas DT are a fairly conventional band, there is nothing very conventional about TMV). Sure there are some reference points - there's a guitar break in track 10, "Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt" that's very similar to one of Fripp's breaks in (I think) Fracture from "Starless..." album, but TMV are very hard to categorise.

Lyrics aren't included with the album, but are available via a link on TMV's web-site, included in a .pdf file telling the story of Cerpin Taxt - apparently they charged for this initially, but now its a free download. However the story - and the lyrics - are a little obtuse to put it mildly, but at least it helps pinpoint roughly how the songs fit into the story of Cerpin's life.

My UK release has a so-called "bonus" track on it which frankly isn't up to the quality of the rest.

Report this review (#44207)
Posted Thursday, August 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars The Mars Volta's debut studio album is one of the best albums of 2003 (if not the best), and it is as inventive and forward-thinking as their work has always been and will always be. Although I don't think it measures up to their next effort, Frances the Mute, which I gave an unquestionable 5 stars, this is still extremely worthwhile.

Most "pure" prog fans are extremely wary of this sub-genre. I was, so I understand where you may be coming from. But after I got Frances and spun it a bunch of times, I began to like it a lot, and then it hit home big time and I realized it was a masterpiece. I challenge everyone reading this review (if you're on this site, then you must like prog) to go out and get some TMV. And don't discard it after a first listen like I've seen many people do. Nothing angers me more than that in the prog music world. This is prog. You need to give it a chance to grow, so you can see what direction it's going.

Son Et Lumiere/Inertiatic ESP - This is TMV. The opening sound effects and Cedric's voice lay the way for the album to follow, and the guitar and drums explode shortly before entering Inertiatic ESP. The very opening verse of "Now I'm lost" is fantastic, with the keyboard chords soaring up and down behind it. The rest of the song basically follows in the same wake.

Roulette Dares - The first "longer," even "prog-sized" track on the album. The opening blasts you out of your seat, even though I wasn't particularly into it the first few times I listened. It's a slight grower, but it's good at the end. The album is kinda like that as a whole anyway. Give it time, and you'll realize it's power.

Tira Me A Las Aranas/Drunkship of Lanterns - Tira Me... is a nice little guitar piece. Every band has one or two of these, it's almost customary now... (Yes/Clap and Mood for a Day, ELP/Lucky Man, The Sage, From the Beginning, Still you Turn me on, etc., King Crimson/Peace - A Theme, Genesis/Horizons, Spock's Beard/Chatauqua, you get it.) But it accomplishes its goal very nicely and leads into Drunkship. The song indeed kicks off right away, and Cedric's vocals throughout the song I like. They take on a different element here, in a way.

Eriatarka - I absolutely love this song. Everything about it is amazing for me. Omar's guitar never stops, and the frantic drums of Jon Theodore are perfect. Also, one particular thing I love about this song... The "chorus," I guess you could call it, is done three times. The first two times, the guitar and drums go in, basically, intervals of three. The last time, however, it's all even throughout, with all the instruments jamming smoothly, with Cedric still sailing above.

Cicatriz ESP - "Do you recall his name..." The distorted vocals begin this frantic song, the longest on the album. The two RHCPs do a great job here. Frusciante would continue on after this album to do guitar work on Frances, and most notably, the song L'Via L'Viaquez. Flea, I believe, did all the bass work on this entire album. He would, of course, continue on Frances on the trumpet.

This Apparatus Must Be Unearthed - This song has one of my favorite parts on the whole album, when Cedric semi-wails "I've been waiting for so long, for something to.." etc. etc. I absolutely can't get enough of this song because of that alone. The rest, of course, is great is well, but that must get mentioned.

Televators - Totally laidback song. Kinda why I like it a lot. (Check out the video for this song, by the way.) It's crazy when Cedric sings "You should have seen, the curse that flew right by you", especially when the drums kick in afterwards. Definitely the most mellow song, but still amazing.

Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt - One heck of an album closer. I think the high point of the song is Cedric's overdubbed vocals. I think he has one of the best voices around anyway, but when there's two of him singing two different things, it's that much better. If it's one thing this band can do, it is to close out an album. Frances ends absolutely magnificently with the end of Cassandra Geminni, and this is no exception.

I can't stress the following enough. It's in my prog reviewer bio, it's here in this review, etc.: Give this genre and this band a chance. Don't shrug them off, thinking "They aren't prog, blah blah blah". I know prog inside and out, the I know the The Mars Volta are a progressive band. You must hear them to believe them, and hopefully appreciate them from there. I think this is a fantastic album, worth a listen from one and all. 4/5.

EDIT: Yeah. After listening to nothing but Volta for about 2 months now (getting ready for Amputechture and all), I've come to the realization that this album is beyond perfect. From Inertiatic to Cerpin Taxt, this is one of the most well-done, awe-inspiring works to arise since the late sixties. Anyone looking to open their mind to music should just buy Volta albums, starting with this one.

Report this review (#44967)
Posted Wednesday, August 31, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars The MARS VOLTA are a refreshing breath of air in an industry that often fails to meet the music mark! The MARS VOLTA are a machination of members from other bands but the end result is truly unique and very original concept album. l call this progressive. "De-loused In The Comatorium" is 61 minute epic album which in the heart tells the strange story of a man who attempts suicide and ends up in a coma, travels through his own consciousness and, eventually, wakes up and rejects the physical world in favour of death. The MARS VOLTA is the genius of lead guitarist and song writer Omar Rodriguez-Lopez who managed to write 61 Mins of pure magic. Lead vocalist Cedric Bixler Zavala has a high powerful voice which fits the bombastic music quite well... high energy and poignant. Musically these guys get into some pretty crazy and complex moods and tempo shifts... moves from semi - erratic blistering sounds to slow mezmorizing interludes littered with sound effects and odd bits. As you can tell this album covers a lot of ground from KING CRIMSON'ish bursts and guitar work to abstract PORCUPINE TREE'ish space to the modern ulcerous themes of RADIOHEAD. No question this is one of the loudest recordings in my collection but I have acquired The MARS VOLTA taste now so no turning back. This is pretty much an essential album and will appeal to all music lovers who don't mind a few less spoonfuls of sugar in their coffee.
Report this review (#45851)
Posted Tuesday, September 6, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I think this is a perfect masterpiece. Should be in every record-collection! Theres nothing at the CD they should have done in a different way. I know Im supposed to be critical here, but Ive been listening to this album for about 2 years now, trying to find mistakes, faults or annoying things, but still, I cant do anything but loving it. This is something new. Its not like dream theater, and its not prog. This music should not be played by cover-bands. The fact that that the musicians in the band is extremely skilled, is just a plus. And I must add: "Skilled" does not mean "plays really fast". Allready, this album is concidered an all-time-classic. And it totally deserves it.
Report this review (#46087)
Posted Friday, September 9, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars The firs thing I have to say here is that The Mars Volta are the most surprising discovery I've encountered in recent times, and I have to admit that probably five or seven years ago I would have completely dismissed them, because, and everyone has to agree, the are not an 'easy' band to listen.

However, and considering that my views have changed considerably since then, I have to say that I have really enjoyed this album (I'm planning to get Frances The Mute at the moment). The sound displayed by this band is brutally personal and unique.

The two main elements around which revolve the richness and particular personality of their sound are Zavala's vocals (I seriously doubt that there are many vocalists out there that would be able to sing in the way he does) and the instrumental vortex they manage to create, specially with Omar Rodriguez's guitar work. This album contains several pieces that are between my recent favourites, like "Eriatarka", "Televators", "This Apparatus Must Be Unearth" and a magnificent epic, "Cicatriz".

Then, probably The Mars Volta is not the most appropiate choice as an introduction to prog, since they are too special. But if you are already into it, this album is something worthy to check.

Report this review (#57321)
Posted Monday, November 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars A masterpiece....why do we need any words to describe a masterpiece. The dissonant guitars, the great saxophone, great bass, the powerful and jazzy keyboards, the voice of Zavala as something great and unique to offer, all the power of a Robert plant, without the clone part, and the amalgame of all of them makes it the best band of 2000s (at least to me). The mars volta is and will be a fantastic band of future , with the influences of PF, led zep or even, any of the great Zeuhl Band. If you like power rock with proggish experimental effects, put Deloused in your discman and go for a walk, or a run or for roler blades, and you will understand why songs like cicatriz, take the veil cerpin taxt or eriatarka of The mars Volta could change lifes.
Report this review (#57341)
Posted Monday, November 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars You know it is a good cd when you can just sit back and listen to the whole cd and not have to change songs. De-loused in the comatorium is one of the... if not... the greatest albums of all time. Just the melody and harmonics and how the song was composed is simply brilliant. I mean what do you expect. At the Drive-in is one of the greatest bands out there so there for The Mars Volta is that much better.
Report this review (#57939)
Posted Friday, November 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars It took me a few listens to get into, but now I can start to appreciate it a little more.

First, some background; The first time I ever heard At The Drive-In's 'Relationship of Command' I was hooked. Then they split up; Sparta took the pop-punk-hardcore side, and TMV took the psychedelic-jazz-blues side. Both bands have their ups and downs...

But enough of that, let's cut to the chase.

The album opens off in a traditional ATDI style; a mellow riff overset with psychedelic sounds. 1 minute 30 seconds later it takes off, Cosmonaut style. Explosion after explosion as the guitars and bass pound the main riff. It's like wave after wave of energy, that same thunderous sound that was ATDI's specialty. It's definitely refreshing to hear that Omar and Cedric could keep true to their old band's style without ripping it off entirely.

The songs with the most value are Inertiatic ESP, Drunkship of Lanterns, Eriatarka, Televators, and Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt; surprisingly, most of the album can be considered 'good'. The other songs are fine, except for their lack of creativity. If you've heard their EP 'Tremulant' you'll immediately see that a lot of the music is re-hashed for De-Loused. I really did expect more from such a hyped band.

This album is where TMV takes a stand and shows off who they are; part Hawkwind, part ATDI, and a dash of Pink Floyd here and there, all over Latin-American beats. Not that TMV is anywhere near Pink Floyd in its talents or artistic expression...

The thing that strikes me again and again listening to this album is the ATMOSPHERES it makes. I haven't had a band paint images like this in my head since I first heard Hawkwind's Warrior on the Edge of Time. Sparta touched on it with 'Collapse', but TMV does it better, and in a much deeper way.

What irks me is that TMV purposely tried to be obscure in their lyrics. If you don't know that the album is about the suicide of Julio Venegas, there is NO way you will ever figure it out on your own. I can understand, yeah, if you ODd your thoughts would be pretty messed up, but... TMV really over-did it. When ATDI did it, it was cool. Now it's been played out. They could have tried to be less artsy.

All in all, TMV is trying to portray itself as a godly, unearthly band of extremely deep artists. To me it translates to one thing; TMV is trying too hard. They take themselves too seriously, and anybody who has seen them in concert will know what I am talking about.

Bottom line: De-Loused is TMV's only good recording so far. Let's hope they can one-up themselves and make something to make up for their atrocity known as 'Frances the Mute'.

Report this review (#58564)
Posted Tuesday, November 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars THE MARS VOLTA is quite an amazing band, and they show off their talent for creating unconventional masterpieces well with their debut album, DE-LOUSED IN THE COMATORIUM. This album is a nice blend of musically brilliant compositions and also high quality climaxes in songs. Each more or less plays like a very very dark musical nightmare.

SON ET LUMIERE/INTERTIATIC ESP: This first track begins in a soft, almost hazy interlude of repeated "sirens" spiraling on the keyboard and Cedric lightly singing through a vocal distorter before all of the sudden a huge clash of guitars breaks through in abrupt fashion and this repeats until we end up at the wonderful moment that is Cedric yelling the memorable chorus: "Now I'm Lost". It's a wonderful moment and the first of many to come. I really love this song because it builds very well and continues to layer up until the 7/4 section near the end. Then it breaks down into a segue that leads into the next track. SONG SCORE: 10/10

ROULETTE DARES (THE HAUNT OF): This song begins with another spiraled keyboard effect until once again it apexes around a theme that recurs during the verse until it mellows out for another wonderful chorus: "Exoskeletal junction at the railroad delayed". However little sense it might seem to make to those uneducated on teh story of DE-LOUSED, it is still delivered with a nice clarity that makes the line extremely memorable. SONG SCORE: 9/10

TIRA ME LAS ARAÑAS/DRUNKSHIP OF LANTERS: The former is occupied of an odd, latino sounding guitar riff accompanied by odd backround effects until all of the sudden, the wall of dissonance DRUNKSHIP explodes in you face. I love this song for many reasons, it's insanely percussive, has amazing vocals throughout, it's frentic in pace and very well structered around dissonant chords that seem to work in an odd way--in other words, it's strange to the ears in a pleasing way. The song never gives up the frentic pace and eventually breaks down into a double-time tempo until it fades away into effects that lead it into ERIATARKA... SONG SCORE: 10/10

ERIATARKA: The way this song begins tends to remind me of the early CONCERTINA, in that it begins with some huge chords and then breaks down into a slow 6/8 verse before changing to 4/4 for the heavy and memorable chorus ("Dress the tapeworm as pets!"). The song continues to move in this structure until the bridge ("Lash of one thousand eyebrows clicking, counting the toll") occurs, keeping with the moderate 4/4 tempo that the chorus was structured by. This song also cascalades down into a fury of low effects that lead us to the centerpiece of teh album... SONG SCORE: 10/10

CICATRIZ ESP: This song begins with a heavily distorted cry of "Do you recall its name?" before we are carried through the wave of sound with a driving and difficult drum repitition that drives us to the amazing chorus: "I've defected". Wow, that line gives me chills everytime...Then the breakdown section occurs which is mostly odd guitar noises until all of the sudden it's brought into the forray and we're brought back to the verse and chorus which lead us to the end of the 12:30 track. SONG SCORE: 9/10

THIS APPARATUS MUST BE UNEARTHED: This is THE wall of dissonance on the album. Even the vocal notes are given an effect to make them seem dissonant. I rather like this song, but out of all of the songs on the album, this is the one that had to grow on me the most. It has odd singing in the chorus by Cedric that at first I didn't enjoy, but now I love. This song is another nice, upbeat (even though the tempo is slow) track on teh album. SONG SCORE: 10/10

TELEVATORS: This is the euqivalent to the "rock balled" of the album in my opinion. While this song is nothign special musically, it is certainly moving which makes it musical in its own rights. It starts off mellow and ends mellow, the only percussion being a few cymbals and bongos that join later in the song. This song describes teh death by suicide of teh main character. SONG SCORE: 9/10

TAKE THE VEIL CERPIN TAXT: The last song on teh album contains a huge climax near the end, a nice chorus ("You take the veil!") and and a bass solo by Flea. It is another small epic of sorts that it moves in different clauses and unfolds at the end with the wonderful climax that ends the US version of the album. I really enjoy listening to this song and it's tough to describe in mere words. Seek out this album and listen to it all of the way through...but wait! There's more... SONG SCORE: 10/10

AMBULETZ: This song is, in my opinion, a vital part of the album, describing the afterlife of the character Cerpin Taxt. It starts out with a chilling intro that leads into an even more chilling song. Thi song will give you the absolute creeps, and I think it fits the somber mood of the album greatl.y It would do you well to seek out the UK version of this album so that this is included in the end. It sums up the frantic album nicely in my opinion. SONG SCORE: 9/10

FINAL THOUGHTS AND THE STORY OF DE-LOUSED: The story of DE-LOUSED follws a character by the name of Cerpin Taxt. This character is, at the bottom of things a misunderstood artist. He attempts suicide by shooting rat poison up his veins and enters a comatose state where he is put on trial by a cult he's invented in his mind. The titles INTERTIATIC ESP and CICATRIZ ESP correalate with his entering sleep and exiting sleep (thus ESP could mean: enter sleep paralysis, exit sleep paralysis or something to that effect). Cerpin was to be leader of the cult/association but he failed at taking his life, the ultimate sacrifice. So they put him through trials that become the fodder of the songs following INTERIATIC ESP up until THIS APPARATUS MUST BE UNEARTHED. When he finally wakes up from the coma, instead of changing and becoming a saved-soul, he decides to carry through with the suicide. TELEVATORS describes his death, TAKE THE VEIL, his last thoughts, and AMBULETZ, his failure in the afterlife. It is a very sad story in some aspects, and a very nice concept (get the official DE-LOUSED STORYBOOK at in "Shrouded in Veils -> De-loused in the Comatorium).

Overall every song on this album is amazing in its own aspects and it is very deserving of the honor it's been recieving. I reccomend you go buy it with this warning: Caeat Emptor...this is the second hardest album to like ever in my opinion, the first being the next album FRANCES THE MUTE, give it time and let it grow and then you will appreciate the awesome art that THE MARS VOLTA creates.

Report this review (#59278)
Posted Monday, December 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Welcome one... Welcome all... Welcome to what must be one of the busiest albums to have ever been recorded in the entire rock genre!!!

First of all, although it is 'divided' into ten tracks, it joins onto each other seamlessly. Closing your eyes it honestly appears to be a 'single act' play with its parts seperating itself by circumstance rather than the end of songs. Because of this, I personally feel that the songs have been disected individually quite enough by other reviewers. This is an Album (and a conceptual one too) and I feel should be described as a whole.

Unfortunately, i only 'considered' it to be a concept due to its musicallity, the lyrics are just a little bit vague to me... Not that it is entirely a bad thing. Sonically, Cedrics vocal tones (mostly) fits in with the manicness of what is surrounding him. Not knowing the lyrics really dosent detract from the listening, except if you really had to remind yourself of the 'legend' of the album with each listen (no, im not going to repeat it.).

This is a very percussive driven album, where bass and drums shine. Not with the 'driving force' that pushes it along, but more of the 'pinball machine' approach where the band appear to experiment with polyrhythms, almost randomly, and using them to represent the mood. The melodic instruments follow obeisantly, and just as manically. The sounds of the album also make a good touch, there seems to be an intuitive approach on where a sound needs to fill out an emotive 'pause'. Congrats guys, not many bands achieve that as well as you did here.

Unfortunately (and i am nit-picking here) there are times where Cedrics voice does go a little bit too harsh, and the higher notes do seem to stab thru the eardrums like the preverbial compass (for gods sake, tone it down... please). However, this being said, I would have to say that this is the only real fault of the album.

A word of warning: Give yourself time to get used to this music. Several listens will only begin to give you a bit of an idea of what this album is about. Also, do not use this to calm any one in a state of panic or anxiety...or (really) to use this as background music... this is NOT an all-purpose listening album, and it WILL grab your attention. However, with all the layers of musicallity that this album offers, this offers excellent education into the wonderful world of (dare i say) 'modern prog', taking what you desire, whilst also savouring the whole experience.

Well done, guys.

Report this review (#60874)
Posted Tuesday, December 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is truly masterpiece of music. This is because it makes musical scene of new millennium really refreshed. Music in this album sounds interesting and innovative. There is great guitar playing (plesant sound of guitar and complex and unique technic), energical and originative vocals, very good drumming, fine sound effects and also experiments with some noise and interesting background story. Bass also sounds quite inspirative.Cover on album looks interesting and mystical. While listening the album , I got feeling of high influence of latin folk music which fits good on "prog" basis of the Mars Volta music. At the moments when album becomes little too noisy, it contnues with relaxing parts, so it never gets boring.
Report this review (#61593)
Posted Sunday, December 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars The Mars Volta may have turned some heads with their debut EP, Tremulant, but with their first full length effort, De-Loused in the Comatorium, they will be sure to grab everyone's attention. This album, written in honor of a lost friend, delivers some of the most innovative music ever produced, and is single handedly reviving the spirits of many who were feeling hopeless about new music. Fusing all kinds of styles with bizarre lyrics played/sung with unmatched fervor and perfection, The Mars Volta can not be overlooked.

The album opens with a mysterious, spacey bit. A subtle keyboard line fades in over swelling notes from guitarist Omar. Enter the new and improved Cedric. Singing a few lines with a light effect on his voice, you have no ideas what's about to strike. All of a sudden, the band explodes. A series of explosions follow, which are all varied slightly from the previous ones, to complete the intro track that is "Son et Lumiere," though it and the next track are one entity. "Inertiatic ESP" follows suite without hesitation. Cedric has never been better. His vocals are some of the best I've ever heard: tremendous range, strength and intensity. The rhythm section is relentless. Jon Theodore has overwhelming ability, and an inhuman endurance on the drums; I don't know how he does it. I sit here already mesmerized at what I have just heard, and I have only heard one song!

"Roulette Dares (The Haunt Of)" traverses through manic verses, melodic choruses and mellow, jazzy improvisations. There is even an instrumental section in free- time. This isn't just a simple, ambient segment, it is a full on jam. We'll find the band doing similar things throughout the album.

After the short acoustic riffing and haunting effects in "Tira Me a las Arañas," The Mars Volta breaks out into the frenzied "Drunkship of Lanterns." This song is characterized by a distinct Latin feel, with a fantastic breakdown, that is used a couple of times, and at the end is mixed up with a different beat, which opens the floor to the outlandish guitar work of Omar.

"Eriatarka" features a fluctuating verse and chorus, and everything else about The Mars Volta that makes them great: stunning melodies, eccentric rhythms, etc. In short, a great song.

"Cicatriz ESP," at 12:28, is the longest track on the album. The simple, yet powerful instrumental work provides the background for Cedric's extraordinary vocals during the verse, and burst out during the chorus. The simple, yet powerful chorus line of "I've Defected" is brilliant, and who better to drive that line than Cedric. Several jams are apparent in this song, which are aided by John Frusciante. The first flows directly from the chorus, and after mellowing down, goes into a few minutes of ambience and noise. Percussion starts to build up and next thing you know, you're in the middle of a Santana-esque segment. A final verse and chorus (this time with some layered vocals) end this fantastic song.

"This Apparatus Must Be Unearthed" is the album's shortest song, but it holds well with the rest of them.

"Televators" is the album's ballad, if you can call it that, and a beautiful ballad it is.

The album ends with "Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt." This song is all over the place, condensing a lot of the styles heard earlier into one final blast. The album ends leaving the listener in total awe of what they have just heard.

In short, this album is perfect, in every possible way. I find it difficult to conjure up my feelings about this album in words. It is just incredible beyond expression. They delivered on the potential they displayed with their debut EP, and then some. It is, without question, one of the greatest albums in all of time.

Report this review (#61892)
Posted Tuesday, December 27, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Better than Pink Floyd! Omar A Rodriguez-Lopez (Guitar, and additional Instruments) is as talented and musically able as Robert Fripp of King Crimson. He Produced and mixed all 3 of The Mars Voltas Albums and also composed the synthesizer parts. Cedric Bixler Zalvala (vocals) can reach notes higher than Geddy Lee Of Rush and even Jon Anderson of Yes. Jon Theodore (Drums) has the Power of Bill Bruford and the ingenuity of Neil Peart whilst maintaining his own unique Style. Isiah "Keys" Owens (Keyboards) abilty rivals that of Rick Wakeman and Keith Emerson. The majority or the Bass on this album was played by Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peoppers who we know is one of the best Bassists around today (The rest by Omar himself) and their were additional guitar parts contributed by the genius of John Frusciante . The rest of the band plus the new permanent bassist appear on Frances The Mute and Scab Dates (Live Album), each one with their own unique abilty. Anyone deciding whether to buy this or another band's album should definitly go with The Mars Volta as you will never doubt your decision. If you ever get the chance to see The Mars Volta live do not turn it down as it is mind blowing.
Report this review (#62787)
Posted Monday, January 2, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars A pretty interesting album, that stands far from the mediocrity that leads the U.S. rock scene; but hat is also far from the best that prog can give. The mars guys prove to be excelent instrumentalists, but they lack of solid compositions and melodies. It reminds me the pink floyd's ummagumma, that seems in fact, to be the leading influence in some of the tracks. But in spite of some weak points, the best tracks here (inertiatic ESP, televators, take the veil cerpintaxt, cicatriz), are grat songs. Anyway, they made it better on frances the mute.
Report this review (#64846)
Posted Sunday, January 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Yesterday, I picked up my daughter from school and had this CD in the changer. I said to my 7 year-old, 'Daddy's going to play a song. It's weird, but I like it alot.' My daughter said, 'Okay'. So I proceeded to play "Drunkship Of Lanterns". My daughter didn't say a word, until we reached home when she said, "Dad, thats crazy music!" I laughed. Later, we met my wife at a local TGIF's for dinner. On the way there I played, "Eratarka". This time she told me, "That was a good song, Daddy." I smiled. On the way home after dinner I went to turn the CD on when my daughter said, "Put on the second song." If my 7 year-old daughter who likes Kelly Clarkson and all the other pop singers can sit and enjoy The Mars Volta, I can't see how anyone who visits this site and enjoys music that is not commercial in any way wouldn't come away thinking after listening to this CD that it's a bonefide modern masterpiece....well....there's always Madonna....;-P
Report this review (#70399)
Posted Friday, February 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Yes, very good. Nice to see a quality prog album in this day and age of punk and alternative rock. It does compare to the bands of the 70s. Hints of Pink Floyd and King Crimson are evident: 'The roulette dares' is a great example where you will notice a Fripp riff and other moments of complete electronic chaos and experimenting will remind of both bands.

The best single aspect of this band is their style. The Latin beat is amazing; it makes the music fast and energetic but yet they are very versatile, being able to be quiet and slow.

The best song of the album is 'Eriatarka'; the lyrics in all of the songs, espically this one, are very amazing and psychaedelic. It will click with most prog lovers.


Report this review (#71130)
Posted Saturday, March 4, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Mars Volta's masterpiece so far. I never get bored of listening to this album, but I do get bored of some parts of the album. I have to say that nowadays it doesn't keep me on the edge of my seat as it used to, and I actually find some of the more interesting parts boring, so that's why I only give it four stars. Not because it's bad, it's great, but it looses replay value very quickly once you understand what the hell the musicians are trying to do and how they are transferring those feelings that they want expressed to the listener. If you want to start a Mars Volta collection start here...and stick to it for a'll get the music eventually...even though some people think Mars Volta has no melody they need to stick to it a bit more, their melodies are done with dissonant chords and notes so it all sounds off until your mind puts it together, and somehow lowers the speed of the song to hear each little note.
Report this review (#77043)
Posted Wednesday, May 3, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars My first tast of The Mars Volta was watching the video to the song Televaters. Now I have to say that I wasnt into prog at the time and this didnt seem like my thing so I (mistakenly) didnt pay it any atention, just thinking they were another of these rubish pop bands, or whatever. But, before the release of their second album Francis the Mute, I heard that they were being called a prog group (though vehmenently denied by the band) that makes full use of jazzr rhythms and spacy passages in their music. I just had to get an ear in on these guys. And boy, am I glad that I did.

On first listen it is quite obviouse that in the prog world they have an extremely unique sound, though I have never heard Cedric and Omar's preceeding band At The Drive-In so I dont know how much of the sound came from there. What you get is a huge contrast; bombastic playing that asaults the senses and challenges you to pay attention, to slow atmospheric electronic "noises" that let you catch your breath and drift away before they build up again. Personally I feel that they got the right mix between ambient and all out rock that helps to define this album. The only exception is that they may have had just a bit to much ambient in the song Cicatrez Esp as it starts to drag on for me. Thankfully, just when I'm beginning to wish that theyd pick up again they do.

As a band well known for their on stage improvisations, they certanly give the feeling that, to an extent, they are makeing it up as they go along and hopeing that it all works out. However the rhythem section of Jon Theodore and Flea (of the Red Hot Chili Peppers) is so tight and grounded there's no room left for uneccessary self indulgence. Speaking of the rythem section Jon Theodore proves to be one of the most impressive drummers I have ever heard, and his playing gives bassist Flea the freedome to back up the guitars perfectly.

Lyricly is were this album tends to fall down for some people, its extremely dense. For those that dont know this is a concept album but the concept is so impossible to follow from the lyrics that you have to download a 12 page essay from the net that goes through the story! Personally I tend to ignore the story of this album because even with the essay's help its very difficult to understand and instead I try to concentrate on Cedrics voice, which can prove to be an aquired taste but I like it.

I have the UK special edition release that includes the bonus track Ambuletz. This song does nothing for me as it seems to be mainly ambient with a repetative beat. Its far too long and makes for a huge anti-climax after the story has finished on the impressive Take the Vale Cerpin Taxt.

There are few flaws to this album and in Roulette Dares (the Haunt Of...), Eriatarka, Cicatriz ESP, Televators and Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt, The Mars Volta have created four songs that are sure to become modern classics. In fatc, it would be fair to say that the whole album can be considered a modern classic, 5 stars.

Report this review (#78333)
Posted Tuesday, May 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Art Lives.

What an amazing debut, even though technically it's not a debut. This album put The Mars Volta on the map and gave them mainstream media rage. The best category for what's found here is progressive punk. The punk carries over from some of the members previous band, At the Drive in. This isn't an ATDI clone, but a totally different band with many thrilling and entertaining ideas on song structure and where sounds should and should not go.

Certainly not a conventional album, De-loused offers a little bit of something for most everybody. Packed with explosive energy at some points, and offering a broad range of emotions and feelings, this concept album gives us something very original and unique. This is the band at their most creative and inspirational stage, and leaving all of it at the studio.

Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt is still, after consideration, one of my favorite modern songs that's just as powerful as any song ever crafted; it's just sheer genius. A wonderful closer to an already excellent record. This album also shares many inklings to King Crimson in style, artistic content, and class.

My favorite TMV album, and an extremely strong and worthy album. If you didn't like other TMV efforts, try this, their most energetic and powerful release. Putting prog back on the mainstream map in a new way.

Report this review (#82135)
Posted Tuesday, June 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Probably my favouritest release from the year 2003 and from the band as well. I remember watching the "Televators" video and noticing The MARS VOLTA's name the next day on the Archives! The album's opening makes me insane; I'm dancing to their music like a wild shaman; even when I listen to this CD with my headphones on, I'm moving to the music I listen to..."Eriatarka", "Cicatriz ESP", "Drunkship of Lanterns", "Inertiatic ESP" and the haunting "Televators" are the highlights of this incredible CD.This is a huge Musical Step forward, and THE MARS VOLTA are really the pioneers of Modern Prog (or how to call this mixture of genres?)

Highly recommended to everyone: try this one before the others, and you won't regret!

Report this review (#83306)
Posted Monday, July 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Oh man of all the progressive bands I love this is the craziest band i've ever heard. The Mars Volta have definitely turned my head god knows how many times from there amazing musicianship. I will say though to get to like these man you got to have an open mind BIG TIME. cause they aren't just a prog rock band. They combine elements of prog, some punk, some psychedelic stuff, and even some samba how insane is that. Well i will say i was very VERY skeptical of getting there first two albums and well finally after hearing the samples over and over again i just surrender and got this one first. I will say other than a few weird crazy moments and outrageous sound effects De-loused in the Comatorium is not a bad album. It has alot of great jams that get your blood going. There were some times in the music were it got pretty punky for me and at times the sound effects did throw me for a loop but it got used to it them both and let me tell ya first listen i was like DANG i mean i wanted to hear more just to get the feeling of the music. There are some great songs on here like Inertiatic ESP, Drunkship of Lanterns, Eriatarka, and Cicatriz ESP are definitely my favorite songs on here. But songs like Roulette Dares (The Haunt of) and Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt didn't really hit me off first spin took some time to let them fully grow on me now i love the songs there jammin man. The players here are very good Cedric however i dunno doesn't really make me think he's a great singer BUT however though he does have some nice moments here in and there in some of the songs. he also has some pretty cool vocal harmonies which surprised me. Omar dang he is a crazy guitar player a style i never thought i would hear again. It at times reminded me of Robert Fripp and Adam Jones in some of his solos since... chee i don't even the words to describe all i know is he is pretty good. Jon Theodore GOOD LORD how fast can this guy play i was totally impressed by how much back bone he brings in the rhythm section definitely a great drummer who is really making a name for himself. What's even awesome about this album is YA GOT FLEA on bass which is awesome i love flea is a grand bass player but so is Juan as his style is kinda similar than that of fleas. And of course the rest of the band who made well the sound and style of MV. so if you wanna try something new in prog definitely check this band out they will blow your mind. But i warn you ya need an open mind to get into these guys or else you'll get mad that you wasted ya money.
Report this review (#84356)
Posted Thursday, July 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
5 stars This album was not my first experience with TMV - on the strength of some very positive reviews, some months before I'd bought "Frances the Mute", which I liked a lot on first listening, though later on I came to see its shortcomings somewhat more clearly. However, "Deloused in the Comatorium", the Hispano-American band's debut full-length album, is quite a different story. This is truly a groundbreaking record that sets new standards for contemporary prog.

Hate them or love them, it is hard to deny that The Mars Volta (brilliant name for a prog band, anyway) are progressive in the true sense of the word. Born from the ashes of emo band At The Drive-in, they are not afraid to take elements from such disparate genres as prog, punk, metal, jazz and Latin music and blend them together, stamping their individual seal over the end result in the process. Their display of dazzling musicianship, left-field lyrical concepts, stunning cover art and no-holds-barred songwriting are the hallmarks of a first-rate outfit that's ready to take prog - that stereotypically earnest, stuck-in-a-time-warp musical genre - right into the 21st century.

Most of the tracks on this album are over the 5-minute mark, with "Cicatriz Esp" clocking in at over 12 minutes - another statement of intent on the part of the band, who are unashamed fans of such historic Seventies prog acts as Rush and King Crimson. However, even if their original punk roots rear their heads every now and then, it is never in a really obtrusive way. If anything, these punk roots add a measure of spice to the exotic mixture that is TMV's sound. The musicianship is first-rate throughout, with a special mention for inventive, powerful drummer Jon Theodore, whose rythmic sparring partner is on this occasion a very special guest, RHCP's Flea (one of the best four-stringers on the market, even if you don't like his mother band). The crisp, clear production values further enhance Theodore's intricate, occasionally explosive drumming, as it is quite evident right from the very beginning, in killer opener "Inertiatic ESP" (preceded by the deceptive quiet of "Son and Lumière).

In my personal opinion, though, the real strength of TMV lies in the supercharged vocals of Cedric Bixler-Zavala, whose banshee wail interspersed with more reflective, almost lyrical moments exemplifies what a really expressive singing style is all about. A richer, fuller version of Geddy Lee, he stamps his mark all over the album, perfectly complemented by his partner in crime (and former At the Drive In fellow member) Oscar Rodriguez Lopez's wildly atmospheric guitar playing. Unlike they did in follow-up "Frances the Mute", here the band keep the use of weird, electronic noises to a minimum, with epic "Cicatriz ESP" 's middle section being a prime example of how such noises can be used sparingly to their maximum effect.

With such a strong album, it would be difficult for me to pick any standout tracks, apart from those I have already mentioned. Haunting ballad "Televators" is a much better effort in this sense than "The Widow" on FtM; while "Eriatarka", "This Apparatus Must Be Unearthed" and album closer "Take the Veil, Cerpin Taxt" brim with energy and freshness, Cedric's brilliant vocals soaring above the band's unleashed instrumental fury.

I pondered for a long time, and listened to the album twice before writing this review - but, in the end, I could not help but decide to give this album the highest rating, as others have done before me. Weird it may be, but nothing short of wonderful as well - this is prog for the 21st century, a must-listen for all serious proggers. A wild ride perhaps, but one to enjoy to the fullest.

Report this review (#85227)
Posted Monday, July 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Very well done!

I love the way this CD turned out. I just bought it today with the hopes that every song would live up to "Inertiatic ESP." They pretty much all did. I only wish that the Middle sections of some of the songs would have more going on. That is my only complaint with the album. There is some really complex stuff that I think is great.

I can't wait to hear more of their stuff!

Report this review (#85619)
Posted Thursday, August 3, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I am a man of few words, and I cannot even talk about this magnificient album for too long. For starters, every song on this cd is flawless and flows together. I had a burnt copy of this cd with delays in between songs, and that was enough to get me to buy the cd. I am not sure if TMV will ever top this amazing album. Unlike Frances the Mute, there is no unneccessary noice added to the end of tracks. Every aspect is clean and cut, and the vocals are a personal favorite. My favorite album since the turn of the millenium.
Report this review (#89577)
Posted Wednesday, September 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars 4.5 stars. It's been three years since they released this record and the buzz still hasn't subsided. THE MARS VOLTA really struck a cord with many music lovers, combining elements of Punk to Progressive music. To many people though all they struck was a nerve. I think they deserve all the accolades that are directed their way though, as they introduced something different, that is truly progressive and modern. And I think they are a gateway for a lot of people getting into Prog music. The hardest thing for me to get into is the vocals. They can be annoying, like when he holds the note and twists it and turns it and takes it out to dinner. And the guitar can be rather unmelodic but Omar does that on purpose and I like it, he's also a huge Fripp fan. He once said he likes to play the guitar in a way that hurts the ears. It's all about dissonance. We get mellotron on three tracks and Flea from THE RED HOT CHILLI PEPPERS plays all the bass parts.

"Son Et Lumiere" is a short intro track where sounds build, lots of atmosphere here. Vocals come in before it ends. It kicks in late and blends into "Inertiatic Esp". Check out the guitar in this one ! I like the sound after 2 minutes as the drums pound and the guitar becomes inventive. Vocals aren't as harsh either. Fripp-like guitar late. "Roulette Dares (The Haunt Of)" kicks in quickly and stays uptempo and frenzied for the most part although those sections are contrasted with calm passages at times. Angular guitar after 2 1/2 minutes and the drums are relentless. Check out the mellotron, bass and guitar when it settles right down 5 1/2 minutes in. Nice. "Tira Me A Las Aranas" is a short haunting and experimental piece. I like it. "Drunkship Of Lanterns" kicks in right away with drums as vocals and guitar join in. A very intense tune. An all out blitz 5 minutes in with angular guitar.

"Eriatarka" opens with machine gun-like drums before settling down into a psychedelic vibe. The tempo continues to change. A freaky ending. "Cicatriz Esp" is the longest track at 12 1/2 minutes. How amazing does the guitar sound after 2 minutes. A psychedelic calm 6 minutes in that lasts over 3 minutes then the song kicks back in with some great sounding guitar. "This Apparatus Must Be Unearthed" sounds pretty strange to open before the vocals come in. I like when it calms down. Contrasts continue. "Televators" takes a while to get going but that's okay because i love how this sounds. A very cool track. "Take The Veil Cerpin Taxt" is my favourite, it kicks in quickly but check out the majestic mellotron 3 minutes in when it settles. Gulp.Then these Fripp-like guitar melodies come in followed by drums. Amazing sound 5 minutes in. So melodic and beautiful. It kicks in after 7 minutes.

In many ways this is brilliant. So inventive and progressive. So many ideas went into this. I applaud them.

Report this review (#89912)
Posted Sunday, September 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
4 stars Well although I had heard fairly soon of this band's debut (like almost everyone I heard mainstream rock medium speaking about prog in a different tone for the first time in decades), I had to wait for the second album's release to get a shot at listening to this album. Soafter being repulsed by their second album, I decided to give a shot to their first one, hoping it would hold more clues to dig the band. Well not really! The least we can say is that TMV does bring something a bit different to the usual prog mainstream, but it is not easy to pinpoint exactly what they bring. One can't say that their sound is brand new: they borrow quite a bit from many previous groups, but surely manage their own sound and even a bit of originality, something rather difficult in an era where everything's been done 1000 times before (or almost), but this is done at the expense of a sort on continuity, their music being extremely eclectic.

What TMV does in this first album is mix influences from Yes, Crimson, Rush with more modern groups like Porcupine Tree's impenetrability, Spock's Beard's extreme wide spectrum and excellent execution of the music and a touch of Radiohead's paranoiac emotive mental states fuelled by Yorke's frustration ulcers while keeping a 90's funk- punk energy that is obviously induced by the RHCP. Yes, this makes TMV's music rather abstract and the fact that this is yet another concept album on mental derivations, deviations and the accompanying stages of anguish, anxiety, depression, alienation and finally completely recess from reality leading to suicide (well coma before a second more successful attempt) is not fundamentally convincing. Yet there are many good if not excellent traits to this album and this debut is possibly one of those rare albums that should be held as truly inventive and influential in its decade. Another rather discouraging hint is the Rick Rubin (I am NOT a fan) production slapped on the back of the album, but all these "ifs, buts, how and since" do not manage to hide the intrinsic qualities of this debut.

While there are some tracks that are relatively hard to digest because of their voluntarily noisy and energetic quagmire: Inertiatic ESP and Apparatus (hate the vocal effect) being the two loudest tracks on the album and for no apparent good reasons except to show that the band can reach such levels of intensity, but fortunately those tracks are among the shortest (the separate intros excepted) on the album. But there are some much more convincing tracks like the concept's centrepiece Cicatriz - where the "hero" comes out of the coma - (and its psyched-out lengthy guitar passage), Roulette Dares (and its wild middle instrumental sections), Drunkship Of Lanterns (difficult start, but smooths out nicely), Eriatarka, the calmer Televators and the sometimes brilliant finale Cerpin Taxt.

Among the features of the group is the bass/drum combo, which can sound like Bruford/Levin but also like RHCP's wild rhythm section. Omar's guitar work is maybe less prominent than on TMV's follow-up but remains very noticeable, while the unsung hero is definitely Isaiah Owens, very subtle yet defining much of their sound and often underlining the ultra-powerful passages with delicate layers of synths. The fact that the album's story is really closely related to a member of the group not only push the group beyond their reasonable limits and boosts the loudness a bit excessively, but in their case, they come out of it successfully. By the time you reach the album, there will be a sense of saturation and tiredness, because some of theit typical twists come back a little too regularly.

Although this album requires all the respect from every proghead, it will probably be always a controversial album, because of its flaws and "baroque" leanings on almost every sphere of music. While there are some albums that pride themselves of not letting you win them too easily, on the other hand there are countless modern prog albums who hide their lack of depth with obscure unexplained concepts and difficult music and impenetrable presentation. But I am rather sure that this is not the case with TMV. I think that at least everyone should spin this album once or twice a day for a week before eventually rejecting it (Cedric's voice is an acquired taste), because it does take a few listens to surrender its secrets, but unlike many of its actual competition, it does so fairly quickly. Maybe because it has enough depth to allow it

Report this review (#92501)
Posted Friday, September 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars I'm writing this review right now for the sole purpose of presenting a viewpoint on this record that is not expressed here, nor is often expressed at all.

Most criticisms of this record claim that it's too sloppy, noisy and aimless and that had they injected a little more melody into the record then it would have been a masterpiece. it took me a long time to understand this viewpoint - my criticism with the record is actually that it's just simply TOO poppy, TOO catchy, TOO commercial for my liking. i would have loved it if they would have moved a little more towards the sloopy side, a little more towards the progressive angle.....which is actually what they did on the next album, which is the one that won over my overly elitist and highly skeptical ass.

I understand now that the attack on the record is not that it doesn't contain enough melodic hooks but that the melodic hooks aren't very effective. that the attempts toward melodic structure are ineffective is a much different argument than that the record lacks melodic structure. given that what people mean to say is not being said and that the result is that people are reading reviews of the record and coming off with an incorrect understanding of what the reviewer meant to say, the subtle difference should be highlighted.

The record is full of melody - there are huge influences from britpop, punk, alternative and electro-pop that at times totally overpower any progressive tendencies. we're much closer to "radiohead with more musical talent" with this band then we are to miles davis or king crimson. those of you from canada will immeditately understand the comparison to I MOTHER EARTH that i often perpetuate; those that aren't from canada can think of a modernized, funked-up, alterna-rocked, slightly poppier, de-synthed rush.

There was a succesful hit single released from this record. they routinely open for and work with the red hot chili peppers. we are by no means speaking of an uncommercial or unsuccesful act here.

The album opens with a minute and a half long introduction with a melody that is very reminscent of oasis' "wonderwall". now, whether you feel that wonderwall has a strong melody or not is up to you; it's not hard to agree that the song is melodic. i would be on the side that is not particularly fond of oasis nor the association that is conjured up when i first turn the record on.

The second track introduces us to 'the classic mars volta sound' - funked up, punked out, salsa drenched alternative rock. this track was clearly written around the vocal melody which is pushed so far into the front of the mix that you better have a good set of speakers if you want to hear anything other than the screeching sound of what initially registers as something along the lines of the bastard offspring of thom yorke and robert plant. the track is fairly enjoyable at first and mildly interesting over time; to claim there's much of anything going on BESIDES the vocal melody requires a very strong imagination....

The next track, roulette dares (the haunt of), is the first of several more progressive pieces. it's the first significant track on the record. nonetheless, what's the centrepiece of the track? a huge, catchy chorus that lasts about 30 seconds and is repeated numerous times. in between this huge, catchy chorus that lasts about 30 seconds and is repeated numerous times there are either 'classic mars volta sound' verses or very nice i mother earth-y jazzy interludes that may remind one of santana, srv, hendrix, zeppelin and the like. although the track length is 7:30, the actual song ends rather abruptly at about 5:30 before it segues into one of those nice jazzy interludes that fades itself out....

What bugs people about the track is the last two minutes and the 'pointless' jazzy interludes. what bugs me is the pointless catchy chorus that seems injected only to get people's heads nodding and doesn't really add a lot to the track besides reminding you of the grunge movement.

The next track is a minute long introduction to the track after that, which is 'classic mars volta' and again sounds like something ripped directly from an old i mother earth record as arranged by tool circa 1996. about four minutes in, we collapse into a 30 second cover of inerstellar overdrive before the salsa-ed up tool meets genesis groove kicks back in at full force.

Is this track - drunkship of laterns - an enjoyable listen and a well written progressive rock song? absolutely, yes. is it a brilliantly original composition unlike anything ever heard? absolutely not. nonetheless, it's the best track on the record because it doesn't suffer from an overly catchy head nodding chorus. they definately could have improved on the track, however, by extending the last few minutes out significantly further; we're talking some kind of acid trip involving trent reznor, syd barret and paul mccartney here...very interesting, creative and 'noisy and amelodic'.

We then jump into eriatarka, another track that contains little more than a vocal melody pasted over 'the classic mars volta sound', interspersed with some very nice (albeit too short!) floydy guitar interludes. the melody in this track is so strong that it could have been a number one hit if they cut down the length and removed the instrumental interludes; the instrumental interludes are so strong that this could have been a brilliant piece of symphonic prog had they extended the track to 12 minutes instead of 6. is the record beginning to make more sense yet? it's not developed enough to be a brilliant piece of progressive art, although i understand the tendency of people to crown it as such given the current deficit of interesting and forward looking music available today. yet, it's just too creative and abstract to be effective chart topping pop music. this track again ends with a splattering of very nice electronic effects work that i wish they would have extended further outwards....

We now arrive at the centrepiece of the record, the twelve and a half minute cicatriz esp. i get my wish here - they extended the track rather significantly. once again, we have a massive, hugely catchy post-cobain chorus (the catchiest on the record) that takes more away from the track then it gives, and we also have several minute and a half long verses that further cement 'the classic mars volta sound' as such, but that consist of little more than a two note bassline, some standard effects work and a very eager blixler pushed to the very front of the mix....

This is the kind of track that's a lot of fun to watch somebody do live but isn't so much fun to sit at home and listen to......until about the 3 and a half minute mark, anyways. we are at this point treated to about 7.5 minutes of purely instrumental jammage, which is butchered only by the editing incompetence of rick rubin, that slimy dude. nonetheless, if i could get an hour of underwater guitar effects in place of an hour of screaming'd be sweet....

When the bassline kicks in, we're brought back into reality - which is that the instrumental parts of this track are mindblowing (especially the homage to i mother earth that again occurs in this track, about when the drums and bass kick back in) but that the verses, choruses and vocals are pretty substandard post-hardcore. if i had my wish here, they'd drop the song around the instrumental altogether and only produce the instrumental. on the next record we got something even better - they wrote more creative song structures to house the reality escaping jamming.

The next track starts off very promising before the blixler dominated melody soaked chorus hits about 35 seconds in, and makes you gnarling your teeth and start throwing things at the guy. actually, it's not his fault, really, it's the mix mostly - it's all vocals, all melody. the verses have some nice jazzy guitar parts and the track ends with the insanity that was hoped for at the beginning of the track, but, overall, this song (which is called 'this apparatus must be unearthed') is a total abortion.

We then come to the hit single, which is.....a hit single. it's all melody, all vocals, lots of production. something like comfortably numb meets the goo goo dolls. there's another one of these things on the next record and a few on the third record. the singer proves here that he can fake a swan song for a dime - but can't they all? there's no reason to get irked with an obvious attempt at quick, easy income; this is the economic reality of the music industry in this age. SKIP.

The bulk of the last track, again, is 80% catchy post-cobain verse-chorus-verse and 20% interstellar overdrive....maybe a dash of strawberry fields. i again would rather they expanded on the 20% and cut down on the 80%. most would have rather they expanded on the 80% and cut down on the 20%. nonetheless, there is again a very enjoyable instrumental interlude that stands up WAY better than the otherwise bland house that the very nice jam lives in. again, blixler is mixed so high in the track that he makes you want to tell him to shut up.

Overall: if you like alternative rock, post-punk, grunge or 'nu-metal' then i'd highly recommend this record because it's a great introduction into more expansive types of music from a viewpoint that you can relate to. however, if you're a progressive rock fan - old and true - then i'd skip over this altogether until you've digested their second record and their first ep. if you go for this record first, you'll probably end up disillusioned with how commercial and poppy it is.

Report this review (#96038)
Posted Saturday, October 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is a pretty damn good album, considering its placement in time far from the golden days of prog. Once upon a time I caught 'De-Loused In The Comatorium' in the background, and heard something really quite interesting... heavy guitar riffing and wailing rock vocals that usually would not grab my attention at all, but somehow in this continuous barrage of noise there was something unique and compelling. A memory of something quite disturbing, of great energy, stayed with me until I decided to pick up the album for myself and explore further.

It wasn't too long until De-Loused was getting a daily airing. I found the album to be a fairly strong musical journey, unlike anything I'd heard before. Musically, the guitar playing especially is inspiring, incredibly fluid and constantly varying in style and texture, and the heavy metal riffing sound I originally identified turned out to be only one colour used well within the overall painting. There are many soft moments here, too, that blend naturally with the aggressive without any stink of contrivance. Lyrically I was also very intrigued by the half-adventure story, half-abstract wordplay, which works well as an instrument in itself along with the music. Quickly I began to find more subtle qualities to Bixler-Zavala's vocals, and to appreciate both the clarity of his tone - consistent regardless of how much he darts maniacally around his range - and the clever effects used to grant more ear-bending variations on the delivery of his lines. There is thus a genderless, alien aspect to his singing on this album, combined with an unusual sense of melody that rarely relies just on phrasing along with the rest of the rhythm section. The bass, drums and keyboards also play crucial parts in each track, and display similar energy in their own ways.

The result of an hour riding this vicious onslaught is serious mental exhaustion. In its own right - that is, without the accompanying storybook available on the net - there is next to no narrative cohesion here, and instead De-Loused invites the listener to a restless banquet of skewed, abstract impressions and emotions, all piled upon one another and demanding submission to the febrile, demented viewpoint. The effect is the feeling of looking into the mouth of madness, being dragged mercilessly down the rabbithole, and thus to some extent The Mars Volta have succeeded in a rare depiction of an extended human dream/nightmare state.

Report this review (#101349)
Posted Friday, December 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars In Mars Volta first album, progressive rock alarged its horizons. They fused brightly the unthinkable concerning progressive rock: punk. Well, actually, not punk in its essence form, but its stereotypes towards music - don't get me wrong, this in no way resembles a trivial hard-core or mainstream punk disc. Adding that, some jazzy textures and latin taste, blended with psychadelia and Cedric Bixler-Zavala afro-caribbean-reggae style of singing, the result is somewhat revolutionary.

The music is full of transitions, the energetic combination of modern distorted guitar interplaying is almost always present, along with vocalist emotional singing (though not all may like it). Mellower feeled parts, where even space for sullen guitar solos, are also present, mixed with explosions of energetic emotion, as in "Roulette Dares". Latin influences, specially rythmically are present in "Tira Me a Las Aranas" and "Drunkship of Lanterns". In this last, some psychadelic elements are also found, creating distorted ambiences. Once more, psychadelia is found in "Eriatarka" making remember Pink Floyd's Ummagumma."The Apparatus Must be Unearthed" shows perhaps the catchiest melody, in the vein of the first tracks. In fact, the band does not seem to be trouble in creating catchy melodies or instrumental passages as well. "Cicatriz ESP" is the one which resembles more to progressive rock classics, due mainly to its length and a little more conservative approach of their style, allied with some remmant clasic keyboards. The result seems a great voyage to the core of past in the meandres of a revolurionaty style. The mellow "Televators" leads to the album conclusion with "Take the Veil Carpin Taxt", another energetic well achieved song, one of the best, mixing a bit of all, in a heavy-riff oriented manner.

The creative aspect of the band is undoubtfully evident as their ambition, reinventing progressive rock. May not be for all, but still the band's credit must be recognized. Once more progressive rock sees new horizons, since the post-rock revolution. Masterpiece.

Report this review (#104433)
Posted Monday, December 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars I'll keep it short & sweet, unlike Mars' habit of run on songs. Many a prog band's music has a reputation for being better when listened under certain chemical influences (Pink Floyd, man, The Wall, man; what a documentary man ...). I'm sure that case can be made for this album, but outside of the harder edged or rocking groups, most are not exactly "party" albums. This one however, with its' Santana meets Rush meets Led Zep sound is one that I'm sure more than a few open-minded hop-heads (beer drinkers) would have difficulty resisting its allures. Not that I would advocate heavy drinking as a way to enhance musical pleasure. But usually when music fans think of "fun" music, it tends to dance or hard rock or other technically less challenging musical groups. But here, Tempo changes abound, the tempo is usually medium to fast paced, rhythms aren't always 4/4, but they do swing & sway. One minute you're imagining Carlos dancing on his fretboard, the next you think you now know what Robert Plant could do in a Latin Jazz fusion group, then Alex Lifeson & Jimmy Page guitar chord progressions take you in another heavier direction. So for those of you prog-heads that may have friends that are less than enamored with "difficult" music, try this one on. I could never describe their music to my friends, but once they heard it, they understood the comparisons (then kept asking to hear it or borrow it again & again)
Report this review (#104526)
Posted Monday, December 25, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars 4.75 stars rounded up!

When this album first came out, I was an At The Drive In fan, curious about the latest product of their former members. So I heard the singles, "Inertiatic ESP" and "Televators" and was highly pleased. Therefore, I wanted to get the album, but the price soared for some reason. The short version of the story is, I opted for their second album, "Frances the Mute". It's a good album, but I was somewhat dissapointed. Luckily for me, I was not so disheartened as to prevent me from trying their debut album, "De-loused in the Comatorium".This album was really an unexpected treasure, especially in a time where most bands as well known are no so experimental and creative and do such a great job being those things.

The first thing that struck me as a listener was the fact that the lyrics were so bizzare yet profound. It certainly sticks to the concept and vividly portrays it by using the lyrics and the sound as one to fuse the creative measures taken to form the storyline. The music itself is both abrasive and melodic, which fits the bitterness of the story as well as the goodness of the character, Cerpin Taxt. Everything is so poetic, it's really a joy to read the lyrics with or without the music.IT may not always make sense, but at least it sounds really, really cool.

It is no secret that the musicans involved in this album are extremely talented. Every guitar solo is prefectly exectuted. The rhythm section is also strong throughout the entirety of the album. Cedric Bixler-Zavala's vocals are mindblowing, although that is the most frequent complaint about the album is that the vocals are too high, so if you don't like high pitched vocals, this might not be for you, but you'd be missing out on something spectacular.

Now, on to standout tracks. "Cicatriz ESP" is the track that most conflicts itself, spanning the whole array of styles that the Mars Volta uses. It has a catchy but immense verse/chorus. However, it is followed by random electronic noodling to the point where it's almost ambient. What follows, however, is one of the best intrumental sections thus far this millenium, especially with Omar Rodriguez-Lopez's incredible guitar lines. Another song that I find particularly good is "Eriatarka." I just find that the instruments work really well together to form the band's unique sound. This song is a great example of that. The closer, Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt, is another one of those songs that has great melody, great power, and great skill. Rodriguez-Lopez is perfect here as well. A perfect closing to an excellent album.

To summarize, this is album features superb instrumentalists and mindblowing lyrics and such a unique sound that it can only be characterized as a masterpiece of progressive music.

Report this review (#107324)
Posted Saturday, January 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
1 stars This is one of the most over rated albums I have listened to. Yes, it may be distinguishable from today's commercial and sometimes pathetic music scene, but this album does not contain any element that I have not listened to in the past. I read better reviews for TMV than for progressive greats such as Yes and King Crimson. Bizzare and profound lyrics? In many instances the lyrics don't make any poetic sense at all (or any sense at all, for that matter). Reviewers are setting the bar sort of low and categorizing TMV as one of the best bands ever. I believe that they need to do much more before they can be given that title. It's a decent album in today's music scene that's all. The first time I heard TMV I thought it was a mixture of Santana and Rush. COME ON PEOPLE! This elements are not new, nor did the TMV created them. This were brought by many great musicians in the past who have received many bad reviews from people who praise TMV. Some people believe Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple are over rated. I think this musicians from Volta are the ones that are being deified without any strong support. Come on, Cedric is trying to imitate the same high pitch style imposed by the likes of Yes, but he is called an artist, a true genius along with Fripp's imitator Omar Rodriguez-Lopez. I know I will be criticized by many of you Volta fans, but this had to be said. Bash the greats and hail this over rated band named The Mars Volta. Seems that this is the new trend among these so artistic and hard to please Prog fans hailing TMV as the greatest ever. I am not saying this is a mediocre album, just an average one compared to all Progressive music that is out there. By the way, I was born 1985, not all young prog fans deify Volta.

Report this review (#107667)
Posted Tuesday, January 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars This album, although at times quite impressive, is overall extremely boring for me. When the CD is over, nothing is stuck with me. I can barely sing any of it now, after a year of trying to get into it. Their next CD, Frances the Mute was ten times more impressive (with the exception of the drawn out soundscapes) and Ampeutecture was also much better than DeLoused. If you're looking to finish off your Mars Volta collection, than I'd reccomend it, but otherwise, your money would be better spent on one of their later discs.

Highlights include: Drunkenship Of The Laterns, Cicatriz ESP and Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt

Report this review (#108576)
Posted Tuesday, January 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars To me, the prog of this album is heavily buried under layers of standard modern rock and screaming vocals. I can't really engage into this album, or this band in general. I won't deny that there is some progressive influence here, but once again, it isn't plain to see. I would personally classify this as a more punk side of prog. If you, like me, detest the punk rock/mild metal/modern rock scene, than I bid you steer clear of this album. If punk meets prog sounds like your thing, than go for it. But for me, 2 stars sounds resonable.
Report this review (#109219)
Posted Sunday, January 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Oh boy, this is not for everybody.

Even for the experienced progger who went thru some tough cookies (Gentle Giant or Anglagard) this is still a challenge for some.

This is a very bombastic album with a strange psychedelia aura and jammed pack with ideas. This is clearly not a band that will be accused of plagiarism because the song structure is sooo weird (if not mechanically insane), you think you're in front of a UFO or someone spiked your beer with a strong LSD cap.

Apart from the huge amount of insanity, there's still moments of (relative) calm with some nice chorus and a certain FM potential in some cases. Being in support of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and System of a Down, you can trace some influences of those two bands in some tiny spots. Also, something cannot be towed away is the nice effort done by the drummer who gives his snare a hard time, killing the poor thing many times in the same song (like Inertiatic or Cicatriz). But to me, the ultimate proof of originality is clearly the vocals. Something like Dalbello mated with Bjork, with long and soaring calls from a throat that must be begging for a honey lozenge after.

This is a big and orgiac amount of insanity topped with a thick punk-funk-psychedelic frosting.

Man this is hard to get into.

Report this review (#112136)
Posted Wednesday, February 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars A brilliant and original debut, and so far their best album. The songs cover so many moods that it's hard to categorize, which is probably what most prog fans like. At times punk, Latin, rock, and fusion, "Deloused" covers some interesting ground.

"Eriatarka" and "Cicatriz ESP" slide through various textures while adding hypnotic grooves, while the opener "Son Et Lumiere/Inertiatic ESP" surges like a cross between The Mahavishnu Orchestra and Black Flag. "Televators" is a ballad with Latin percussion that adds a nice respite from the heaviness of the album (The Video for "Televators" is amazing and very Adam Jones-ish). "Drunkship of Lanterns" features a samba groove with severe vocal distortions.

One drawback: The sound on the album is clear but uninspired. Rick Rubin is a good producer, but "Deloused" fails to capture the band's full dynamic range and heavy sound the way that "Francis the Mute" does. Jon Theodore's drums have almost no body to the sound, which bugs me considering how amazing they sound on "Francis." The band definitely knows what sound they're going for.

If you have to pick one MV album to buy, this is the one. The songwriting is much more concise and there is much more of a contrast than with their later albums. Jon Theodore's drumming is simply amazing, and it's a shame he's left the band. Overall, a great progressive album.

Report this review (#115216)
Posted Thursday, March 15, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars One of the more encouraging signs of life for Prog Rock in the early 21st Century is the growing popularity, against any reasonable expectation, of the Mars Volta, a difficult band with an uncompromising musical vision and a fan base stretching from hardcore metal heads to psychedelic warlords to seekers of genuine off-the-wall weirdness. Talk about crossover appeal: I first heard of them myself in the otherwise decidedly mainstream pages of my local daily paper (The Buffalo News, hardly in the vanguard of cutting edge cultural journalism, but lucky to at least employ one first-rate music writer).

There's no easy way to become acquainted with The Mars Volta. But in retrospect, being introduced to the band through their sophomore album "Frances the Mute" was not unlike learning how to swim by jumping headfirst into a shark-infested whirlpool. By comparison, their 2003 debut album "De-loused in the Comatorium" sounds almost (but not quite) normal, which may explain its higher overall rating here at Prog Archives.

Be forewarned, however: to the uninitiated the album is no less outrageous than its successors, presenting a unique blend of hyperactive metal and psychedelic salsa that has to be heard to be believed. This is clearly a band ahead of its time, but here the music sounds more like a rough sketch of something still a few years away from its fullest realization, with more conventional instrumentation and only limited use of the studio wizardry that would characterize their later efforts.

The music and lyrics (sung in a sometimes frantic mix of English and Spanish) are thick with arcane symbolism and surrealist imagery, as even a token glance at the CD cover art should no doubt make plain. And in true Prog Rock fashion there is (of course) a concept behind it all, with a web-link in the CD booklet to the presumably official explanation, for anyone bold enough to venture that far.

But the music, by itself, should pose enough of a challenge for newcomers like me. Consider The Mars Volta a test of your Prog credentials. At the very least you'll succeed in clearing the room of any unwanted guests; and at best you might just be turned on to some exciting new music, which ought to be the goal of any self- respecting Progger.

Report this review (#117339)
Posted Wednesday, April 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I must admit, this album took me a LONG time to get into. But once I did I was blown away. Coming from someone who listens to almost exclusively 'classic' prog, this is an album almost anyone can get into. Although the vocals may turn some people off, the songs are well written and just plain rock. This album is great for anyone who enjoys heavy or chaotic music.
Report this review (#122645)
Posted Thursday, May 17, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars It's a masterpiece in its own way; if you think too hard you may find ways to not call this piece a master"piece", but without a doubt its great...

Son et Lumiere: 4 stars: Great way to start the album.

Inertiatic Esp: 4 stars: Defines their unique sound.

Roulette Dares (This Is The Haunt): 4 stars Fast-paced and has that TMV sound to it...

Tira Me A Las Aranas: 3 Stars: Seems like a cool filler in the album.

Drunkship of Lanterns: 4 stars: Technical masterpiece.

Eriatarka: 5 stars: One of my favorite songs off of the album...Starts off mellow then starts to rock it up...

Cicatriz Esp: 5 stars: Best TMV song ever made!

This Apparatus Must Be Unearth: 5 stars: Their sound is mastered here.

Televators: 4 stars: Great song, very slow and long.

Take The Veil Cerpin Taxt: 5 stars: Ends off the album on a very good note.

This album has the best work from The Mars Volta and defines Art Rock.

Report this review (#125478)
Posted Monday, June 11, 2007 | Review Permalink
The Pessimist
5 stars This, asa lot of you may know, is hailed to be THE Mars Volta album by the majority of their fans. I don't entirely agree with that sentiment, as I do prefer Frances The Mute, but nevertheless, it is still a masterpiece. No-one before (as far as I know) had achieved the style of music that is generated within the dark, creative brain of Omar Rodrigeuz-Lopez, and the only band that came close in my opinion was his previous outfit At The Drive In, a non-prog band. Having said this, you can pretty much imagine the impact this had on the prog scene. And what's more, they pretty much came out of thin air. Yes, admittedly they had released an EP beforehand, but it didn't even touch this standard of music so it went pretty much unrecognised globally. However, when this album exploded onto the prog scene at the very beginning of the 2000s, it printed their name solidly in its vast hall pf fame. Indeed, this is a very special album.

I will actually do a track by track of De-Loused In The Comatorium, ommitting the filler number which I can't even pronounce the name of. Hopefully though, you will get the idea of how good this album truly is.

Son et Lumiere / Intertiatic ESP -

An unusual title I'm sure you'll agree, but not that unusual a song. These two songs in my mind count as one for me, as neither of them work without the other. Furthermore, I will go and say outright that this is one of the best openers in ALL modern music, let alone the modern prog scene. It has most things that Volta fans love: creepy quiet, effects laiden sections, loud choruses with a lot of kick, a huge jam section and a kind of modest technicality about it. If you love this song, then you will love the rest of the album. Simple. Not everyone's cup of tea mind (it is very manic through and through), but very enjoyable if you are into the general craziness of the band. Brilliant.

Roullette Dares (This Is The Haunt Of) -

Don't have a clue what the tital means, neither do I care. Admittedly, this is my least favourite song on the album, but one saving grace is the drumming and guitaring. Omar is definitely in 6th gear on this one and goes all out with inventive soloing and fast riffs. Jon Theodore, in similar vein, dishes out some of the most incredible drumlines I have ever had the pleasure of listening to. This song just proves to me how much of an underappreciated musician he really is.

Drunkship Of Lanterns -

Complete change in texture as we are introduced to the bands pseudo-Latin style. Fast paced, no doubt about it, but this one is slightly gentler than it's two previous. Nevertheless, it is still insane. Be warned. It's also worth noting that this is one of the Volta's least accessible songs (to me anyway), but it is definitely well worth the plunge. You will soon see what I'm talking about when the climatic bridge kicks in, and it also shows off their technical side once again, with some clever tuplet play.

Eriatarka -

One of my favourites. This is an emotional journey that sends you through numerous quiet sections, dazzlingly chaotic louder sections and once again, a sprinkle of technicality that is definitely there, but not in any way pretntious or bombastic. Cedric's vocals are worth mentioning on here as well, as he sings those high notes the best he has ever really done in my opinion. This could be perceived as a ballad, but it also contains a lot of carnage within. It is that schizophrenic. Once again, Jon Theodore. The man is actually a monster, and I cannot even fathom it possible to play the beat in the chorus.

Cicatriz ESP -

I'm sure I speak for a lot of fans of the band here when I say that this is the tune that got me into TMV in the first place. It could be because it's got the best heavy latin jams of all time after the effects section, or it could be because the riff is so simple, yet so addictive (a bit of trivia actually, they borrowed this same riff from an At The Drive In Song; I can't remember the name, but if you listen to their material you will know where I'm coming from). It could also be a combination of the two. Either way, this is a masterpiece, and Ikey really knows how to play tastefully, as evident in the bit after the second chorus. Easily the most accessible song on the album, and maybe even their most accessible in general. If you are new to the band, then I'd head for either this song or L'via L'viaquez, as they are the first two I truly got into. And as for the lengthy middle effects section? Just enjoy it for what it is. A calm before the storm. For me, it gives the final half of the song so much more impact.

This Apparatus Must Be Unearthed -

This, unfortunately, is the only TMV song I don't listen to anymore, and could never get into. If I were to discard a track, it would undoubtedly be this one, not because it's bad or anything, but because it brings absolutely nothing new to the table. I suspect this was their "single" attempt, as it is quite mainstream based (aside from the remaining dissonance and Cedric's unusual vocals). I'm not going to comment on it really, as there is not much to comment on. You may enjoy it, but I personally don't.

Televators -

This is the greatest acoustic TMV song to listen to. It is perfect. It brings you in gently and the melodies really sore, I cannot remember a time where I didn't get goosebumps off of the haunting chorus. This is also in my hall of fame for being the most romantic song about suicide I have ever heard. If you don't think that Cedric Bixler-Zavala has a beautiful voice then quickly put on this song, kick back and you will soon change your mind. That is, in fact, the only way I can describe this tune: beautiful. And maybe even the highlight of the album. Who knows, but this is unskippable. I even think it tops the lush Miranda from Frances The Mute.

Take The Veil Cerpin Taxt -

A fan favourite, and possibly the greatest ever closer (aside from the end bit from Cassandra Gemini). Everything you have heard on the album is magnified and crammed into 8 minutes of pure genius. Omar's guitar playing kind of reminds me a bit of Fripp's playing, especially in the technical section (which by the way, shouldn't be taken lightly as it is as technical as even Atheist's material, maybe even more). The jam section also includes Chili Peppers' bassist Flea, and he does a mighty fine job of funking it up a bit. All of a sudden you are hit with a final chorus and then the phenomenal ending, which is so abrupt you actually end up saying to yourself "what the f***" out loud.

Nothing more that I can say about this album that hasn't already been said, but I will evaluate. This is by no means a light hearted album, and even less accessible, but if you are a fan of chaotic, emotionally complex, unusual and overall intense music, then I suggest you give this masterpiece a spin. It is well written, tight when it needs to be, but eases off with guitar effects when it needs to also. I don't think any album can compare to the general atmosphere of DITC, which is dark a melancholic but in the same way a very fun listen. It's very hard to explain, but even though the lyrics are utterly nonsensical and the titals incomprehendable, they do portray the theme of the album very well and you do seem to visualise some bizarre imagery. Not in the lyrics, but in the musical devices, example: the falling feeling at the end of Televators. In conclusion, I would recommend anyone into modern prog to give this baby a try. It is in the top 100 albums of all time for a reason! No doubt about it for me, 5 stars, a masterpiece of progressive music, only a hair's breadth away from the quality of Frances The Mute.

Report this review (#131335)
Posted Thursday, August 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars If you think prog died, think again.

The Mars Volta may sound nothing like prog bands of old, but they share far more in common with them than any retro band can claim. When I heard "Inertiatic ESP" I had much the same response as the first time I heard "21st Century Schizoid Man." The same sense of "What is this?", "This changes everything." was there. The Mars Volta draw heavily from their punk days as At The Drive-In for De-loused and combine it with a genuine progressive approach toward song-writing. The result sounds nothing like At The Drive- In but retains all the punkish, explosive energy of it.

This is a highly emotive album thanks greatly to Cedric's brilliant vocals and psychotic lyrics of a drug-induced Alice In Wonderland landscape. Once could hardly ask for better musicianship that impresses throughout without ever becoming something people could label as showing off. I especially like the spacey and near-noise effects Omar generates from his guitar alongside his Fripp influenced playing. You'll hear bits and pieces of punk, Latin, and salsa music throughout, but at no point will it aid you in drawing a comparison to anything else.

Love or hate this album deserves your respect.

Report this review (#132305)
Posted Wednesday, August 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars The debut LP of this intense band is by far their best. The story of Cerpin Taxt creates an environment that plumbs the depths of the human mind contemplating a life-changing decision, described in words comparable only to James Joyce's "Finnegan's Wake".

The intro "Son et Lumiere" and "Inertiatic ESP" comes bursting out of the gates as you see a glimpse of the awe-inspiring synthesis of this seven-piece pantheon of progressive musicians. The haunting intro builds into a song that can have you headbanging and dancing salsa at the very same time. Guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez's composing skills are visible here. At first glance nothing seems to be on the same beat, but about 10 seconds into the song you are hit with the synchronization.

Leading right into our next Fragment of Insanity (the only term capable of accurately describing a TMV song) is "Roulette Dares (The Haunt Of)". Singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala's voice once again soars above the constant rise and fall of the moods and tempos of the music. A second dual song follows what seems like the greatest upstager of all time. "Tira Me A Las Arañas" and "Drunkship of Lanterns" compliment each other very well (obviously has NOTHING to do with the fact that they were originally one song split up by the label because they wanted more tracks on the album), and a slow, haunting tune again builds into a seven minute, congo-slappin', rock/salsa great, the drums carry a beat that is steady and nonsensical at the same time, and I've lost count of how many times they've changed the time signature. Eriatarka is a more hyped-up sound, keeping with the flawless instrumentation and composition.

And here it is. The absolute masterpiece of this album, "Cicatriz ESP". I, in all honesty, have no overly-verbose description for this song. This is a pinnacle. This is a landmark. This song captivates me for 12 minutes and 30 seconds every day, with the electrified choruses in the beginning, the beautiful solos by Omar that carry you away into a few minutes of peace, only for an incredible build-up back to that first, sweet chorus and finishing stronger than almost any other song I've ever heard.

Nearing the end of the album, we come across the fact that "This Apparatus Must Be Unearthed". I love this song, yet somehow it's also my least favorite track on "De-Loused In The Comatorium". The erratic guitar along with the double layering of the vocals creates an almost annoying sound, but ties together perfectly throughout the rest of the song.

The last two tracks are the third and second best songs. Televators is beautiful. There's almost no other word for it. Six minutes of peaceful, smooth guitar, congos, maracas and, as throughout the whole album, the vocals becoming an instrument themselves, tying all of the others together into a blissful experience. I would use this as the song at my wedding. Not even kidding.

And at last, we have "Take The Veil Cerpin Taxt". An upbeat, hard rocking song incorporating lots of prog. As always, Jon Theodore on drums continues to amaze me, the guitar part carries a complex, intense melody, and the song completely changes about three times. Just enough for a rating from me of WTF/10 stars.

This CD is a masterpiece. I would suggest anyone who listens to any kind of music to pick it up and listen to it multiple hundreds of times like I have.

Report this review (#133801)
Posted Sunday, August 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The most sophisticated noise.

This album was my "first contact" with a modern prog - whatever is hidden behind that tag...

I must say a few things. First of all, I heard a sample or two of THE MARS VOLTA before, and I didn't like it all; it sounded like a cold, emotionless, somewhat-complex, poppish-polished music for the hungry dumb masses who will appreciate anything masked under "alternative"...don't be one of them! That's disgusting! That was my opinion. However, after the myriads of positive reviews from the progressive rock fans worldwide, I decided to give these guys another chance...and I'm glad I did! This album is a killer.

However, there are few points where I disagree with the majority of the reviewers and I have to get the world out - but they are by no means a negative criticism.

Well, I'm not familiar with the rest of the band's material (although I promised myself I shall be), but , judging by this one, this is not progressive rock in my ears. Evolving, boundaries-pushing, progressive in a way "looking forward", unheard before (well, yes and no), quite so...but not groundbreaking - not if you examine any of these items separately.

There's nothing breathtakingly new or radical on this album.

But, it's overall picture what counts. It's just a damn good rock album, maybe one of the best modern rock album I've heard in years. An old cliche - "much more than sum of its parts" fits here perfectly.

There are few renditions of progressive rock - keyboard layers, sound effects noodling, Floydian solos. A oomph of extra bar or two in a time-signature here and there. Dissonant chords, occasionally.

And lots of noisy rock.

And it all works p e r f e c t l y . This beast is compact, homogeneous and powerful. The dynamic range of this band is scary. Sudden bursts of dissonant, monstrous chords, just after the whispering. Another thing that must be mentioned is production. There were loads of digital studio editing, processing, producing...and loads of killing guitar stomp boxes intelligently used, surely. A new art form is developed: a clever usage of sound effects. Like all the noise is not enough, your ears are in pain, sound-speakers are suffering and alerting with peak LED's, and on the top of all that there's a tiny ring modulator added - - just to add an extra spice to the your ears' agony. Sweet. Echoes, stereo delays, reverbs, flangers - they had been all used very cleverly - it will took you more than a dozen of careful listening to figure out some things.

As of songs themselves, they are energetic, melodic, sending shivers down the spine, they're keeping you interested and focused. There are no outstanding technicians here (at least not by my book), but they' re all good and they all sound sincere. A heavy mix of alternative rock, modern metal, Latinoamerican music works well.

I guess this album will become the milestone of rock music in a same way as LED ZEPPELIN's debut became decades ago. As I said, there's nothing breathtakingly new here, but the noise and the art are together raised on a new level.

My only complaint about this albums is its length. It's too long, and, unfortunately, not all the songs are on the same level. After 50 minutes or so listening become tedious, not because of constant amount of noise and dissonant, prolonged parts, but because last three or four songs are simply not on the same level as the rest of the album.

That's the curse of a digital era and a 70+ minutes album lengths and it's a shame. This one is so close to the masterpiece status. However, it's still essential and it will remain so in a forthcoming years.

Report this review (#133919)
Posted Monday, August 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars 'De-loused in the Comatorium' is THE MARS VOLTA'S first album. Parts of it are satisfying and sublime beyond belief, others are obscure and frustrating. Nobody claimes to enjoy every moment. But this album is every bit as much a marker of progressive rock as 'In The Court of the Crimson King' or any other iconic album you care to name. You cannot consider compiling a progressive rock collection without making this album one of your choices.

What is it like? THE MARS VOLTA have a sound all of their own. We are told a good review compares the band under discussion with other artists, but no comparison will give the neophyte an adequate idea of what they might experience when listening to this. So let me try to tell you what to expect.

The music is frenetic, polyrythmic and complex. The first impression the album makes on the new listener is a wall of noise, which distils into heavy rock, post-punk, latin and jazz rhythms, underscored by CEDRIC BIXLER-ZAVALA'S high-pitched vocals. Staccato machine-gun rhythms explode then cease, to be replaced by periods of lyrical beauty. Moments of spine-tingling brilliance are revealed. On repeated listens the songs assume their personalities, and the rationale for what at first sounded odd gradually becomes clear. Finally, the listener can examine the overarching concept that brings cohesiveness to the album.

So, clearly, this is an album that must be listened to a number of times. Some albums are front-loaded: their musical message is transparent and easily accessible. GAZPACHO'S 'Night' is one such. These albums have their place. This is at the other end of the spectrum. Once you've spent your money and had a listen - and suffered the almost inevitable confusion and disappointment - please persevere.

There are sublime moments here ranking equal with the very highest in popular music history. The enigmatic opener 'Son et Lumiere' builds nicely, clearly serving as an introduction to an important track (only important tracks get their own introduction) , the rapid-fire drumbursts signaling the transition to the magnificent, deeply emotional 'Inertiatic ESP'. There's more progressiveness in this first five minutes than in the whole careers of many formulaic progressive artists (some of the second-tier British, Italian and Scandinavian artists come to mind). 'Inertiatic ESP' is the album's first single, a fearsome tidal wave of noise - 'Now I'm lost,' BIXLER-ZAVALA sings, four lines of subtle variation - with THE MARS VOLTA, nothing's ever done the same way twice. Here we are introduced to the triple assault of this band: the vocalist, with a fearsome range and staggering falsetto; the guitarist, who plays at a million miles an hour, yet without the cold, clinical air of technical proficiency - far more like PAGE than PETRUCCI - and the drummer, whose latin/Haitian rhythms always astonish the listener expecting the normal fare of plodding timekeeping and predictable fills.

And then the album climbs a notch! 'Roulette Dares' is magnificent: I was hooked the moment I heard BIXLER-ZAVALA sing 'Spector will lurk / Radar has gathered / Midnight neuces from boxcar cadavers'. No, I don't know what it means, nor am I sure those are the correct lyrics. But the vocalist has this talent of being able to arrest the listener. Then OMAR RODRIGUEZ rips out a killer riff to introduce the chorus, a THE MARS VOLTA classic.

There are many other moments like this spread throughout the record. 'Drunkship of Lanterns' and 'Cicatriz ESP' are widely regarded as seminal new millenium prog, but I'll make special mention of 'Televators', a softer, chilling track and the second single. Here THE MARS VOLTA prove they can do beautiful just as sucessfully as they do majesty. And the extra line in the last chorus is pure genius.

There are awkward moments. The electronic section of 'Cicatriz' seems inexpertly grafted into the song, and 'Take The Veil' suffers similarly. No album is perfect, and there are other who find these moments essential. For music like this, I'll forgive a few odd moments.

It's so very hard to write a balanced review of a record you find yourself thoroughly enjoying, but I hope I've succeeded in showing you this record - and this band - can generate passion and something akin to awe.

Report this review (#137071)
Posted Saturday, September 8, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
5 stars Never have heard such harsh, frantic, intense, savagely creative rock sound so amazing... "De-Loused" is SPECTACULAR! Maybe it's the vocal gymnastics and manic lyrics screamed/crooned out by frontman Bixler-Zavala, or Rodriguez-Lopez's innovative guitar work, or the rhythmic backflips from the drums/bass... or any of the multitude of stellar sounds I go on to discover after each listen.

In reality it's the sum of all the parts which makes "De-Loused" so much fun to listen to; the members of Mars Volta are master musicians and song writers concealed behind walls of hard rock which have (somehow... given there eccentricity) given them mainstream status. Everything from the intense choruses to the spacey interludes screams innovation. This music is some of the most creative stuff I've ever heard, and I cannot recommend it more highly to any who has not already discovered it.

As a side-note, I'd also like to point out the outstanding keyboard work of Owens, which seems to be largely ignored when Bixler/Rodriguez are doing their thing; his organ adds a delicious jazzy touch for a few moments and adds a lot of texture to the mix.

Songwriting: 5 Instrumental Performances: 5 Lyrics/Vocals: 5 Style/Emotion/Replay: 5

Report this review (#140382)
Posted Monday, September 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of the best prog albums of the 21st century.

De-loused in the Comatorium is a concept album centering around the death of the good friend of guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and vocalist Cedric Bixler Zavala and it is an eclectic mix of different styles and musicians from different backgrounds and when it is all brought together it makes for a fantastic modern prog album full of diverse and interesting songs incorporating latin music prog and post-punk.

The instrumentation on this album is great, Jon Theodore wails on his drum kit with some great syncopated beats and odd time signatures, Juan Aldrette has some serious bass groove and is always adding something to the music and fitting in little licks, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez comes up with some outlandish riffs, Ikey Owens adds some organ chunk to the mix and Cedric Bixler-Zavala wails nonsensically over the top of it all (admittedly a downfall at times).

As far as highlights go there are many, intro son et lumiere and single inertiatic are a fairly poor start to the album, it's fairly odd songwriting but it's still fairly accesible but at times annoying.

Schizophrenic 'Roulette Dares' is an exceptional piece of music, starting off quietly before we are subject to a wall of syncopated noise abound with heavily effected voice and organ before moving into mellow emotionally involved territory, moving through various planes before coming back down for a melancholy ending with Rodriguez-Lopez offering some of his most sincere guitar work. Next we have the eerie acoustic intro song Tira me las Aranas leading into the face paced latin feel of 'Drunkship of Lanterns' with Theodore on fire with some great use of dynamics and some great percussion work too, props must also be given to Aldrette as he adds a lot in this song without doing an awful lot which is a sign of a great bassist. Next up the good times continue with 'Eriatarka' starting with a sincere dreamy verse giving way to a dense syncopated chorus in true MARS VOLTA style. 'Cicatriz ESP' is another fantastic song, very groovy with the latin feel again present, Rodriguez-Lopez's unorthodox take on music comes to the fore here with some great riffs that just seem so different from other guitarists. The middle section of the song can get a bit boring but it's worth it for the nice guitar duel at the end with supporting bass and percussion before the groove comes back in and ends the song.

'This apparatus is unearthed' is one of the weaker songs on the album which is unfortunate as it invokes some of the similar tones of the bands stellar debut EP 'Tremulant'. Penultimate track 'Televators' is easily the weakest song on the album, it's overly emotional and is a lot more toned down, accesible and slow paced than the other songs on the album. All is well in the end though with the album ending on a high note with arguably the best song on the album 'Take the veil cerpin taxt', starting off with a fairly stripped back sound for the verse and a decent chorus but the best bit comes after with the scynopated freak out and break down section leading into Rodriguez-Lopez' 'Robot-riff' as I like to call it a very atonal disjointed riff in a very odd time signature and then with a bit of a bass solo we are led into a funky jam and probably the highlight of the album before it ends on an energetic high note rounding out the album with great use of dynamics.

Overall De-Loused in the comatorium is a fantastic varied and unique album full of great songs and is easily one of if not the best prog record released in the new millenium although it does have it's downpoints notably the highpitched nonsensical vocals but they are fairly easy to get over and get used to. Highly recommended to fans of modern music as well as prog.

Report this review (#142518)
Posted Sunday, October 7, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars From start to finish to this album amazes me. Each track is just great and the musicianship is top notch. De loused starts off with son et and leads into the heart pounding inertiatic esp. A great way to open the album. Then comes Roulette Dares, it starts off chaotic then beautifully slown down by Cedric's Vocals. This song is one of the highlights on the album and the song ends sounding a little floydish. Next is Drunkship a song with some latin beats and great drumming by Jon. And then Eriatarka comes one of my volta songs of all time.Each song on the album flows so great together and it only gets better from here. Cicatriz esp starts of with some cedric vocals then the song just sucks you in, the guitar playing by omar is just amazing in this song, sounds kinda like santana. Thsi apperatus is next probably the weakest track on the album but good hard rocking chaotic song. Then the beautiful televators is next, one of the slower paced volta songs. Great vocals by cedric on this one. Then comes the highlight of the whole album Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt. I can never get tired of this song, Each musician shows off their best stuff on this song. Cedric and Omar are great composers of music. Some may not like like Cedrics vocals or Omars chaotic guitar playing at times, but these guys are creating some of the best music in the 2000's. If you want to get into some original music/great music listen to De- loused. A great Prog album!
Report this review (#146148)
Posted Saturday, October 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Why didn't I give this album a chance earlier!?!?

What a fantastic album from a refreshing band! What really strikes you about this album from the beginning is Cedrics vocals. They are loud, high pitched, and sometimes nasily. But, they have more emotion and feeling than anything ive heard in a long time. The next thing that stood out was how different it sounded. Extremely distorted guitars, machine-gun rapid fire drumming, latin grooves, and...punk influences?!?! Yah, this is not your average prog album. AND I LOVE IT! I know im a bit late on discovering the phenominon that is this 'new' prog band, but wow, if this is where prog is going im glad im here to experience it, and better late than never! Everything else that can be said, has already so ill just stop myself before i begin ranting on.

In Conclusion: If you have a truly Progressive mind, then forward thinking music is what you look for, right? Well this album is all about exploring the un-known of prog. It grabs you like a rollercoaster that speeds off at 100 mph and doesn't let you off until you've tossed your cookies. Twice.

5 stars, no doubt.

Report this review (#147696)
Posted Saturday, October 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Well what can I say that hasn't already been said about this amazing and original debut. From the moment I put this into my car stereo, I was sucked into the world of the Mars Volta and boy do I not want to come out. It seriously grabs you and doesn't let go and takes you on a musical journey that which is rare in today's modern music. Not one weak track on this album. The only few ways I can see this not being appealing to a progressive music fan is Cedric's vocals, which may take some time to grown on you, depending on your tolerance for higher pitched rock singers and the hardcore/punk influence this album generally has with it. For the rest of you, enjoy the album of the century!

Son Et Lumiere/Inertiatic ESP - 9/10

Roulette Dares - 10/10

Tira Me A Las Aranas/Drunkship of Lanterns - 10/10

Eriatarka - 10/10

Cicatriz ESP - 10/10

This Apparatus Must Be Unearthed - 9/10

Televators - 10/10

Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt - 10/10

Report this review (#148395)
Posted Wednesday, October 31, 2007 | Review Permalink
1 stars The music here is so pointless and directionless, I can't listen to it for more than a couple of minutes. Not to mention it reeks and I mean reeeeks of hipster. People are hailing this as the new prog, but the music on this album is anything but progressive. It's basically a weak homoginized version of Santana and Rush, with some more salsa thrown on top for bad measure. I defy anyone to point out anything progressive about this album, you simply can't. Not that that's even the point though, the music here is just complete nothingness disguised in whatever. There's nothing real about this album whatsoever.
Report this review (#150544)
Posted Tuesday, November 13, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Trăsnet!!

With a title that introduces you into a dark, sinister and at times funebre concept, De-Loused In The Comatorium is this band's compelling, perfectly pointed and well crafted album, regardless of how the next in line Francis The Mute and Amputechture exhibit a monumental complexity, respectively a new wave of hard a la mode music. As a debut (blended toughly after a couple of short releases, such Tremulant), it is stronger than expected, with a steam of elements sounding rather far from an artistic reach, nevertheless sounding deeply ravishing.

The whole experience decides whether this is a top pick or not: it bloodbends (with) your temper, it crashes down on you (whilst staying a coherent work of hard nerves), it has few frigid accidentals (having, instead, some experimental ones, it has a striking chill and a numb-free level of sound beneath a consuming, high-driving, spice munch of music, rock and deep beats.

Cedric Bixler-Zavala steps up as an iconic musician, with its hyper-kinetic voice and verse shaking much of the music's faith; the lyrics themselves can be a real deal regarding abstractions and concept heaviness, even if, when getting to know them deeper, everything is quite an easy read; what's left out, both on account of Lopez and the lyrics, is more sensuality, as well as more unusual timbres/lines (which will get used in further recordings and moods). Vigorously painted is also the indie instrumentality, powered mostly by Omar-Rodriguez Lopez's and Jon Theodore's psychedelic fun for hard rock, new music jams and technical foliations. Mars Volta impress on De-Loused In The Comatorium as a band open towards alternative rock and pronounced heavy rock, much of everything being a maelstrom of sensations and kicks, of plain grooves and inkly explosions, of metallic toughness and tern pleasures. While noticing a fair doze of pop music, metal or "splash rock" in this weighted cloud of adrenaline, the fully experimental or "rock eclectic" elements are more precious over the next albums, whereas here they're not that much accounted for.

Most of the pieces, except the hardest of all (Cicatriz), aren't that difficult in structure, breaking waves with a theme or two (vocal and jam-instrumental), a couple of improvisation loops, then leaving a dry atmosphere (sometimes experimenting with "sounds" and "dark textures" till the leap into the next piece). In senses though, every piece is part of a narrative intense music. The first six pieces, as a group, would suit just fine the band's greatness and the music's richness, being coagulant, pinching, fascinating compositions: Inertiatic in an indie-metal easy (pop) style, Roulette Darts with a heat of rock and a second part of melancholic volatilizations, Drunkship Of Lanters with a masterful color of hardcore between an unleash of intensities, and Eriataka as a switch-off that has dreamy and shouting moments. But De-Loused In The Comatorium goes on, asking more, since Cicatriz is immense, especially with its middle-part anaerobic spirit of blunt improvisation; only near the end more minor pieces appear, with This Apparatus Must Be Unearthed being (for what it's praised) a lot less stupendous, Televators shaping again a hard and prog mixed pill, and Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt having a tired edge, yet a formidable finale.

In the end, it's fair to see this band's debut in more than one light: modest or just good for any prog rock fan that's not in line with the new tendency, great or amazing for Mars Volta fans and a lot of those that feel fascinated by new music and new prog, extraordinary if it cuts deep in your flesh and your soul or has all the right ingredients to leave you speechless. A lot of the above hardly change further on, and yet, in contrast with the variable next results, De-Loused In The Comatorium remains this band's best "carte-de-visite". And, I would risk, a defining album for the closing decade.

Report this review (#151846)
Posted Tuesday, November 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars The most progressive thing about DitC is: there is nothing real about this album. These young men weren't writing songs about ladies of the road or their girlfriends leaving them. This album is aural surrealism, meant to pay homage to a deceased childhood friend. The theme of the album deals with their friend's coma and the strange worlds he travels through while unconscious. Once he awakes, he ultimately decides to take his life. Even if the music wasn't mind-melting, taken in the context of its theme alone, I consider DitC wildly imaginative.

The musical evolution the Mars Volta underwent between their former band's final album and their debut LP was great for a fan of both groups to experience. They may or may not be prog rock but what real musician cares about a label like that anyway? If anything, I'm sure most musicians would find it insulting.

What I can say is they're the reason I checked out this site and was introduced to so many other great bands. Just because the two principles are of Latin American descent, as well as fact that the singer can hit the highest of notes doesn't make them rip-offs other bands. Forget about the superficial Santana and Rush comparisons; DitC is cut from the same cloth as Pawn Hearts and it doesn't bear one bit of a musical resemblance to it.

It just creates the same kind of magic. Five stars.

Report this review (#152474)
Posted Saturday, November 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This represents my first exposure to this band and my first review for one of their recordings. This record is difficult listening due to the intensity of the thing. Vocals are high pitched. Lots of interesting musical ideas, but, as I listen to them, much of the output on this record is reminiscent of King Crimson circa 1973 to 1974 (a la Larks' Tongues in Aspic, Starless and Bible Black and Red) in terms of the guitar and bass play. In particular, the entire middle section of Cicatrix ESP is a lift of some of Wetton's bass and Fripp's guitar work on Easy Money off King Crimson's Larks' Tongues in Aspic. There is much to like on this recording and this band's King Crimson inspiration is clearly present. From a creative point of view, the music is very different from what many other bands were doing in 2003, yet, despite the 'fresh' feeling of the format, the musical underpinnings have their roots in earlier work from thirty years before the release of this recording. It is an excellent effort that shows the talents of this band, although one would hope that future work will demonstrate more sensibility with respect to dynamics. Four stars.
Report this review (#153906)
Posted Monday, December 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is, by no doubt in my mind, an Essential addition to any collection. The mars Volta are one of the most original and most important bands of the 21st century and this is, also without a doubt, their seminal album. Much more focused than Frances and more experimental than amputechture it has memorable hooks, great songs, complex structure, innovative playing, and a great (if slightly disjointed concept). I wont do a song by song as thats not necessary but as far as the album as a whole goes, its very raw. it has a very distinct feel that i cant quite place. there is great production but the guitar especially sounds so, raw is the only word. Its an explosive record with some great atmospheric passages interspersed throughout both the songs and within the songs themselves. i was turned off by Cedric's high register vocals at first but the more i listened, the more tuned in i became to his style. he has a wonderful ability to deliver some great, memorable vocal melodies while also turning it down during songs such as Televators and Eriatarka. John Theodore's drumming is a highlight of Deloused and a real delight to listen to. I wont endorse the consumption of illegal substances but if it delivers results like this every time, i might tend to agree that PCP is a very good thing. 4.7 stars with minor deductions for slightly unmemorable meanderings of atmosphere (thats fun to say). This is an essential album for anyone wishing to call themselves a progressive music aficionado and one of the most important releases of the last few decades.
Report this review (#154948)
Posted Sunday, December 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Wow! What a pleasant surprise!

I must say, after an absolute failure with ''The Bedlam in Goliath'', I was ready to call it quits on The Mars Volta before I even really gave them a chance, but thankfully I decided to give this highly-acclaimed band another chance by picking up their first effort at an LP, ''De-Loused in the Comatorium''. Wow, was I surpirsed! Let me explain:

When I listened to the Volta's latest attempt, all I could hear was aimless nerve-racking noise that never let up and didn't have any real substance to it. When I first played the opening track, ''Son et lumiere'', it was the complete polar opposite of that monstrosity. This song actually had a very soothing, atmospheric ambience to it that set the mood for what was to come. It was placid, haunting, interesting, and frankfully, beautiful, especially when compared to their foruth studio album, which I am fully convinced now will never go for another spin in my CD player. Already this sounded like a totally different band, and I was right-- it doesn't at all. Believe me, this is a good thing. Instead of the idiotic wailing I was subjected to on the fourth Volta album, the vocals found on this track were wonderully moody. Run through some sort of synthesizer, these vocals reminded me of a very classic prog rock singer, with quality, not quantity, to his voice. He wasn't shrieking at dog-friendly high pitches like the last time I heard him; he was truly carrying a tune, and I genuinely liked what I was hearing. Instead of starting off with a bang and never stopping, this album began on a lighter note, which as far as I am concerned is the best way to begin a record of this type. It was only going to get better from there.

Track two, ''Inertiatic esp'', is much like the forst song in that it gives the instruments room to breath; it has space, something that was more or less non-existant on the Bedlam record. While the song's style is possibly a bit too aggressive for some, I would suggest to at least give it a chance, as it is not pure ferocity; rather, it has many slow breakdwons peppered throughout it so that it gives the listener time to take in what they have just heard, rather than simply bash them over the head with hard-hitting riffs and loud shreik-screaming without any plausible aim. Sure, Cedric's vocals are high, but he sounds more like Robert Plant here than a eunuch in torment. The emotional and yet decypherable vocals here are most welcome, and quite a pleasure to my ears. Omar Rodriguez-Lopez's guitar playing is also very nice. Not too show-y, and even a little, I dunno, original? He certainly does a fine job of making me forget what a guitar is supposed to sound like, and his large arsenal of effects is very apparent here. He uses them wisely, though, and presents a rather tastefull blend of typical guitar sounds and unsual new stuff. The track ends with a very Beatles-esque backward's guitar track as well as backward cymbals, slowly building up into a loud crash then suddenly being silenced. This makes way for tracl three on the record, ''Roulette Dares (The haunt of)''.

This is the longest running track yet-- nearly eight minutes long. It starts out with a bang, but quickly slows down with some really great work from all of the band members to create a very moody atmosphere led by Cedric's beautiful voice. The guitar work found here is very moving, and the sudden starting and stopping of the band at points gives the track an extra, more frantic punch. I understand that this is a concept album telling the story based upon the actuall events of a man who went into a coma, saw incredible visions, then once awakening from it, took his own life. The feeling I get when I listen to this song is very effective in getting the point across dealing in madness, visions and strange experiences within one's own mind. There is a perticularly beautiful moment in this song when All we hear are Rodriguez-Lopez's beautiful guitar melodies overtop of an eery yet equally lovely keyboard ambience courtesy of Owens. As the song ends, the safety net of keyboards is removed instantly, and the guitars turn into a very howl-like sound as they fall away, completely the experience of yet another beautiful song. Hmm, three absolutely amazing tracks so far; already more than I was expecting from this 'terrible' band.

''Tira me a las aranas'' Begins with a slightly yucky-sounding guitar melody, accompanied by an even more pointless keyboard section. Thankfully, this doesn't last long and Jeremy Michael Ward's sounds come in, saving the track from becoming a least-favorite of mine.

The CD then takes an interesting turn with Drunkship of Lanterns''-- once again, a turn that I'm not fond of. It now reminds me of mexican ramba music, due to the stupid speed-drumming and the extra fast guitar-picking. Cedric's vocals help me keep interest however, and luckily the cuba-clad song structure dies out as soon as it began, being replaced by a much more interesting, proggy section full of creepy sound effects and enjoyable guitar playing. Sadly, this song constantly returns to the ramba for each chorus, so it makes the experience slightly less enjoyable for me, but like I say, the entire song is not like this, and soon the range of effects and keyboard wankery comes back in again, which by the way is a good thing. Guitar wankery-- never something I cared too much for. Keyboard wankery-- always welcome with me. Omar's guitar rhythm for the duration of the song really keeps me interesting, and eventuyally a crunching, electric solo comes in, which ensures boredom will not come close to setting in during the song's remaining few minutes. Finally the song evolves into something completely different, complete with some of the stranges sound effects in music since Pink Floyd's ''On The Run''. See, this is why I love this record, the songs actually evolve here. This is the second TMV album I have heard and the first one that actually contains qualities worthy of being called ''progressive rock''.

Ah! This is much better! Already Omar is doing something great with his instrument. Unlike the nonsensical doodling he was doing two tracks ago, here he is making an effort to play a real melody. Oh yes, did I mention that he succeeds? It still holds enough originality to be considered progressive, but it actually is something one can hum along too as well, which is fine. ''Eriatarka'' Is the most beautiful song on the record in terms of presentation, vocal melody and overall musical harmony. Once again causing the album to bounce back and becoming something worth owning simply because of one song, which is this one. Radio-friendly it may not be because it does after all feature more noises and odd sounds that may disturb some casual listeners, but for The Mars Volta, it's ''Stairway to Heaven'' quality (Okay that may be pushing it a bit, but you get my point). The guitar solo on here is also very moving and once again I found myself in awe of The MarsVolta's ability to create music that is actually, well, listenable. Everything is here on this song: substance, melody, originality, emotion, and damn great music all across the board!

The epic ''Cicatriz esp'' is next, beginning with more warped voice work, followed by some very spacey guitar work, complete with pick scrapes, squeals and aggressive rhythm sections. Omar's work here reminds me of Adam Jones, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. The song also has a very Jazzy quality to it, mainly due to Juan Alderete's punchy bass work and Jon Theodore cymbal tapping. The song then becomes a hard rocker, displaying Theodore's best drum work yet. I must say, Jon Theodore is an amazing drummer-- AMAZING! Omar once again shows what he can really do in the guitar, and delivers a short but sweet solo overtop of the drum-induced madness. A bluesy breakdown soon followes, which slowly progresses into a very Floydian effects pool. The bass playing found here in the quieter section of the song is also very impressive, but soon it all becomes effects and nothing else. To people who don't this sort of thing, it could potentially get very boring, but to other folks like myself who just eats this stuff up, it is true music to the ears! Really beautiful ambient work done here with the use of sound effects. Soon, Theodore comes hammering in with some truly awesome speed-drum work. Now, at this point the record once again returns to it's ramba-like sound completel with bongo effects and the whole bit. But for some reason I actually like it here. Maybe it just fits this song better than the previous one it was featured in. It isn't annoying at all; in fact, It's almost like awakeing from a long sleep after several minutes of pure sound effects work; like a breath of fresh air. Everything in this song is perfectly placed andcomes around at the right time. A true example of great thought-out composition.

''This Apperatus Must Be Unearthed'' is my least favorite track on the album. Sounds like sessions form the worst extended jam the world has ever seen. The 'tune' Cedric sings here is the closest thing to ''The Bedlam In Goliath'' this record gets, and it is here that you can hear the horrible direction the band will head in from this moment on. Luckily though, every other track on this record is worth listening to, so one bad apple won't spoil the whole bunch for me here. This song is the one I always skip over whenever I listen to the record, and it keeps De-loused from being a straight-through listen without any breaks, but eh, you can't win them all, and it seems The Mars Volta never will if they keep dishing out the crap they have over the past couple of years.

''Televators'' is a brilliant track which begins with some great ambient sounds, slowly leading in to absolutely fantastic acoustic guitar work from Omar. The melody in Cedric's voice is also a truely wonderful aspect of the song that heightens it considerably. This is the 'ballad' of the album, I suppose, and the most radio-friendly in my opinion, as it never really turns into anything else and stays pretty stagnant the entire time, but in this song's particular case, I like that. I think it fits. Definatly the most typically written song as far as song structure goes. If you want to introduce a non-prog fan to TMV, this is the song to do it with as far as I am concerned.

Now we come to epic finale of this album, which just so happens to be the first De-loused song I heard. Well, what can I say? This song is absolutely perfect. It begins with a truly cool off-beat guitar riff that creates the very chaotic atmosphere that this song carries for it's duration. Cedric's vocals are amazing as usual (well, at least on THIS album), and soon the song becomes quiet, and convoluted in such a way that it actually sounds great. Omar does some really creative guitar tunes hear accompanied by a simply yet hard-hitting bass line. Let us not forget The awesome drummer in this band, backing them both up. Then the bass line becomes a solo that sends chills up my spine every time I listen to it. From there the song becoms something else entirely and Omar once again amazes with truly bizarre and yet hauntingly goregous guitar playing that puts me in a very relaxed state each time I play the song. Then Cedric's ghostly vocals come in again as he uses his voice as an instrument in and of itself. At this point the guitar is playing a most impressive riff that repeats over and over again, creating a hypnotizing loop that doesn't let up for what seems like minutes. Finally, the track picks up the pace again with some truly brutal riffs from Omar and very Robert Plant-like vocal sounds on Cedric's parts. It all comes to an end very suddenly, yet it seems right. The overall effect the album has on me is indescribable, and while it sin't perfect, it is definately an album worth owning, if you're in to more trippy-sounding stuff like this. It is truly a musical journy, and not just a bunch of loud jamming slapped together unlike another album I have already mentioned numerous times in this review.

So, final thoughts. Is it a classic prog album? I have no idea. Only time will tell, won't it? Will it stand the test of time? That really depends on The Mars Volta themselves. If they want to keep releasing crap to the public and expect to survive in audiences'memories, they are in for a shock, and yet I would say that this album, while certainly not essential by any stretch of the imagination, is definately worth giving a shot, even if you don't like what you have heard of The Mars Voilta thus far, as I didn't, yet I enjoy this album very much.

The Pros: Excellent musicianship; sounds like Pink Floyd meets King Crimson! The Cons: Some of the songs sound like extended jam sessions, nothing more. Overall: Great album to try at least once, even if you don't think you'll like TMV.

Report this review (#160965)
Posted Tuesday, February 5, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Toghter with Lateralus by Tool this is my favorite modern prog album, and while i love the other mars volta albums this debute is still thiere best so far. It sound like a mix of punk and prog yes its not suposed to be posible too mix thos two but here is the prof its not impossible, the album starts with the most stright forward song of the album Inertiatic ESP culd have been a hit probobly maybe it was i dont know realy. the other songs that follows are longer and more complex with lots of diffrent changes of melody and riffs. Excpet for the almost ballad and very beautifull Televators, most of the songs are pretty fast with slower sections thrown in. the sound of the album culd be described as punk prog and salsa latino rythms and alot of other things mixed toghter sometimes sound a bit like Santana. Well theres no point in decribing the album or the songs more this is simply one of the best modern prog albums and if your new to mars volta make sure this is the album you start with as its much more accesible then thire later ones. 5 solid stars a real groundbreaking masterpice of heavy prog that will sound fresh for a very long time and probobly be referd to as one of the best toghter with the old 70s ones in the future. A must have no mather what style your in too you must try this.
Report this review (#161086)
Posted Wednesday, February 6, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars 3.4 stars

This is definitively a very unusual album with an unexpected amount of popularity behind it: how did such complex and eclectic music reach the charts? This is way out there to my ears and if I wrote a review when I got this album, I would have panned it somewhat badly. However, I restrained myself from doing so until I understood more the band in general and get more comfortable within the modern progressive world, which I was oblivious of until recently. While I still find the album a bit too harsh-sounding in terms of production, I recognize this as a daring piece of art that most progressive rock veterans would certainly enjoy it more than me.

The musicians seem to know what they are doing and sound as if they were playing for several years, with a lot of chemistry between each instrument. The singer is an acquired taste, but unlike bedlam in Goliat, he not only avoids indulging himself on distorting his voice, but also sings with more passion and honesty, as if this is what he felt like doing with his voice unlike the more forced feeling of the following albums. The guitar player plays very competently and avoids atonal improvisation unlike the guitar playing in the next two albums. The keyboards are used as a secondary instrument, as they always did, and they help improve the musical texture of the album. However, the main attraction here is the rhythm section, with a drummer that combines power and complex polyrhythms without sounding forced.

The music is very eclectic, introducing several genres that would make people think that they just can't be combined, but they do gel well. While latin rock is one genre, the unusual one is punk. This album is loaded with punkish energy. Imagine a genre called latin jazz-fusion psychedelic progressive punk. That is more or less what Mars Volta is showing here. The track where the latin influences are the most obvious is on the fast-paced Drunkship of Lanterns . For punk energy look no further than this Apparatus, Inertiatic ESP or Eriatarka which probably deserves a paragraph on its own.

Eriatarka is Mars Volta executing their mixture of styles perfectly: it is where this mixture sounds the most natural and a complete genre of its own. The verses are spacey rock/pop segment with inspired melodies while the choruses are punkish explosions in odd-time signatures (check out that drumming, seriously: it is out of this world!). The bridge is psychedelic rock and leads into another chorus, which at first I noticed it was different and could not tell in which way. It really is the refrain but arranged into a smoother 4/4 rhythm. Genius closer indeed.

Cicatriz ESP is the longest song in the album and far from perfect. While the first 5-6 minutes and the ending are decent enough, there is an extended electronic ambient section that is very dull. This Apparatus has a similar style to Eriatarka but is less progressive. It is just a loud alt.rock tune with a very catchy and memorable refrain. Talking about solid choruses, Televators has a great one. This song, unlike the others, is mostly acoustic and laid back and is one of my personal favorites here. the closing track is a loud and powerful one: it pummels you for three minutes in a row until a tranquil and unexpected mellotron solo dominates, accompanied by nothing. The rest of the song is somewhat atonal and very heavy. A bit more than I can stomach but I can see others being able to enjoy it.

Overall, this is a very important album to own due to it being popular, inaccessible, and innovative at the same time. The mixture of styles works quite well and if you do not mind loud music with a 70s production style, you might enjoy this a lot as other reviewers do. Just don't expect pretty music.

Report this review (#162226)
Posted Tuesday, February 19, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars As I listen to this CD I wonder about the AGE of those who are ranking this recording so high. Four stars here, five stars there. Some will go as far as to say that this is the greatest record since the turn of the century and others have said it may very well be THE BEST progressive record of all-time!

Holy smokes! And I MEAN THAT! Holy SMOKES! What are these cats smoking?!

I sincerely believe that many people have not heard punk rock before, or at least not in this capacity, and TMV is their introduction to the genre and they are flipping out.

As a guy who grew up during the heart of the punk era(mid to late 70s to early 80s) and frequented CBGB's and the Mud Club and every other dirty punk club along Manhattan island and the Jersey shore I can tell you with MUCH assurance that what TMV are doing is nothing new. In fact, my buddies and I would catch a different band each week that sounded like the Volta. When I listen to this CD I have flashbacks of many varieties. Too many to count.

The main difference I hear between TMV and the punk bands of the 70s is that the Volta elongates their songs to epic proportions. They astutely use improvisation and VAST WALLS OF NOISE to stretch out their otherwise weak compositions(although noise is not new to punk rock). Hence the progressive tag is added to their work based on song length.

Granted, De-loused In The Comatorium has its progressive moments(key word MOMENTS). There are some tight grooves here and there that catch your attention, but as soon as you think it's going somewhere, bang! More chaos and screaming. Nothing that I hadn't heard before.

I specially find the drumming disturbing. As someone already mentioned, the machine gun approach has its place, but TMV overuse it to the point where it becomes cliche. Mitch Mitchell had tremendous taste and knew where to bring out the big guns. I don't see the same maturity and restrain from TMV's rhythm section.

This recording is a mish-mash of Led Zeppelin, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Sex Pistols and an attempt by a male vocalist to sound like Diamanda Galas. Unfortunately, TMV come up WAY SHORT on every attempt.

I was highly disappointed with this record. I followed the recommendation of some of the reviews I read and took the plunge, but this music is old. It's not progressive in the least. Actually, it's going backwards to a place I've already been and left in the rear view mirror and not interested in revisiting.

TWO STARS and that is being awfully lenient because I know how popular this band has become and I suppose there are some collectors out there interested in this CD.

Report this review (#167817)
Posted Thursday, April 17, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Rating: B+

The Mars Volta, along with Porcupine Tree and maybe Opeth, is the biggest name in modern progressive rock, and, in light of the release of the good (but not great) The Bedlam in Goliath, it seems a good idea to go back and explore why. Formed by Omar Rodriguez and Cedric Bixler-Zavala after the breakup of their previous band, the emo-punk ensemble At the Drive-In (who come highly recommended), The Mars Volta debuted with the stellar De-loused In the Comatorium, which still stands as their best to date. Whereas later releases have seen the band increasingly drenching their songs in noise, obscuring the actually melodies present, De-loused is actually quite clean in that regard. It's almost always possible to tell what's going on, and the benefit this has on the music is tremendous.

Of course, the lack of noise only matters if the music itself is good, and it most definitely is. "Inertiac ESP", with its passionate cries of "now I'm lost" captures the listener from the start (after the brief, introductory "Son Et Lumiere"), and the energy mostly carries over for the rest of the CD. "Roulette Dares (The Haunt Of)" starts at a similar energy level, then slowly deconstructs to near nothing for a very nice effect. Then, of course, there's the closing, "Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt", which is by far the best song in the Mars Volta canon (at least so far). With soaring vocals, tremendous energy, and even a hint of catchiness, it embodies everything The Mars Volta have ever worked for.

That said, The Mars Volta occasionally falter, inserting energy-sapping sections into the otherwise great songs. This is most notable on "Cicatriz ESP", which probably would've been the best on the CD if it didn't inexplicably drop out into near nothing for several minutes in the middle. There are times on De-loused - "Eriatarka" comes to mind - where the quieter sections work because something's still happening, but it's absolutely inexcusable on "Cicatriz ESP". Then, of course, you have the appalling lyrics, which supposedly tell the story of a band friend to tried (and failed) to commit suicide, enter a coma (where he had some strange visions), then, upon recovery, succeeded in taking his life. While this has the potential to be truly powerful, the little-boy-with-a-thesaurus approach doesn't help. Thankfully, Bixler-Zavala delivers them with enough power that it's almost possible to ignore them (which isn't always the case on later releases).

In spite of the lyrics and the random spacey sections, De-loused in the Comatorium is a stunning release and the closest The Mars Volta have come to a masterpiece. Without extra noise (except for a few select moments, such as on "The Drunkship of Lanterns"), De-loused is an exciting blend of prog and punk, ultimately far more comprehensible on a musical scale than the baffling lyrics would suggest. This is a triumph of modern music and clear proof that there are new avenues music can take. Essential.

Report this review (#167821)
Posted Thursday, April 17, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars If ever you are looking for some adrenaline, just stop (or shop) while listening to this debut album of "Mars Volta".

This album is an amazing journey into the wildest parts of prog you would imagine. A wonderful combo of lethal vocals and fantastic instrumental parts ("Roulette Dares"). But before this great song, "Inertiatic" already set the pace. An enormous, a gigantic track.

Being categorized within the heavy prog style doesn't prevent this band to produce some jewels of rhythmic music as "Drunkship Of Lanterns". An evil beat, some incredible drumming combined with the wildest guitar riffs. An ocean of wild rock is invading every little inch of your body while listening to this type of song. So different, so special. So "Mars Volta".

This ocean of violence is not always deserving a masterpiece status, but when I listen to "Drunkship Of Lanterns", I can hardly say that it is a filler. At the end of the day, there are (almost) none of these on this album.

A huge effort from start to finish (except "This Apparatus Must Be Unearthed"). Innovative, wild, brilliant. This is how "Mars Volta" sounds. To my old ears. Their music is so thrilling, so different of what's available. I can only recommend you to try and listen to their work.

It is of course not an easy task since it is hardly accessible, but hey! Once you have done the effort; there is only one option: like it. A big deal. I am an old freak who was fan of the hardest rock a long time ago and believe me, to encounter such power, such inventiveness is a great pleasure. Even if "Cicatriz ESP" holds some spacey "borrowed" moments (from Floyd of course) it ends up on a fabulous and devastating closing. An excellent way to finish this song.

These debut are certainly well worth. Special, attractive, fresh. Try it out, you shouldn't be disappointed. The killing closing number "Take The Veil Cerpin Taxt" is another of their somptuous compositions. Incredible off-beat, an inmense wave of sound combined with some scaterred riffs are such a good manner to close this album.

Four stars.

Report this review (#169470)
Posted Thursday, May 1, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars The Mars Volta - 'De-Loused in the Comatorium' 5 stars

A groundbreaking album that shocked the world and put this band on the map with very little promotion.something that prog is used to.

The Mars Volta came about through the break-up of a band called At the Drive-In. I haven't really listened to the band really much but it sounds like decent punk to me.I can't stand tagging genres so there is my best take on it. One of the guitarists of the band named Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and the lead singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala decided that they wanted a more experimental approach while the other members wanted to go more mainstream and pop oriented. Those members went to form Sparta; a terrible band in my opinion.

A more experimental approach is more than just an understatement. They should have said bringing forth an original sound to the dying world of music. There is hardly anything like The Mars Volta and this album was a beautiful start to their career and they have not looked back since, for the better in my honest opinion.

The Mars Volta's sound is powerful. It is loud and very noisy at times. There is constant time signature changes, very high pitches vocals, fantastic drum work and frantic guitar work that is as jumpy as Robert Fripp's and merciless as John McLaughlin's.

The album has an opener that is so fantastic and unexpected that I think the only thing that topped it is '21st Century Schizoid Man' or 'Larks Tongue in Aspic Pt.1'. The album starts with two songs that flow right into each other called 'Son et Lumiere' and 'Inertiatic Esp'. Just starting with a simple few notes on the guitar, some atmospheric keys and some sung vocals nobody would expect just a breakthrough of sound with overdriven guitar and some berserk drums completely in sync and in short bursts with different rhythmic patterns each time. The structure becomes consistent in the second part with just some added keyboard melody that is simple and fun, a brilliant hooker while the guitar and drums blast through the speakers. Again, this albums' opener is one of the best I have heard in prog.

Every song on this album is special in its own way. A concept based on Cedric's friend, but do not expect to get anything out of it. Cedric who is the lyricist of the band warps his words around in so many ways that it is basically used to fit the music, much like Jon Anderson in my opinion. He does although have a good vocabulary, or a thesaurus in hand at all times that the lyrics do sound very cool. His voice serves as a hook into the music while the instrumentation which is entirely written by Omar (except 'Drunkship of Lanterns' and 'This Apparatus Must be Unearthed') is very complex. All of the songs are very fast and noisy except for one, which is 'Televators'. 'Televators' is a slow acoustic song that is an excellent one but far from my favorites on the album.

I found every single song on this album to be excellent. If you want to hear one of the most unique albums in music, I highly recommend this.

Report this review (#170128)
Posted Wednesday, May 7, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars The Mars Volta - De-loused in the Comatorium

I'll keep this one short, since so many other reviews of this album exist. Suffice to say that the debut from these prog rockers really rocks as progressive rock should. There are some very energetic elements throughout the album, probably of which the result is the "progressive punk" label these guys are sometimes given. What is of note to me, more so at times than the music, is the concept behind this album. For a very long time I was fascinated by the concept and the 40-some page storybook that elaborated upon it (and is still used today to influence some of their newer material and lyrics). This album, on the whole, is very solid, but grows a bit stale with age due to its general lack of complexity. Still, it is a very solid debut, and a good representation of a good band successfully playing darker, more modern progressive music.

Now the music:

The album's opening two tracks are certainly a tour de force in my opinion--a very solid way to open a career (although fanatics will argue, and likely successfully, that their Tremulant EP was the real beginning of the career). Indeed, the album continues in this strong vein with the more "jazzy," if that word is applicable here at all, which I think it may be, "Roulette Dares (The Haunt Of)". This album really enjoys it's 3, 6, and 12 -figure times signatures, something that gives the whole album a unique, almost swingin' flow at times, and helps to color the darker atmosphere of the album. "Drunkship of Lanterns" is quite the tune, constructed with an almost headache-inducing salsa undertone that never lets up. One of the most oddly constructed songs I had heard when I first laid my ears upon it, though now it seems almost tame. Still, a wonderful track.

The album continues in this similar vein, yet every track stands out, and this is truthfully an album that does work well as a whole. "Cicatriz ESP" honestly stands out to me, along with the final track, as being the highlights of the album.

This debut did well what their follow-up Frances the Mute wouldn't, that is, with all of the ambiance intact, but never overdone. Yet I cannot help but feel that their follow-up also featured better song structures, and worked, if possible (and despite all of the so-called "filler" ambiance, of which some of it, indeed, is.) more cohesively as an album.

This one holds more water in the production area than ANY of their follow-up albums, as they had the talented Rick Rubin behind the board, which helps this album immensely. Honestly, some of the songs would not work well at all without his guidance in the production field (for proof, listen to some of the summer demo sessions of these songs, and in particular, listen to the half-done version of "Concertina" that Rubin began producing for this album, and compare it with the Tremulant EP version..Rubin's is, far and away, superior).

At any rate, this is certainly an impressive debut, and a great album; however, it has some weaker moments and certainly doesn't age well to these ears--the emotional impact is almost nonexistent for me now, after four years with this album.and that's a very short span of time for an album of this length to last. Ah well, an 8.7 or so on my scale, but just 4 stars on this one.

Report this review (#171107)
Posted Thursday, May 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars PAGE OF CONCRETE - I guess it's all been said before, but there is no doubt that this is an awesome album - and an amazing debut - I cannot say how good this is, and probably the MV album that you are most likely to like if you've not heard them before.

ASH OF POMPEII - Having said all that, I was lucky that I actually heard Frances the Mute first and was totally blown away by it, and as such it remains my favourite MV album. It's a good thing for me, because I didn't compare it with Deloused - a mistake that many reviewers seem to make when discussing the other MV albums - as it makes it difficult for the Mars Volta to live up to Deloused and therefore move on.

CARPEL JETS HIT THE GROUND - So don't compare Deloused with the rest (or necessarily buy it first - you might want to consider buying Frances the Mute first (or Bedlam, which is also amazing. I wouldn't start with Amputechture - the most challenging listen of all their albums).

EVAPORATED THE FUR. Think about Deloused in the Comatorium in its own right - it is full of wild energy, expression, very powerful singing - NOW I'm LOST! - EXOSKELETAL JUNCTION AT THE RAILROAD DELAYED (this remains my favourite Volta lyric). The musicianship is superb, and it feels like they have worked incredibly hard with long long hours perfecting the music with great great practice and results.

IN THE RATTLES OF....I love the CD sleeve, with its mystical lyrics and little red men in different poses - you can almost imagine them dancing to the music. What the lyrics mean - who knows? But that is one of the great things about them - the crazy lyrics - each word makes sense but when put together they don't - the great mystery of Cedric (who the heck is Moatilliata or Cerpin Taxt?). However, the bizarre concept that runs through the album is sensed and comes to the fore in Televators - one of MV's best more gentler tracks. I don't think I'll review all the tracks, or this will be too heavy a read - just to say they're all awesome - there are NO 7 out of ten's here. 10/10 for Son et Lumiere, Inertiatic ESP, Roulette Dares, Drunkship of Lanterns, Eriatarka, Cicatriz ESP, Televators and Take the Veil. That is 8 tracks that are 10/10 - absolute classics! All super-eclectic too.

RUST PROPELLERS AWAIT. I could go on forever on how good this album is, every track giving its own individuality - this is a lesson to every band on the importance of extreme hard work and practice.


This is a masterpiece - you can tell when you pick up the CD and burst with excitement as you put it in, knowing the music is going to take you there - on the ride of your life!

Report this review (#173182)
Posted Saturday, June 7, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Whatever you do, do not take drugs while listening to this, or you might end up like Cerpin Taxt.

Well, The Mars Volta released this album five years ago, I finally stopped lurking through PA and decided to get an account. This sort of musicianship was unheard of in 2003. (For mainstream) When this came out, it sort of showed that the state of prog is healthier than ever.

The line up for this super trippy prog band is:

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez - Guitar (Songwriting) Cedric Bixler-Zavala - Vocals (Lyrics) Jon Theodore - Drums Jeremy Michael Ward - Sound Manipulation Isaiah Ikey Owens - Keyboards Lenny Castro - Percussion Flea - Bass John Frusciante - Guitar, Synthesizer on Cicatriz ESP

Oh cool, an all star line up.

The first song(s) is Son et Lumiere, which in french means Sound and Light. Which is basically the song too. It's a great combination though and it leads perfectly into... (9/10)

...Inertiatic ESP, which by all means is the poppiest of all the songs on the album. Also easily one of the best. Starts off immediately with the most obscure lyrics and overall great musicianship. Now, I can go on for hours about the great musicianship, so I'll just say this now: EVERY SONG HAS GREAT MUSICIANSHIP After the halfway point, the song goes into this intense riff and then returns. The ending is one of the trippiest endings in music, just the funkiest thing I've ever heard. (8/10)

Getting right back into it, Roulette Dares (The Haunt Of), starts off pretty heavy and straightforward, but it doesn't last very long. The phasing vocals, constant guitar echoing, amazing bass lines. This song is pretty awesome! Then suddenly, it goes into this quiet vocals section, and right when you think the song is done it pops back into a heavy number. This heavy section also features one of the most obvious references to Larks Tongues In Aspic in the album. (The record's full of them) The song continues into it's on/off phasing of emotions. Then, slowly begins to end. (9/10)

Furthering more into trippyness and complete madness is Tira Me a las Aranas. Just a total trip from start to finish. Leads into...(9/10)

Drunkship of Lanterns! This percussion driven caucophony really sets the mood for the coming tracks. One of the best parts of the songs is the vocals. They're absolutely ravishing. They're so different and unique. This song transitions from some weird freaky prog to one of the best jams. Toward of the song, they're really cooking. Just, pure musicianship. The ending, I found using Audacity, is just the beat of the next song, slowed down. Overall one of the best songs on the album. (10/10)

Eriatarka! Or as I affectionately call it, Tarka! This tracks starts off really well, with riffage rissing and falling like Demented Aliens replicating Pink Floyd. Then...suddenly...the drama builds into this fiesta of riffing with one of the oddest time signatures I've heard in a while. Then, we get a break with what sounds like old motorcycles from a Meat Loaf song. Then the song starts up again, like an old record player fighting to stay alive. Overall, an awesome intro to the Floydian madness that is to come. (9/10)

Cicatriz ESP. THE track from The Mars Volta. Every band has an it track. This is it. Starts off with a starightforward, mainstream, At The Drive In like beggining. But this doesn't last much longer, the minute the song freezes, and gets broguth back to life by this drum beat hitting like a techno beat. The song reforms back, to blast an awesome chorus into your ears. Then it continues to stop into this slow King Crimson beat/jam thing. Then, that slowly degrades into this Welcome To The Machine, water dripping slab of prog. Which slowly, beats back into what sounds like Drunkship of Lanterns's jam again. Then the song catches up with itself and finally ends. WHAT AN EPIC! (10/10)

This Apparatus Must Be Unearthed. The title is beyond me. A great prog ditty, sonically, it's amazing. It has some of the weirdest guitar sounds and effects in the entire album. The ending, is somewhat annoying, but still a great track. (8/10)

Televators, a nice little ballad, really is one of the best songs by the band. The ending of the song is amazing and the lyrics and singing are beautiful. There's not much to say, as it's basically the same song for six minutes straight. Great song (8.5/10)

Take The Veil Cerpin Taxt, is the best song off the album. It starts off with amazing rhythm and great guitar riffs. The singing is amazing as usual. This song also features song of the oddest lyrics in the record. Overall straight ahead rhythm then it gets tricky and complicated once the first chorus kicks in. I say the first chorus, because the second is so emotionally charged, it's amazing. After the first part finishes, the song goes into this sort of looping, which is slowly overturned by the oddest guitar riff. EVER. That is then followed by the most incromphensible section of music, EVER, WRITTEN. I am still trying to figure how to play the drum parts. Then, that is followed by an insane bass solo, which is then followed by an insane funk jam. The song ends in an emotionally charged finale, which left me stunned the first time I heard it. Best song on the album, hands down. (11/10)

In the end, this was easily the best record of 2003. It was a nice thign to know prog is still popular among the young people. Of course, I was only about 11 years old at the time of its release. The musicianship is stellar, the writing is amazing, the lyrics are wacked out beyond recognition and the overall feel of the album is a mix of Floyd and King Crimson. These guys are definitely one of the best artists to come out in the 2000s.

An absolute masterpiece, without flaws.

High Points: Record

Low Points: N/A

Report this review (#173356)
Posted Monday, June 9, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars De-loused in the Comatorium is the debut album from The Mars Volta. A band that I have heard a lot about these past few years. I always assumed they were an emo band and therefore never gave them a chance ( I absolutely hate emo) but I must admit that it´s an error from my side as De-loused in the Comatorium is an excellent, innovative and progressive rock album. It has a very modern innovative sound that I like very much. There are actually traces of emo in the music which is mostly due to Cedric Bixler-Zavala´s distinc high pitched vocal style. Cedric is not your average emo rock singer though. The man has got a trick or two up his sleeve that´s for sure. The real mastermind of The Mars Volta is guitarist and main composer Omar Rodriguez-Lopez. He is a very skilled musician and composer with a clear vision of how he thinks his music should sound.

At first I was very impressed with the music on De-loused in the Comatorium but Cedric´s voice put me of a bit. After listening to De-loused in the Comatorium many times I have finally found the charm in Cedric´s voice. There was never a doubt in my mind that he is a brilliant singer but my tolerance for his vocal style took some time.

The music is vers chorus like rock but there is always a twist and sections with lots of strange guitar effects and other odd noises to keep the music exciting. Some of the songs does sound like they could be played on MTV in edited versions and here I would especially mention the extremely memorable Eriatarka. The Mars Volta can really create memorable choruses while still maintaining a progressive edge. Cicatriz ESP is for example 12:29 minutes long and has a long psychadelic/ spaced out middle section.

I would call the musicianship outstanding on De-loused in the Comatorium and especially the guitar playing and choice of notes from Omar Rodriguez-Lopez is really something special, but drums, bass, vocals and keyboards are all well played and powerful sounding.

The production is excellent. One of the best modern prog productions I have heard.Everything is right in the mix. I bet this one cost a lot of money.

The cover artwork is pretty weird but looks cool.

The Mars Volta has been a pleasant surprise for me and well worth my money even though I had my worries before this purchase. The emo influences are there as I had suspected but they are not the dominant part of the music. Experimental modern rock like this should be welcomed by any prog head who is in search of a new challenge. I´ll reward this album with 4 stars and recommend it to anyone who likes powerful, innovative, melodic and memorable music.

Report this review (#176638)
Posted Sunday, July 13, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Son et Lumiere. Upper atmospheric disturbance. A repeating motif, gently nudging the listener at first, then exploding into the buzz guitar violence of Inertiatic ESP. So this is how Mars Volta opts for an introduction: the intentions are immediately stated. The song is continuously twisting and turning, guitars alternatively squealing, hammering, and doing those Wes Montgomery-style octave-doubling solos. The vocals are not immediately pleasing to these ears, though we eventually reach entente.

As we move through the songs, the band displays an uncommon mastery of tempo, mood, and every trick any reasonable prog-pretender might hold up its sleeve: backwards tape-loop guitars; echoing guitars; Frippish layers of guitar; Mellotron influenced synth washes; aggressive rhythm section; the ability to take the listener from an end-of-the-runway 747 roar to the most blissed-out pastoral sort of burbling river bank, all within a matter of seconds.

By the time Cicatriz ESP rolls around, I've heard everything I expect from progressive music and more. But it turns out the band is just getting warmed up. Cicatriz is a dense, multi-faceted sort of prism of a song. Turn it one way and it's red hard rock. Turn it another and it's a blue-green symphony. The song eventually ventures into noise of sorts. I've heard better, but it's remarkable to hear noise again, noise having been out of style for wha? twenty/thirty years.

The album finshes strong with Televators, with its beautiful Siren-like melody that lures the listener right into the dangerous, brittle outcropping that is Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt, which again provides an almost voluptuous display of the band's mastery of the classic progressive forms.

I'm not particularly impressed with contemporary progressive rock, but Mars Volta is the exception rather than the rule. Deloused in the Comatorium is a remarkable prog album, all the more impressive in that it's their debut. Almost a 5, and highly recommended.

Report this review (#189181)
Posted Thursday, November 13, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars The Mars Volta's De-Loused in the Comatorium is TMV's crowning achievement. Yeah, they've released some pretty amazing albums since De-Loused (most notably The Bedlam in Goliath) but this album truly shows the Mars Volta as artists. De-Loused is TMV's version of less is more--they went from 5 core musicians on this album to a staggering 9 musicians by the time Amputechture was released. De-Loused is also full of catchy choruses (i.e. Inertiatic ESP and Roulette Dares) and has Omar's best and most creative playing to date. Having Rick Rubin at the producers helm is probably another reason why this album has a better feel to it then subsequent TMV discs: it is more polished and less dominated with honking saxophones and barrages of guitar noise. Even though Cedric is a pretty good vocalist Rick Rubin makes him sound stellar, his voice soring above the instrumentalists unlike other albums when his voice is overdubbed with strange effects that add to the noise, not enhance it. Another musician of note on here is Jon Theodore...a true monster on the skins. His John Bonham-meets-Bill Cobham style is mind-blowing. He can go from machine-gun fast proggy beats to a laid back rock groove in the blink of an eye. The way he and Omar react to each other dynamically is amazing (just listen to Drunkship of Lanterns or Cicatriz ESP to hear what I'm saying). In general, the musicianship on this disc kicks butt and is probably as closed to their live sound as they've gotten in a studio recording (except for the 32-minute Cassandra Gemini on Frances the Mute). In my opinion, there is not a wasted note on this modern masterpiece of prog rock. The way the Mars Volta incorporate elements of rock, punk, metal, jazz, funk, latin, and psychedelia into the mix here is original and no band even comes close to the energy and ingenious combination of styles that these guys employ on this album or any of there others.
Report this review (#189841)
Posted Tuesday, November 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Anyone can throw stuff at the wall and wait to see what sticks. And at first blush The Mars Volta can be misunderstood as doing just that. We know that they've created something underneath the apparent mess, but sometimes its difficult to understand just what it is. But just like classic Yes, The Mars Volta with DELOUSED show us that they are not just throwing stuff at the wall: they are very aware of the colors they choose from their palette and they can envision what they will look like when they're splashed over the abstractions already spattered there, even if they don't completely understand it, themselves. There is a certain deliberateness here, a melodic foundation that carries the work beyond pointless masturbation. But there is also a liberating willingness to explore within the confines of that deliberation, and it is here where Apollo and Dionysus are both given free reign; both chaos and order respected.

Take Eria Tarka for example. Listen to the melodic guitar plucking provide the base for an emotion at all times about to burst (and it will). Listen to the lead guitar whine its way over those notes not unlike a dolphin trying to find its way through a dark underwater cave. The undulations break into a chaotic barrage of riff and drum only to somehow find their way back home after the disruption's been given its time. Or Roulette Dares. Listen to the guitar frolic its way over the mellotron cloud as Cedric brings it all together with some subtle vocal stylings. Or the relentless buildups of Drunkship of Lanterns as each section fools you that it could be the real deal before seamlessly melting into another developmental section.

Unlike some of the band's later releases, everything here seems purposeful. Even the chaos. I'm not sure if the band knows what it all means, but that doesn't bother me. As long as they know that it means something.

Report this review (#189961)
Posted Wednesday, November 19, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars I remember sitting in the hallway outside my chemistry at 7:30 A.M. after getting a lot of new music from a friend of mine. I came across The Mars Volta, a band I certainly had not heard of before, and played the first of only two tracks that she gave me: Son et Lumiere. It was spacy, had crazy lyrics, and weird, aggressive distorted guitar attacks; I was hooked. Intertiatic ESP came next, and things really kicked into high gear. This was the most aggressive music I had ever listened to by this point, and it completely defied any conception I had about heavy music. By the time I discovered this band, Frances the Mute had just recently come out. I actually listened to that album before I completed the rest of Deloused, and in comparison, Deloused sounds almost mainstream. To me, that is an abhorrent term to use when describing this band because nothing about their chaotic style smacked of anything I'd ever heard, but this album is still very accessible. I think the best track on this album is the closer Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt. It has so much energy, the drums are nothing short of genius, the jam it becomes is sublime, and it ends with such force as to rip your head off. Televators is another favorite of mine. It just has a depressingly beautiful guitar line and great chorus as well. When I want to get pumped up, I put on Roulette Dares. I don't know of a louder, more aggressive opening to a song than that; it gets me every time. How could I forget the unbelievable Eriatarka or Cicatriz ESP, which has an insanely trippy interlude and an ending with about as much force as a 50-ton wrecking ball crashing down on your nuts. While I think Frances the Mute is a superior album, this album is brilliant as well. Every modern day prog rock fan must listen to this album. My entire perception of music was changed by this band, and I will never grow tired of listening to their stuff.
Report this review (#192248)
Posted Sunday, December 7, 2008 | Review Permalink
Eclectic Prog Team
5 stars The Mars Volta's first album is certainly their most consistent and easiest to digest; I almost wish I'd listened to this to get an idea of their sound rather than their later works. I avoided The Mars Volta for quite a long time, failing miserably to understand what people saw in this band. The music was so strident and noisy, and Bixler-Zavala's voice can be piercing at times. Due to a promotion at a store I frequent, I managed to acquire their second and third albums for under nine dollars. Upon hearing the music with a fresh mind (and through proper speakers), I came to find an awful lot I liked. Right from the start here, there is no question that these gentlemen are not just musicians, they are artists of sound. The vocalist, Cedric Bixler-Zavala has a voice quite similar to that of Geddy Lee, but has its own distinct qualities that make it stand apart. Omar Rodriguez-Lopez is quite simply one of the most innovative and imaginative guitarists I've heard in a long time. Together (and with a hell of a band and an arsenal of sound effects), this is a group whose music I could only succinctly describe as structured chaos.

"Son et Lumiere" Atmospheric noises and an electric piano give the listener a brief and deceptive preview of this album. The effects over Bixler-Zavala's vocals are well done (even though they won't always be).

"Inertiatic ESP" The short piece before ends with a punctuated rhythm that flows right into this. This song is loaded with energy. It does a good job of summing up the whole tenor of the band while being a highly creative effort in its own right.

"Roulette Dares (The Haunt Of)" This one goes from soft, mellow passages to loud and insane guitar work. There is an almost classic rock sound during the chorus. Rodriguez-Lopez delivers some very experimental guitar work, full of strange noises and frantic drumming. The ending is full of mellow guitar and bass, with the singer vocalizing now and then over it.

"Tira Me a las Arañas" This short interlude consists of spacey sound effects and a rickety acoustic guitar. It serves as an introduction to next song.

"Drunkship of Lanterns" Tribal drumming lends this a primitive sound, but Rodriguez-Lopez's guitar tone initially gives this the feel of a surf-rock song. At times, the noises can be grating and irritating, and the arrangement is sometimes unbalanced. Still, it's a wild and fun song.

"Eriatarka" One of the greatest moments on not only this album, but in the entire discography from The Mars Volta, "Eritarka" shows the band at both their mellowest and their most ferocious. The verses are beautiful, quite frankly, and the build between the first verse and the chorus is epic, and when Bixler-Zavala sings the chorus, he sounds absolutely commanding. The instrumentation is hyperactive but under control. The first chorus gives way to some noisy business and slide guitar before Rodriguez-Lopez guides the listener to the second verse with a simple but skilled solo. The bridge is well done, with frightening lyrics.

"Cicatriz ESP" The longest track has a bouncy rhythm throughout most of it and the vocal melodies are highly memorable. During the instrumental sections, the bass playing stands out a bit. Everything is fantastic here- the drumming, the guitars, and even the sound effects have their timely places within the piece. The arrangement gives everything room to breathe, and after listening to this one, it's hard to fathom that twelve-and-a-half minutes just went by.

"This Apparatus Must Be Unearthed" Sound effects bridge the previous song seamlessly to this one. There's a lot of slightly annoying guitar at first, but when Bixler-Zavala begins singing (and with those weird effects on his voice), I am always reminded that I am in for yet another treat. The verses sound a bit like jazz rock, but it's not long before the band revs up again and lets it rip. The final moments, however, involve mindless percussion.

"Televators" Another of my absolute favorites from not just this album, but the whole of The Mars Volta's work, "Televators" represents the band at their most sedated, and features some disturbingly harrow yet obscure lyrics. Compared to everything else on this album, this song is very straightforward, with a verse, chorus, and bridge setup, unusual for this group.

"Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt" One final exotic cacophony ends this magnificent and avant-garde heavy progressive rock album. Once more the vocal melodies are largely memorable, and the guitar work and tone stays fresh throughout. In the span of less than nine minutes, the band uses every stamp they have to make this track one of the most representative songs of their history. Peculiarly, the album ends in an abrupt halt.

Report this review (#192257)
Posted Sunday, December 7, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars You should have seen...

Updated in 06/20/11 to match my personal review structure with an improvement (see below), enjoy :)


Let's start from the improvement: previous review focused in what the disc had to offer, now I want to talk in more detali about it. Before I made the comparision between this album and Fripp's ProjeKcts, what a mistake! Cedric Bixler-Zavala & Omar Rodriguez-Lopez founded this group recordin this disc after a live tour where they used to play some improvvisations and this was the main reason beyond the compare.

Main Theme

Apart from the meaning of the songs, and forget about the explaination of the various musical passages: the whole thing is really frustrating even if someone can appreciate the work from a reviewer maybe after 400+ someone who talks about what the music do in the album isn't quite in theme. Anyway the whole album brings with him some fresh air in the prog scene, and while TMV are tagged as Heavy Prog, their music isn't so simple to understand: the experimentations from the live dates evolved in a complex carpet of music which shows himself mostly in the first five tracks, while from Eriatarka to the end we got a more ''common'' sound (still we got a lot of soundscapes movements), just to focus the attention of the listener in the comcept and the tragic suicide of Cerpin Taxt.


The first time I've given to this De-louses 4 stars, the reason was simple: I had in mind the comparision which I was talking at the beginning of this review, after a lot of time I've came up with the conclusion that 5 stars is a more appropiate rating and the excellent work from this group is a masterpiece of music!

Report this review (#194395)
Posted Friday, December 19, 2008 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
5 stars 'De-Loused In The Comatorium' - The Mars Volta (8.5/10)

There aren't many bands that have released a work worthy of being called a masterpiece in their careers. There are even fewer bands who release their debut album, and it's almost instantaneously called an essential album. The Mars Volta have accomplished this, and in doing so, crafted one of the few essential albums of the new milenium, up there with Pain of Salvation's 'Remedy Lane,' Porcupine Tree's 'Deadwing' and Devin Townsend's 'Terria.'

The album has a more raw tone then the later releases, and the album benefits from this, giving it something of a punk/indie feel, with a touch of The Mars Volta's father band, At The Drive-In. As far as compositions go, the songwriting is tighter then the band's other masterpiece, 'Frances The Mute.' But there is a great level of 'weirdness' to be experienced with this music.

Songs like 'Inertiatic ESP' have alot of energy, and work really well to craft the album into what it is. The album's last song, 'Take The Veil Cerpin Taxt' is my favourite song on the album; it's one part emotional and energetic and another part relaxed psychedelic jam. Very good stuff.

Another great song of mention is the depressing ballad 'Televators.' It took me a while to get into, but it's really a beautiful song, and a sign that shows The Mars Volta know how to write a really good song.

'De-Loused In The Comatorium' is a great album, and although not all prog fans will be able to appreciate it, at the very least, it's definately worth checking out.

Report this review (#205545)
Posted Thursday, March 5, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars De-loused in the Comatorium is an amazing album, and it's hard for anyone to NOT see the genius in it. It is the Mars Volta's first album, and is a concept album. It is based on a short story by Cedric Bixler-Zavala, which in turn is based on a real life event that happened to a friend of theirs, I believe. By the way, the story itself is absolutely amazing, even though it can be quite hard to follow at times, as it speaks exclusively in metaphors.

This album is full of wonderful flavour, it brings originality with each different songs. The songs on the album sound very latin influenced, with progressiveness, jazz fusion, and even a bit of punk in there from the At the Drive-In days. Deloused in the Comatorium is basically one single song that is broken into separate tracks narrating the things happening to the main character, Cerpin-Taxt.

Just to say, the Mars Volta, while not a Metal band, is quite heavy and loud and fast. They come from a punk band, and their music is quite chaotic sounding, but it does slow down in parts, primarily to allow for experimentation of bizarre sounds in a Pink Floyd-ish kind've feel.

Overall, this is their best album, and is very rewarding to listen to. I also highly recommend reading the story the album is based off of, it will take your mind places.

Report this review (#207969)
Posted Saturday, March 21, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars De-loused in the Comatorium is the album that burst The Mars Volta out into the alternative rock scene. Though the band can be described as a blend between large amounts of alternative rock, jazz, and several genres of prog including avant-garde and psychadelia, they received lots of praise mostly in the alternative realm for their unique sound and many ideas for the album. Although there are plenty of good parts of this album, sometimes the ideas communicated sound immature, though the musicianship of the band is not something to be underestimated.

Possibly the only aspects of De-loused in the Comatorium that hold it back is the standard song structure and the reliance on hooks and melodies. Verses and choruses are repeated in place of sonic exploration (Though "Cicatriz ESP" and "Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt" do a decent job of it), and that is what gives the album a more mainstream edge to it. Also, like mainstream music, there are plenty of weird melodies and 'beats' that, as unusual or quirky as they are, are meant to pull in lovers of more mainstream music.

Of course, this album is far from poor quality. The Mars Volta prove their creativity with their unique genre in which they cannot be pigeonholed, which is their greatest strength. Cedric Bixler-Zavala sings in an upper register in a unique tone, though somewhat irritating at times. That's okay, because there is also some quirky guitar work a la Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, which over time reveals a stunning beauty in the seemingly random or thoughtless choice of notes. The drums add tons to the album, with unusual latin-esque or jazzy drumming, and never a note is ill-placed in the percussion section, fitting in perfectly with the already unique sound of the band.

De-loused, although somewhat undeveloped in ideas, shows some great work by The Mars Volta, a clearly talented band. People looking for something new should definetely check this album out.

Report this review (#218759)
Posted Friday, May 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars One of the most acclaimed albums for the fans and all people around the world, I really have to say that it's a great album taking the influences of bands of the 70' era, and with a little bit of alternative rock and some punk-rock, at that time where things were not originals, The Mars Volta comes with this new proposal, to see who will accept them, and guess what?, now are among the bands most famous progressive rock that exist today. I think cedric's voice on this album is one of his best performances in his career, really worth listening to this album, one of the most acclaimed bands of our time, then come best albums of TMV, but this is a great debut.

eriatarka and televators---for me, The best songs from this album..

Report this review (#221482)
Posted Tuesday, June 16, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album's been discussed on pretty much any site that deals in 21st century rock music and a seemingly infinite number of blogs, so I'll try to keep this review fairly short.

Most people will tell you that this is THE Mars Volta album and the one that they will never be able to top. I however strongly disagree with that sentiment since I believe they've already topped it (twice as of the date that I write this review). Nevertheless, this is a monumental achievement from one of the most experimental acts in the beginning of the 21st century and one of the more popular rock acts out there. I remember reading how Omar, back in his days from At the Drive-In, discussed how the guitar was an instrument he absolutely hated, so he started adding sound effects to it so it wouldn't sound like the instrument he despised so much. For those who have heard Relationship of Command by ATDI this seems like the next logical step that the band would have taken, except they had split up and Cedric and Omar decided to go off in their own direction.

Overall this is some pretty heavy rocking music with experimental sounds every now and then. One of my issues with TMV is that while they are one of my favorite bands, I think they're best when they're trying to simply rock out, not when they start throwing in long psychedelic jams with weird sound effects every 3 seconds (I think there are other bands that utilize unique sounds much better than TMV often does). Some of the jams on this album work, but the one that bugs me and that I've never been able to get over is the one in the middle of the longest song on the album, Cicatriz ESP. And given the fact that this jam takes up the bulk/main section of the song, I'm bound to be frustrated by it. If they simply removed that jam, this would be a 5 star album. But because it's there, it never will be for me, so I have to give this 4 instead.

Report this review (#222788)
Posted Tuesday, June 23, 2009 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
4 stars One of the most ferociously original heavy prog bands of the new millennium.

The Mars Volta blazed onto the scene with this incredible debut album that was unlike anything we had ever heard, borrowing elements from free form jazz, to heavy riffing and psychedelia, every track becomes part of the whole. The conceptual framework is based on the heavy sense of alienation and loss of sanity.

The intro, Son et Lumiere, is a rather hypnotic guitar motif that introduces the next track. Inertiatic ESP includes the repetitive vacals, "Now I'm lost..." over fast guitar work and raucous off kilter drum patterns. The lead instrumental section is strange and frenetic and became a signature trademark of the band's inemitable style.

Roulette Dares (The Haunt of) is a lengthy track that twists and turns in a myriad of musical directions. The vocal performance of Cedric Bixler-Zavala is monotone and estranged, at times sounding like Led Zeppelin or Muse, and hard to pin down in sections. There is a complexity of musical styles underlying each track that rises and falls in crescendos. The lyrics are non sensical but become part of the performance as we hear of 'exoskeletal judges at the railroad...' whatever it means, it becomes an extension of the soundscape.

Drunkship of Lanterns is a highlight with the abrupt guitar riffs of Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and quirky jazz drums and metrical patterns of Jon Theodore that would send any metronome into overdrive. At times the pace is chaotic and this is balanced with moments of quiet beauty. "Is anybody there.. nobody's hurt" Bixler-Zavala wails in desperation. The invigorating display of group dynamics is evident on the excellent Eriatarka, with an interplay of guitar and bass and unexpected elements of jazz fusion thrown in the mix. It begins with bird calls and ends on a long somber note.

Cicatriz ESP is the killer 12 minute mini epic that begins on one riff and ends on another, frenetic and immersed in clanging guitars and bass. The surging keyboards add to the effect of guitar heavy sounds feeling at times like free rock improv.

Televators is another highlight and a softer track than the others almost entirely acoustic. This prepares us for the intensity of Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt. The sound is very unfriendly at times and not for all tastes but its a wash of heavy guitars and screaming vocals with many abrupt stop and starts in the music. The electric modalities are undisputably progressive and their are virtuosic leaps of guitar mastery that express the chaotic atmosphere. It all becomes isolated in a drone towards the end

The conclusion is this is a debut album any progger would be proud of. It set the scene for great things to come with 'Frances The Mute', the best of the band, and the excellent 'Amputechture'. The Mars Volta should not be ignored and this would appeal to anyone who love their prog unusual and heavy and laced with lashings of the psychedelic.

Report this review (#223177)
Posted Thursday, June 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album will always hold a special place in my love of prog. This is essentially the album that got me into prog. I had listened to Rush and Jethro Tull for a long time and loved both those bands, but did not know that they where prog. I discovered The Mars Volta by complete accident. Saw this album for ten bucks new at a record store and thought what the hell, I've heard a few people mention it, I'll check it out.

The album blew me away. Never had I heard such a fresh and open approach making music. The soundscapes are unbelievable on this album. Omars guitar is brilliant, Cedrics voice is very unique. The whole band plays so well. As someone else stated in one of thier reviews, I believe it was Epignosis, these guys aren't just musicians but sound artist.

I got this album a few years after it first came out and since then I have branched out my musical taste. I invstigated various prog bands, from the classics, to the underground, to the obscure, because of this album.

Every song is crafted with such care and attention to sonic detail. The mixture of south american influences, metal, jazz, pychedilia and classic prog creates a very rewarding listening experience.

When we younger proggers are grandpas/ grandmas and our grand children ask us what we listened to, we will mention our love of prog. And though we will talk of the great early prog bands, I have a felling we will also mention The Mars Volta and how Deloused in the Comatarium was a breath of fresh air and a masterpiece that stands along the likes of Fragile, Selling England, In the Court of the Crimson King, etc.

Report this review (#223787)
Posted Monday, June 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars De-loused in the Comatorium begins with an intro song named Son et Lumiere, which builds up tension very well. The tension is achieved with three things - the steady melody in the background, Cedric Bixler-Zavala's controlled singing and the surprising sonic blasts that just come out of nowhere and vanish as fast as they came. The lyrics are weird and cryptic (and that stays the same during the whole album's length) and I won't go analyzing them, someone already did that (chrisjeffs). Anyways, Son et Lumiere being the song it is - an intro, that is, it of course goes seamlessly together with the beginning of the next song.

Well, if the sonic blasts (that's how I call 'em, I don't know any proper terms, ha. I'm not an native speaker, forgive me!) of Son et Lumiere hit you like a punch in the face then Inertiatic ESP (no, the ESP doesn't refer to the guitar brand... at least I think so.) is like a cannonball to the stomach - now it really goes "BOOM!". Cedric unleashes his "slightly" feminine voice and goes... very high (hehe, pun... not intended?) with it. That may be a bit hard to swallow for some people but at least it's different and makes Mars Volta distinctive. A pretty common thing for Mars Volta songs is the use of some kinda "snare-machineguns" (my own term, again) and this makes no exception. But they fit the songs usually, them being as intense as the songs, too. After the "now I'm lost"-chorus (...chorus) comes a weird-sounding guitar solo (you know, dissonances etc.), followed by a nice-sounding part in which the singing is supported by a nice tremolo. Inertiatic ESP is about 4 min long and probably one of the most easiest song to understand with it's almost radio single -type structure.

The next song is Roulette Dares (The Haunt Of). It begins with a little tension-building intro and then it just explodes into full chaos. The good type, of course. And after this, a mellow part (with a sudden volume change - The Volta doesn't usually build them). And then the theme repeats. And then we get to an eccentric guitar solo which is backed with an tight drum beat. Then... Some kind of a verse from which we move onto the rollercoaster of volumes. A fast squeeze, a laid-back jamming part, a variation of the theme (with awesome drums!). As I said, the song is a rollercoaster of volume levels but that doesn't mean it hasn't got the soul or the hook - it's got both and it's awesome.

And then there is an interlude named Tira Me a las Arañas in which acoustic guitar is used (!) along the basic effect pedal jamming. And then there's a weird, intensifying noise. The song isn't really anything special, but it builds up for the next song and it maybe gives a little rest between the songs.

Drunkship of Lanterns is the next song. A wonderful bongo-drumset-intro-thingy supports the pretty funky feeling of the whole song and of course Cedric does an awesome job with the singing, too. After the intro we get some "dialogue" kinda thing, you know, question - answer -structure. And then the theme recurs with bongos getting into a dominating position once again. Then a cool guitar solo and drums that are played with an animalish intensity. Towards the end there appears some "noise"-things and even though noise sounds negative in a sense, the parts fit the song very well.

Eriatarka is the next song and as far as I know many have it as their favorite song from the album. It begins with four snare hits which are followed by slower, mellower floating in another worlds... An ethereal part, should I say. Then tension begans to build and it's released when the chorus comes. Then... Weird soundscapes and oh, so wonderful ethereal worlds. Love 'em. Cedric's voice is controlled and maybe easier to digest than in the fast parts. A bridge to the chorus, whose tension level is just amazing. That is being followed by an different part - some kind of a fusion of the ethereal spheres and pure power. Then the chorus, then eth--no, what the hell is happening? Some kind of church bells? A radio doesn't work? What the--

Cicatriz ESP, the first "epic" on the album. The first verse is wonderful, until it suddenly stops. Completely. A silent noise... resembling a helicopter, maybe? KABOOM! The chorus blasts! Then a more controlled part, again. Some jamming. Some very cool jamming, I mean. That is followed by many minutes of ambient worlds, a nice break and a journey into mysterious places. A guitar solo and the theme repeated once again. All in all Cicatriz is a nicely controlled but still diverse package which maintains the theme during the whole song.

The next song is This Apparatus must be Unearthed which is pretty rollercoasterish, too. But this song has volume changes that are built up, too! Not only sudden changes... even though they are not absent, either. The vocal melodies of this song are very good, I think, and they are very emotional, too. This is one of the shortest proper songs in the album - I'm not counting the intro or the interlude. That doesn't mean that this would be simple, no, actually this has much more variety than what Inertiatic ESP has. Maybe even the six-minute long Eriatarka is more accessible than this one. Nevertheless, this maintains the awesome quality of the whole album.

Televators is the next song. It's maybe the only ballad (Mars Volta -style ballad, of course, this is no basic song either) on the disc and... it's the most emotional and beautiful song on the disc. Electric guitar doesn't dominate, the only drums are bongo drums, acoustic guitar is used during the whole song and the backing vocals support the melodies very well. Very good, very good, certainly the most beautiful song on the disc and one of the most beautiful songs what Mars Volta has.

Now, this is a part what I've been waiting for. Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt, my personal favorite of the whole Mars Volta song catalogue. The feeling is just awesome and the frantic vocals in the first verse are something that differ from the other vocals. Not completely, but still enough. They give a nice touch to the verse... "You take the veil"-chorus is very Mars Volta -ish (speaking of style and intensity, sounds etc.) and that includes of course complete awesomeness. Then we got a chaotic mess of sounds as an some kind of a interlude, just to be followed by a blast, a wonderful verse. The next part is an ambient -thingy, very nicely fitting into the song, I think. And then, one of my favorite parts Mars Volta has ever done - the robotic part! The guitar sounds like a robot and it's supported with a wacky drum beat. Just... great. Then a bass thingy, which is soon supported by the whole instrumental section. A very funky part, if you will. Very easy-going in a sense. Slowly we wander to the massive nuclear explosion preceded by before mentioned "snare-machinegun". This is a recurring theme, too. Then very intense howls are heard... Cedric succeeds (again)! The end is very frantic and chaotic... a brilliant ending.

De-Loused in the Comatorium is besides a brilliant debut also an awesome album. On this album Mars Volta has achieved the essence they have yet to achieve again in the future - when every song is a masterpiece. Not too short, or, as many times a problem for Volta songs, too long, usually caused by too much jamming. Songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Omar Rodriguez-Lopéz has composed 10 masterpieces which are hectic, but musically very deep and multilayered. Nobody who dares to explore and listen to new things open-mindedly should miss this piece of art. But you are warned - don't set any expectations about the music, or if you set, you should be careful because those exceptations probably shatter to pieces already when Inertiatic ESP blasts on. One of the best albums ever and that is an even more respectable achievement for a debut. Listen to it.

PS. If you've seen this on Rate your music written by Exodeus, it's me, don't worry. :D

Report this review (#224198)
Posted Thursday, July 2, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars The first and best album by this band! Nothing needs to be said about the history of this band as other reviewers have done so before, so the only question to answer is why is this album and band so good?

Overall, it is down to originality and excitement their fusion of hardcore, classic progressive elements, odd time signatures and recurring themes, psychedelia and some interesting latin american influenced guitar work bred an intoxicating album. For me intoxicating is the best descriptor of this band and when they are at their best the dark trippy atmosphere and imagery take over the senses like few bands seem to do nowadays.

This album to me also finds them at their loosest, after this Rodriguez-Lopez took more control over writing each part, but on this album each member is able to shine than on subsequent albums. This rings particularly true for the drummer who's explosive fills driving beats push the album forward and the keyboardist who's opening ascending keyboard theme sets the tone for the rest of the album.

An excellent record which really actually manages to take you to some of those dark places that the concept describes.

Report this review (#227107)
Posted Thursday, July 16, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars While they don't quite start out with a bang, it'll come soon enough.

I'll be honest, if I were any bit smarter, I would have entered the Mars Volta's musical world through this album. If I did, I'd easily give a masterpiece rating to it. However, I got started through AMPUTECHTURE, and unfortunately, DE-LOUSED ended up not being that much of a surprise.

That's what makes the Mars Volta such a powerful band to first time listeners; the surprise factor. Listeners will be lulled into a beautiful guitar figure at the beginning of ''Son et Lumiere'' until the band just spontaneously explodes; before you know it, we're right into ''Inertiatic ESP'' with that same intensity. And just as quickly as the sound swelled to ear-piercing, it just as quickly recedes to a tangible, sane level until feeling the urge to go nuts again. The band constantly pulls these sound dips (where the dynamics drop to sane softness for some time until the intensity is regained) throughout the album to great effect.

The effect is worked very wondrously on ''Eriatarka'', probably my favourite track out of the whole bunch. After the ambient stuff ending ''Drunkship of Lanterns'', a schizoid guitar riff just erupts from out of nowhere, and before you can curse, it gives way to a peaceful verse section. After free flowing for a bit, it steadily climbs back to the dynamics in the beginning, yet this time preparing the listener for the onslaught. And this happens several times throughout the song with Cedric's voice knowing exactly how to be effective.

Sometimes the craziness can get too out of hand like on ''This Apparatus Must Be Unearthed'', sometimes the psychedelic ambiences get too long-winded like on ''Cicatriz ESP'', and in many cases, songs end in odd, out-of-place twiddling. But, the sounds, ideas and intensity overwrite many of the faults. I don't feel like getting in depth into any more songs, but to briefly give other highlights, ''Drunkship of Lanterns'' has wild percussion parts running about and ''Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt'' is a perfect closer with one of the weirdest sounding guitar solos I've ever heard. If this is you're first Mars Volta album, be prepared to be blown away. Else, you've heard this kind of style before only not quite as complex.

It will pain me, but not hearing this first in the Mars Volta discography makes me drop the rating to four. I can't find it in me to give any higher rating.

Report this review (#235602)
Posted Friday, August 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars First off this album gets a five star rating because aside from being an amazing prog masterpiece there is for me alot of sentimental value to it. This album is beautifull because it just brings so much to the table, it has alot of emotion, its production was nothing less than incredible, the song writing is very unique and in your face yet can be gentle (televators), the vocals are very well placed, and of course who can forget that helicopter in Cicatrez E.S.P

De-loused is pulled together by its constantly changing atmosphere, though mostly in your face it often times feels more like an excited friend that has big news and stops for air sometimes than an enemy that just wants to see you cry. the small pauses of "breath" is what sets it apart from the mars volta's other album, in future albums you have to stay on your toes the whole album because if you dont you will be mentaly kicked in the face,

All in all i recommend it for the prog fan who cares nothing of making sense of lyrics and has a bit more of a crazy dance side to them

Report this review (#248076)
Posted Wednesday, November 4, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Enough has been written about this album. All I can do is try to summarize my feelings for The Mars Volta and De-loused in the Comatorium.

This is the benchmark for all progressive rock that will be done in the first century of this millennium. Our children will grow tired of us moaning about how much better The Mars Volta were than the newer school of rock and roll in the future.

It features top of the line musicianship and almost unparalleled rock-drumming from Mr. Theodore. If you like the opening songs, just go ahead and get it and never look back. However, do not believe too much of this band. Peel back the phenomenally crisp and clean production and you are still left with an earth shattering album, true. But look even further in and you might cringe at the absurd amounts of pretentiousness and polish in their music.

For me The Mars Volta is the best rock band in the world, theoretically. In practice they are just another gang of crazy, crazy, crazy skilled musicians who have their ups and downs. The fault lies in me never being able to measure them on their own merit instead of the unreasonable hype that surround them. When it comes down to it, I don't "feel" their music, I'm merely impressed by it.

This is my only review of any of The Mars Volta's releases, made so I can have my peace with them. Yes, they are as good as you've heard. Move along, nothing to see here.

(I can't in good conscience give this album a five star rating after all I've written above; no matter how important and fantastic it may be. In theory; yes it deserves five stars--in practice; hells nay!) 4/5

Report this review (#251856)
Posted Friday, November 20, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
5 stars 21st Century Schizoid Prog

Overwhelming, excessive, nerve-shattering, unique, emotive, innovative, original, boundary-breaking, progressive. This might well be the first album since the early 70's that corresponds to every possible definition of what progressive rock is about. And the best thing of all is that it reached far beyond usual prog audiences. Together with Porcupine Tree this is a band that makes you proud to be a prog-rock fan.

The music is so tremendous that I kind of feel out of place to analyze everything that is going on here. What this music demonstrates is an experience of totally free musical expression that is nevertheless wrought into something consistent and catchy.

Much like King Crimson's and Yes's early albums you have the feeling this band takes you on a rollercoaster ride through musical fairyland, taking you just anywhere they want. Yet, with attractive melodies and strong compositions, they always bring you back on your feet in the nicest possible way. Even though you might be left slightly dizzy from the experience you're quite sure it was the most exciting trip throughout.

This album is every bit as defining and excellent as In the Court of the Crimson King, Foxtrot, Close to the Edge and Dark Side of The Moon were 30 years earlier. And it looks like Mars Volta are equally successful commercially. Well deserved. Pure bliss.

Report this review (#252308)
Posted Monday, November 23, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The Mars Volta debut album is kind of explosion on a sleepy world. They mixed heavy psychedelic with acoustic sound with trash explosions with dreamy synth loops and sounds in dangerous mix! If John Zorn is Zappa of modern world, The Mars Volta debut just informed us that (at least) new King Crimson ( of XXI century) is born.

I believe some people love their music and many hate them. It is even more than normal - it happened with Frank Zappa years ago , and even now he is love/hate figure ( believe me, I am living in only city in the world where monument to Frank Zappa is built).

Speaking about music, I love their chaos, noise and acoustic /melodic beauty, nervous voice and unfocused sound. I am not happy with muddy sound and bad sound mix, but I believe that even that gave to the album even more freaky atmosphere.

I own almost all TMV and Omar Rodriguez-Lopes solo works, and I can confirm that I enjoy almost all of them. But speaking about music, this album isn't best, as many think. IMO, their best work to time is next, second album. Better sound, a bit more better focused, with more targeted energy, it is the real gem. But in sense of historical importance, this debut is absolutely piece of art ( and a child of it's crazy, nervous, dirty, agressive and beautiful time).

One of the most important prog albums of XXI century ( at least - it first decade).

Report this review (#257166)
Posted Monday, December 21, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I don't remember quite why I came around to buying this album. I had become interested in At the Drive In, and knew Cedric & Omar had moved on to stretch their musical boundaries.

But this was a surprise. This wasn't punk, this wasn't emo or screamo or whatever alternative scene that ATDI was part of. You could hear where ATDI could have gone if the rest of the band had gone along with Omar & Cedric. But that was only part of it.

Once I started to listen to the album, I was playing it a few times a week for about a month. And the only way I could describe it to my friends was that it was a smashing combination of Rush, Santana, Pink Floyd, played with a punkish energy that belied what most outsiders thought prog could or should sound like.

This is not heavy rock. This is experimental almost metal with a restraint that the band would not show until Octahedron.

If you loved Rush's ability to write 15-20 minute suites with a slew of hard hitting riffs, then this is worth your time & money. Just imagine the latin feel of Santana added to the mix. 'Cause the Mars Volta pulled it off perfectly on this record.

Too bad they quickly lost the ability to know when a riff or melody was played out and to move on to the next musical idea.

And yes, this did match the pantheon of Prog masterpieces and will remain so. If only more bands were able to break through. And of course, if only TMV had continued to do so.

Report this review (#257191)
Posted Monday, December 21, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars This was probably the best debut of the decade which also marked a new trend in the development of mainstream rock music. De-loused in the Comatorium is the first and so far most satisfying release by The Mars Volta and after buying the CD I played the album like crazy for an entire month.

What actually surprised me the most about this album is that its popularity transcended the regular prog/art-rock community and actually got its way into the mainstream media. Actual people that I hang around with who don't usually enjoy art-music were really enjoying De-loused in the Comatorium!

Over the course of the next couple of years the popularity of this album has increased even more which might have to do with the ever-changing direction that the band has been known on their later releases. This might even have made this album look better than what it actually is.

I'd like to summarize by saying that this debut might not be an essential release for fans of prog rock but it doesn't hurt including it in your collection.

***** star songs: Son Et Lumiere (1:35) Inertiatic ESP (4:24) Roulette Dares (The Haunt Of) (7:31) Cicatriz ESP (12:29)

**** star songs: Tira Me A Las Arañas (1:29) Drunkship Of Lanterns (6:20) Eriatarka (7:06) This Apparatus Must Be Unearthed (4:58) Televators (6:19) Take The Veil Cerpin Taxt (8:42)

Report this review (#259555)
Posted Wednesday, January 6, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars 9/10

"De-loused In The Comatorium" is a crazy masterpiece that is one of the highest works in modern progressive.

This is an album that I loved, then it irritated me a bit, and now I love it again, more than before. "Deloused" is certainly the best Mars Volta album, and one of the best album of the decade.

The album is classified sometimes as Heavy Prog, but the band has many influences, such as metal, jazz, latin music, Hard Rock, and electronic. Only for convenience we can define them as Heavy Prog, or just Progressive Rock.

The album is very well structured: ten songs, some short, some are longer, but it manages to stay long ( more than an hour of music).

The album has a brief, but interesting intro, "Son Et Lumiere", which is connected with the second song, "Intertiatic ESP", one of the best songs of the album: catchy, extremely wild, bizarre, and with many time changes. And it lasts only four minutes.

"Roulette Dares" is a bit longer, seven minutes. Here the artistic level is even higher, more time changes, more experimentation, and even better melodies than the previous track. Definitely one of the best songs of the band.

"Tira Me A Las Aranas" is another brief track, an interlude with an interesting guitar playing. "Drunkship Of Lanterns" is another wild song, with great melodies, awesome chorus. Even this one is pretty long, seven minutes. It has some even wider experimentation than " Roulette Dares", and it is slightly better.

"Eriatarka" is a little shorter, (6 minutes), and the experimentation isn't as good as the previous track, but the melody improves, no doubt. I never was into this track, now I love it.

"Cicatriz ESP" is the longest song of the album (12 minutes), and it's perfectly structured: the first couple of minutes there's the main melody, and the chorus, but after all the experimentation starts, and the tone is a lot lightened: no more wild moments here, where we can find some exquisite jazz influences. When a few minutes remain, the song goes back to the main melody, and it finishes. Brilliant.

"The Apparatus Must Be Unheard" has probably the best melody of the album. The experimentation is weak with this one, but still, the melody saves it all. Very catchy, but it is very underrated for a song.

"Televators" is what comes closer to a ballad, since there are no drums in this one. But the atmosphere is incredibly tense, certainly the most tense song of the album. That is why this song is a key track.

"Take The Veil Cerpin Taxt" is the final song. If I had to choose the song that I like the least, it probably would be this one. It is not a bad song though; good experimentation, great melodies. And I use to hate this song as well.

The album is wonderful, an absolute masterpiece, one of those albums that completely blows you away. I recommend it to whoever loves music.

Report this review (#263248)
Posted Friday, January 29, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars The Mars Volta is a very admired band around this places and this is one of the highest rated albums from the century so I'm been analyzing this album last couple of days trying to get what's so special about it. Special? Yeah, sure... in a good way? Well...

In this album, the band presents a strange and somewhat original combination of progressive complex arrangements with alternative rock flavor, some latin phrases (bad constructed in my opinion) and a lot of noises surrounding the compositions in a suffocating way. They are talented musicians, yes, sure they are but the music is not that good. Seems like music without direction and cohesiveness (that word exists?)

Now, my first complain is the singer. Of course that is something subjective but I can't really dig in more with his annoying lead vocals, too much theatrical and exaggerated. The music did not seem to flow that well. Sometimes you wait for the noises to stop and the music actually continues... The sound is more close to alternative rock than to prog, which is not necessarily bad but then again, the suffocation of the music is under all that noises that do not seem to have a purpose more than annoy the listener.

I advise this album for fans of heavy prog, who want to have something more elaborated or complex than the late 90's and 00's bands that seems to be comfortable with a relaxed (kind of boring) alternative rock with some long arrangements. This music is sure not meant to anyone, because it gets really annoying after a complete listening. I didn't felt good about it, but I understand that the concept seems to shake other people. The mix is saturated, maybe is on purpose, but it sound unproffessional mixing. The sound is annoying as well, so, maybe the good ideas get down during the process.

Try a couple of tracks first... If you can deal with the singer vocals, you can progress with them. But for the production and the not stimulating formula they use (at least in me) I think this band can be ignored or passed down. I'm curious about their rest of the material, but I doubt I will like them more. Who knows. Two stars if fair, music is not that bad (when there are no noises around) and I know fans are worshiping this production, but it don't move me, just made me want to push stop several times.

Report this review (#269434)
Posted Wednesday, March 3, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Along with Phideaux's, Doomsday Afternoon, this is my favorite album of the new millienium so far. I feel that this album, for me at least, seems to have had the same effect as Marillion's Script for a Jester's Tear did in revitilizing Prog music. THis album had been reviewed countless times so Ican't contribute much more except to say that it has no weak point from beginning to end! On some later Mars Volta works, the amount of "background" noise and "non-music" gets az little annoying but not here. Everything falls into place with the masterpiece Cicatriz ESP in the center to hold it together. Everything on this album is excellent from the lyrics, to the concepts, to the musicians (Volta and Chili Peppers). This gets a rare 5 stars from me. By the time I have finished all my reviews, there may be only 8-10 perfect 5stars for me. THis is a solid one of those!
Report this review (#273586)
Posted Monday, March 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Almost every album by The Mars Volta seems to split fan opinion. Each album has its harsh detractors and it staunch defenders, each line-up chance fuels new debates about the suitability and quality of the new line up, and its subsequent effect on the album. Many Mars Volta fans find one album too heavy to enjoy, many more find another too progessive, many fans think one album goes too far and another not far enough. One thing almost all fans of The Mars Volta, or curious half fans can agree on however, is Deloused in the Comatorium. The bands ambitious 2003 debut studio album is an amazing record demonstrating everything that is wonderful about this intelligent and inventive collective of musicianships while displaying virtually none of the perceived flaws of the band's more decisive later albums. Its difficult to put into words why Deloused in the Comatorium is so universally recognised for its genius, the best way I can explain it is that it is THE WAY do everything on Deloused which is so great. The band write complex, baffling and challenging lyrics on all of their albums, but THE WAY they are written here is very appealing. The band write long; unconventionally structured songs, with many different often opposing segments crossing over, with a broad range of extra instruments such as Synths, Saxes and Samples but THE WAY music is written here, none of these aspects are ever irritating to the ear, distracting from the main body of the song The band always have a progressive rock influence, a noisy rock influence and a Latin music influence but THE WAY these styles are combined on Deloused is absolutely perfect. What Deloused in the Comatorium essentially has going for it, when you remove all layers of concept albums, fan and critical reception, comparison to their later work and hype? is a fantastic album full of creative and entertaining songs of the sheer highest quality. Deloused is a masterpiece, its as simple as that. Highlights include concert favourite 'Roulette Dares(The Haunt Of)' with its energetic beginning and brooding ending; the twelve minute 'Cicatriz ESP,' and the haunting slow number 'Televators.' To summarise, Deloused in the Comatorium is a perfect album and also the perfect The Mars Volta album, if you are interested in the band this should deffinatly be your first port of call.
Report this review (#279900)
Posted Thursday, April 29, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars An astounding album full of detail, ambience, and raw power and performance. When I first heard the name "The Mars Volta," the first thing that popped in my head was the image and sound of some indie/punk-emo band.... but when I first HEARD them, it was unlike any experience I've ever had.....

First off, I heard about the Mars Volta from some old Guitar World magazine, which featured some up-and-coming creative guitar-oriented bands. It showed some comparisons of their sound, which included the likes of Rush, Fugazi, Pink Floyd and King Crimson. I was already a big fan of Rush and Floyd, so I decided to go to my nearest record store and pick up the album. The cover art is very intriguing, by the way. If you look closely, you can see a boy in the background with his hands over his mouth. Strange but brilliant art.

When I popped the album in the CD player and heard about the first two songs, I knew this was a very special band and a very important album in regards to Modern Prog. The Mars Volta seemlessly channel old 70s bands like King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Yes, and the sporadic craziness of The Mahavishnu Orchestra. The band never over-channel, though, or go retro; they're always going for something original and unforeseen. Most notably, Cedric Zavala's vocals hit Robert Plant-highs, but his voice is slightly higher. His vocals can seem very annoying to some, and they do take some getting used to, but after that you realize that he's the only vocalist capable enough for the rest of the band.

The music in this album features loads of jazz rock/metal, metal, ambience, and much Latin-influenced beats and rhythms. As one of my first tastings of free-jazz, this album has made me respect and like the genre much more. The bass guitar and drums work so well together to paint the background beats and rhythms that the added guitar, vocals, effects, synth add to the music to create a sound that is musically genius. This is a concept album but can often times seem very cryptic and nonsensical: don't be afraid, though, as the lyrics are catchy and fit very well with the music. The lyrics are also very narrative. ( For more info on the concept, The Mars Volta distribute a free PDF-file of the whole story, along with the lyrics and where they fit in with the story ).

The strongest songs in the album have to be: "Inertiatic ESP," "Roulette Dares (The Haunt Of)," the groovy, pounding "Drunkship of Lanterns" (great mystic lyrics!), the explosive "Eriatarka," ambient-drenched "Cicatriz ESP", "This Apparatus Must Be Unearthed," and the punkish/mellotroned- "Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt." Every song is above a Four Stars, though these are the most powerful and creative.

Overall, an amazing album that, without any hesitation or problems, blends several genres (free-jazz, metal, punk, rock, ambient, acoustic, Latin, bass & drums) together to create the beginning of the stand-alone Mars Volta sound. My favorite album of all time, and a MUST- HAVE for ANYONE, no matter what your favorite music styles are. Get this album. Enjoy every last breath-taking sound. 5+ Stars.

Report this review (#285083)
Posted Saturday, June 5, 2010 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars If anything, you can credit The Mars Volta, and this album in particular, for actually getting the moribund traditional rock press to actually notice progressive music for the first time in over a quarter of a century.

When they burst on the scene in 2003, they received such a buzz that I had to purchase the CD. Mixing extremely energetic hard rock, punk, and, yes, prog rock sensibilities, it took more than a few listens before I began to ge what they were doing. At first, I really disliked singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala's high pitched vocals, and discounted the album because of that. It wasn't until Bedlam In Goliath that I actually appreciated the style of music they created.

The songs here are somewhat more straightforward than on Bedlam, but at the same time, there are more experimental noise sections on this album. But still, there are enough odd time signatures and challenging riffs to excite most heavy prog fans.

Report this review (#291882)
Posted Sunday, July 25, 2010 | Review Permalink
Andy Webb
Retired Admin
5 stars A drunkship of perfection

Before this, I had never really like The Mars Volta. They were a weird, unappealing band full of scratchy and seemingly opiate induced music. However, I eventually got more curious and got the band's debut, De-loused in the Comatorium. Damn am I happy I did. Despite still having that weird, slightly avant, quality, the album displayed an incredible amount of energy, joy, and outright ecstasy while playing. The music is full of wonderfully dissonant melodies, augmented guitar tones and spectacular instrumentation. The style in which the entire album is crafted is wonderfully creative and fresh, truly breaking away from any other style of music at the time. Overall, this album is truly masterful. 5 stars.

Report this review (#298185)
Posted Thursday, September 9, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Rarely have I heard a post-1970s album that has taken me by such surprise and overwhelmed me as this one. The shear energy of the song-playing and reckless abandon of some of the performances is like listening to ADRIAN BELEW KING CRIMSON on amphetamines! Wow! "Cicatrix ESP" alone is a jaw-dropper every time I hear it. I've purposely avoided listening to other TMV or Omar songs for fear of blowing aside the mystical awe I hold for this raw and powerful album. Should I? Should I? I think not! I amnot worthy! The Mars Volta have created one for the ages! A gargantuan and, IMHO, inimitable masterpiece.
Report this review (#377594)
Posted Monday, January 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars To many(including myself), this was their first exposure to TMV. This was their first full- length album, but they had released the Tremalaut EP a year earlier. That EP sounds like the missing link between At The Drive-Inn's last album and this. ATDI broke up due to Omar and Cedric wanting to go in a more experimental direction, as well as heavy drug use. The other two members formed the more punky/indie sounding Sparta. But even on the last ATDI album from 2000 you can hear hints as to what TMV will later sound like.

For whatever reason, the members of The Red Hot Chili Peppers were this bands biggest supporters when they first came out. Flea plays some bass here; on the next album he will play some trumpet. Later John Frusciante will do a lot of the guitar work. Why that is, I'm still not sure. The music of RHCP and TMV could not be further apart, although the former used to have a big punk influence and the latter can sometimes be funky. This is a concept album about a friends' near death experience I believe, but I could be wrong. Generally I'm not into concept albums or the concepts they are about. Great artwork on the cover and sleeve which I assume ties into the whole story.

"Son et Lumiere" is a nice spacey and mostly mellow opening track which segues right into "Inertiatic ESP". I still think the best song is "Roulette Dares(The Haunt Of)". Love the part with organ(or Mellotron?) at the end. I like the tribal feel at the beginning of "Drunkship Of Lanterns" with the percussion. After 2 minutes in the most interesting part of the album starts. This is the part where two completely different sections alternate after evey bar. You don't hear many people doing that kind of thing. Ends with a spacey electronic section with slowed down sounds.

"Cicatriz ESP" is the longest song. Begins and ends with a part based around a steady groove along with a more rocking part where Cedric says "undefended". A spacey part with the sound of water dripping in the middle. "Televators" is a great ballad, one of the highlights of the album. Ends with spacey effects just like every other damn song does. "Take The Veil Cerpin Taxt" has a section with Mellotrons in the middle before Omar plays a guitar part that sounds like he's ripping off Fripp. I swear this sounds just like a Crimson song, "Fracture" maybe? This continues in a more weird and trippy section, almost industrial sounding. A short bass solo and then the best part of the song: a laid- back Latin rock groove which Omar solos over. Later Cedric adds "uh-oh" type vocals.

This is their most popular album but I like Amputechture more. This band and album seemed to come out of nowhere in the early 2000s. It was nice to see a new group trying to make "progressive rock" in this day and age. TMV haven't released anything I would call a masterpiece yet, but their first three albums all deserve 4 stars.

Report this review (#392549)
Posted Wednesday, February 2, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is quite extraordinary. For a modern prog band, The Mars Volta is quite popular, and I decided to finally check them out by purchasing this, their most well-regarded album. I wasn't expecting the music to be as chaotic and upbeat as it is, but it's really much better than what I was expecting. No song on the album is really even weak; they all not only serve their purpose of moving the concept along, but they also are all enjoyable to listen to. The Mars Volta blends many influences into one, including many jazzy, latin, and other bits of genres into their music. The result is pretty cohesive, too. I'd say that they sound like a fusion of King Crimson, Yes, Led Zeppelin, and Pink Floyd, along with several contemporary influences. Regardless, the music is phenomenal. In the end, because every song is enjoyable, as is the concept which is carried along with ambiguous, possibly even unintelligible lyrics make this a fun album and, in my opinion, one of the best modern prog albums.
Report this review (#402126)
Posted Thursday, February 17, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Where do I start with a band near their start? At The Beginning. However I'm too sporadic for that at the moment. I admit I haven't listened to this album in quite some time. Almost a year since I've listened to a track. Almost three or four years since I've given the album a good listen. So where else to start than my favorites and work from there.

Drunkship was my first experience with TMV and it's a good place to begin. This song was everything I wanted in music at the time. I was hyped on Electronic music. Most particularly with hip hop but also paying close attention to the scene. On the other end of the spectrum Santana was on all my playlists. I heard this song and my it quenched my thirst for Modern Latin-vibed Rock and Rhythm. The drumming is on point in this song. The sound is jammin'. You get off the couch and just want to dance. This too me is the natural progression of the Santana Wave Length. Both Early and Santana/McLaughlin tribute to Coltrane-ish ideas are spewed on this track. Psycho freak outs and sexy rhythms. You can't help but notice the intensity and catchiness of Cedrics vox. Poppy vocals are sexy over progressive music. They tried it in the eighties but for the most part failed (IMO). The music was too over the top. They are going back to the roots with this song. All the while bringing in a modern almost punk attitude.

Son et Lumiere/Ineratic ESP is a treat for poppy ears and inquisitive ears alike. The bass/drums keep the track together for Cedric and Omar to tear it apart. The buildup then the explosion of intensity into an ambient ending all within a 5ish minute time period. Perfect for night time college radio.

I consider Roulette Dares to be Cedric's track. It really centers on his vox. I don't understand his lyrics at all but I love his melodies. Even with the intense instrumentalish breakdown I still feel this is more focused on the Vox. I can't help but think that his are beautiful. You get a great example of where their soon mastery of volume on this track.

Eriatarka is a raw piece of dance song. So many styles are thrown into this track. I can't even begin to describe the feeling I get. Except that I can't help but want to slap some booty and spin some glowsticks at the same time.

Cicatriz ESP is probably one of the sexiest tracks they've ever released. I can't help but continue to shake it. This is probably my favorite track on this CD. I love the little helicopter segue to hook around the 1:35 mark.

Apparatus is another Cedric track but this time I'm not as impressed. The only flaw to this album. It just tries too hard to be different. It isn't bad but I don't think it is of caliber with the rest of the album.

Televators is a great duo shining moment. The song is sad and beautiful. There is nothing else to be said. A really great track.

TtVCT is TMV's introduction into prog. Their music is fusion of many different sounds but up until this point they sound like a latin pop/post rock/jam band. This is well composed. I love the everything about this song. This song competes with Cicatriz for being my favorite track on this album.

This album is great minus one small problem with Apparatus. I can't really even pick out why I don't care for that song. After some time I find I can still listen to this album and find it refreshing. This album feels like it is searching for the Musical Utopia. Which is exactly what a progressive album should sound like.

This album is essential for those whom still yearn for more. However that means some of you won't like it and so I give it a four because some of you aren't open to TMV....

At least not yet.

Report this review (#454017)
Posted Monday, May 30, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars De-Loused in the Comatorium ? 2003

12 ? Best Song: Inertiatic ESP

Mars Volta are a relatively newer band on the scene of modern progressive rock, but they've quickly made a huge name for themselves, winning all sorts of underground awards I don't pay attention to or happen to give a damn about. Initially I wrote them off as an indulgent 'art rock' group with a whiny and high pitched lead singer like Coheed and Cambria, only louder and faster with less distortion, but time came to pass and the handful of Coheed songs made me sick, but what I heard from this sucker kept popping back in my head so I came back to it.

It's strange in a way, but not so far removed from popular movements in 1970's pomp and 1990's hardcore to have no frame of reference for you fine people. The major factors are the bum's rush of instrumental breaks that could very well give you a hefty case of visceral whiplash, and the singing from a sloppy, but convincing young man that goes from a little high and whiny to very high and piercing. The riffs, they don't really exist, it's more of a variety of aural barrages in different tempos coming in headlong crashes between moments of quiescence.

'Inertiatic ESP' is blistering and the theme that gets pounded into your skull is bound to remain in there for a while. It IS a concept album, but I'll not be trifled with figuring it all out, there's too much for me to do in the day. 'Drunkship of Lanterns' is the notable epic, but I can't see why it's so good, it partly bores me. I much prefer the swaying blast and return of 'Eriatarka'. They might not have vision, or whatever you call it, and the latin rhythms can grow old on one's ears, but De- Loused is pretty exciting, and that's a specific trait these newer bands need to understand before they move on.

Report this review (#459127)
Posted Saturday, June 11, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album is possibly the maddest I've ever heard. "De-loused in the Comatorium" is an album that mixes frenetic hard rock, progressive metal, jazz and Latin sounds, an eclectic mix that, although it has not impressed me as a whole , it worked.

The highlights here are the guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and drummer Jon Theodore, who actually deliver on their instruments and are responsible for violent and aggressive atmosphere of the album.

I really do not know what to say what has not worked on this album for me, but I know he is not a masterpiece.Is a strange feeling, but it is not a masterpiece-at least that's what i found.Perhaps more rounds to make this album definitely enter into my heart.

3 stars

Report this review (#466359)
Posted Tuesday, June 21, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars My true introduction into the world of prog.

Yes, I heard the likes of Yes and Rush and Genesis, but it wasn't until I borrowed some of my brother's music that I found this gem of a disc. Now, this was a long time ago, back when i favored the most popular music of the time. Of course, that was a big mistake looking back on it now, but once I saw this on iTunes, it recommended a playlist of "Modern Prog" which featured bands like Dream Theater and Pain of Salvation, and thus, I was hooked on everything prog ever since.

The first true Mars Volta album since the demise of At The Drive-In, the experimental side of Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Cedric Bixler-Zavala finally emerged through the rough-and- tumble, smash-your-face-in fury that combined hard rock and chugging riffs with the fast fury of punk and a strange twinge of indie.

Now, I'll admit, 5 years ago, I wasn't too fond of the lyrical aspect of the band, but now I could care less. The instrumentation of this band is what really sets it apart from most other progressive rock outfits. I find it interesting though that, as a drummer, while I consider Neil Pert and Mike Portnoy and Gene Krupa to be several of my idols, each and every time I fail to include Jon Theodore in that mix. It's quite a shame really. One listen to "Roulette Dares (The Haunt Of)" and you can instantly hear the technical rhythms, the rapid-fire fills and the numerous time signature changes.

This album also seems to begin the trend of having significantly long outros (starting with the minute long outro on "Inertiatic ESP" and with it, their infamy with very elaborate textures and soundscapes thanks to one Jeremy Michael Ward . Now, when one thinks of the word "sounds", it's a pretty generic term. Not to the Mars Volta, though. If you want weird sounds, trust me, TMV will deliver. (Try the 2 minute [roughly] long outro on "The Widow" or the nearly 5 minute long outro on "Cygnus...Vismund Cygnus", both on "Frances The Mute")

Then again, there's also the retro sounds of Rodriguez-Lopez's guitar. His style of playing seems a bit abnormal (he is a lefty), but his talent is unmistakable, and his guitar solos represent that. He's not one to show off his chops (and blistering those may be), but there are times where he's not afraid to try to melt your face. However, while it seems like he's trying to crush your skull with his guitars and Theodore's blistering speed (such as on "Drunkenship Of Lanterns"), but rather his simple chords in the intro add to the texture of the song.

It seems to be a new phenomena in progressive rock music. While electronica sounds were first discovered in old Krautrock discs, emerged in the form of Kraftwerk's infamous "Autobahn", then seemingly crushed the entire world of music in the form of the cheesy '80's keys and fakes drums, this new fad of adding texture, of developing atmosphere within the song is rapidly becoming widespread in more abstract prog albums these days. Again, you can hear the punk and math rock influences in this album, but then pay attention to the openess in "Cicatriz ESP" (note the jam tendencies in the band's playing style, evident but not clearly as evident in "Scab Dates"), then listen to the atmosphere in "Televators". Feel like you're still sitting in your stuffy office cubicle? Not during this bad boy.

Shocking how this record is only a 2003 release. This disc, "Frances The Mute" and "Amputechture" are obviously my favorite TMV albums, but some of my favorite albums of all time. Once you've listened to this album fully, you pretty much know what you're going to expect in "FTM" and "Amputechture", yet, when you listen to both, they're completely different recordings, and for good reason. "De-Loused" seems to be the ground work that came out of "Cut That City"'s blueprints out of the older structure that was "At The Drive-In".

To me, "De-Loused" is more of a technical masterpiece, while "Frances The Mute" is just a progressive epic in the truest sense of the word, while "Amputechture" combines both philosophies into one album, while continuing to combine the Latino (and also Aboriginal, among other) cultures in to ones seamless (sort of) recording.

For that's another big key into this band's genetic makeup: cultural influences. Take a listen to "Eriatarka". Roughly 4 minutes into the track, you can hear all the guitars and sounds drop out behind a Theodore backbeat, with one guitar chord piercing the eerie silence, almost in a reggae-esque feel. Compare that to "Televators", where the sounds of a damp rainforest lull you into a soft acoustic guitar and Bixler-Zavala's strangely hypnotic voice. Again, while the lyrics may not make sense, it's best just to not bother with them.

All in all, it's a fantastic album, but it's not exactly a progressive masterpiece in the truest sense of the term. It's not reasonable to compare this to Yes' "Fragile" or Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here"; it's certainly a beast all it's own. Yet this is the predecessor to one of my favorite prog album's of all time. At The Drive-In fans may like this album, but probably not any others after this; the punk influences go wayward after that. However, if you're into a album with excitement, avant-garde and cultural influences, this particular record is right up your alley.

Report this review (#488232)
Posted Friday, July 22, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars The Mars Volta's debut is really one of the high points of the 2000's in prog, and easily one of my favorite albums ever written.

Based around a story of a man who attempts to kill himself with rat poison and ends up in a week-long coma in which he confronts his demons, and eventually comes to and throws himself over an overpass. De-Loused is an hour of absolutely fantastic madness.

Son et Lumiere/Inertiatic ESP: Son et is a essentially a mood-setting introductory piece, and it does a great job, the layers of effects and keys fade in, esoteric lyrics commence, and towards the end little bursts of guitars and drums fade into Inertiatic, which is a catchy as all hell firework of a song. Somewhat simplistic being based mainly around one riff, and the song structure essentially being verse-chorus-verse-extended atmospheric break-verse- chorus-verse outro.

Roulette Dares (This Is The Haunt Of): God, as a drummer I just cannot get over how energetic the drumming in this song is, it's another more straight-forward song, essentially remaining interesting in the sheer number of ways that they manage to present the main melodies over the course of 7 minutes, and it really manages to highlight the sort of hard-soft bipolar nature of TMV compositions.

Tira Me A Las Aranas: Transitional piece, cool little guitar diddle with fascinating harmonics, but not much more than that as it fades into Drunkship.

Drunkship of Lanterns: God the drumming on this album, sorry to repeat the point but sweet Jesus I love this mans style. This is the first more progressive piece, song structure is more varied than the previous two lengthy songs, essentially being a verse and chorus and variations then another section that flows out of that. The beat here is unbelievably chaotic, and the guitar work is fantastic, starting to highlight the more Jazz-fusion and Latin music influences, particularly in the solos, while still retaining the high-energy riffing in on top of it all.

Eriatarka: Opens with a relatively calm section, with layer upon layer of guitars, keys, and ambience. Then moves into a rocking section similar to previous songs before taking a brief yet dramatic cut into pure ambience. The guitars then pull you out of the void and after a brief solo back into the calmness of the opening section. Then again into the high energy section and then into a development, which falls somewhere in between and references both sections. Then finally the fast section once more but with a more open guitar sound.

Cicatriz ESP: So here's a longer piece, essentially consists of two similar yet different buildups in a row, based around a great vocal hook. Then a instrumental jam section for a couple of minutes, then a ambient section, then another phase transitioning out of the ambience and back into a more dramatic presentation of the vocal section with more layering and harmonics. Really needs to be heard to be understood, the ambient section always manages to transport me deep into my thoughts, and it's almost like the following phase out signals a return to reality of sorts (which is parallel to what is about to occur in the plot of the album).

This Apparatus Must Be Unearthed: Shorter song as a cool-down, unbelievably great songwriting as with the rest of the album, the band and it's ability to just keep this level of octane going without burning out is just outstanding.

Televators: "Acoustic" song narrating the death of the protagonist, as with the rest of the album there is layer upon layer of stuff that builds over the course of the song, climaxing in a vocal harmony that really just nails the feeling of sorrow, even behind the completely twisted lyrical style. Least proggy track for sure though.

Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt: Holy [&*!#] this song. I can't even describe how impossibly epic it is, I really suggest just listening too it, if the last two minutes aren't one of the best closings to an album you've heard, then you've heard a lot of really fantastic album closings I haven't I suppose.

I'd like to make an note to anybody reading this review who hasn't heard the album. If you've notice, many of the songs do have somewhat simple composition, and as a prog fan you may or may not be scoffing at this. I promise you anywhere where there is a verse-chorus- verse going on there are at least 20 (awesome) things going on during those sections. You'll be happy they opted for more cyclical songwriting here, for if they didn't the album would be completely overwhelming.

Report this review (#572672)
Posted Monday, November 21, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars A strange beast, this one. This album being my first legitimate encounter with the mythical animal that is prog, it should be obvious to anyone that I hold De-loused, Texas-based progressive band THE MARS VOLTA's debut album in high regard. But even after taking a less subjective outlook on it, it remains a great album. It is apparently a concept album based on a story written by two of the band's members, detailing the journey of a certain Cerpin Taxt through morphine-induced coma, and his subsequent suicide. The first track, Son et Lumiere, serves as an introduction to the album. It starts out with some electronic-sounding sound effects, quickly joined by slow keyboard washes. Shortly after that comes the listener's first taste of the lyrics, and they provide a good insight of the kind of odd lyricism (to say the least) that will appear on the rest of the album. At the end of the track some guitar joins in to build up the aggressivity before segueing into the next track, Inertiatic ESP. Within the first few seconds of the song, you hear vocalist Cedric Bixler-Zavala scream 'now I'm lost' passionately, and that's where the album really grabs you, and does not let you go until it ends. The next few tracks are alternations between fast and heavier passages, in which the frantic guitar playing stands out especially, and calmer moments, which really showcase the production of the album, which is surprisingly competent for a debut effort, and suits the overall theme of the album very well, in my opinion. To me, the insane guitar playing, the side-by-side use of fast, heavy and passionate sections with slower, calmer and more atmospheric sections, and the deliciously strange drug-induced lyricism. The album ends with the very King Crimson-inspired track Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt, and should leave any listener speechless, if not downright breathless. The strongest songs on the album are Drunkship of Lanterns and Eriatarka, and the weakest songs, although on this album 'weakest' certainly does not equate to 'bad' in any way, are Tira me a las Ara'as and Televators. A definite 4 stars for me.
Report this review (#626852)
Posted Sunday, February 5, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Now THAT's an Entrance

Mars Volta is without a doubt one of the most important artists of the 21st century's first decade. Their debut DELOUSED IN THE COMATORIUM must have been such a shocking blast when it first came out. I certainly understand why it gets such high ratings. However, I jumped on TMV train late, about the time of OCTAHEDRON, and in retrospect the debut is still very strong but no longer unique. It may be the best balanced of their albums, but doesn't match the full on bat[&*!#] crazy of BEDLAM IN GOLIATH or the trippy melodicism of OCTAHEDRON.

The intro suite of "Son et Lumiere" and "Inertiatic ESP" at this point is nothing short of classic. I recently watched some videos of this song being performed live. The more recent ones are a little limp, with Cedric's performance being especially lackluster. But then I watched a clip from when the record was new. The energy was simply sizzling. Of all the live experiences I wish I could have had, the tour for this album has to rank up there. In fact, it was while watching those live clips that I came to appreciate just how phenomenal the Mars Volta musical package is.

Along with the supercharged grooves that are the band's trademark, this album also has the extended jams that harken back to Zepplin's live versions of "Dazed and Confused" or Pink Floyd's "Echoes." These (Cicatriz Esp, etc) are fun and interesting for the first few times through the album, and I'm sure live they'd be great live. On repeated listens, they're not as evocative. Similarly, alongside some iconic hooks including the opener and "Take the Cerpin Taxt," are some simply good melodies as on "Apparatus Must Be Unearthed."

Basically, I'm giving myself excuses for not giving this a 5 star rating. This album's iconic status comes as much from the fact that it was the first offering as its superiority in quality. Other works as just as good. "Televators" really does nothing for me when I've already digested OCTAHEDRON, for example. This is an excellent band and this is an excellent disc. It just isn't hitting that masterpiece nerve for me.

Report this review (#726086)
Posted Friday, April 13, 2012 | Review Permalink
2 stars Mars Volta's debut album sets in place most of the motifs they'd deploy throughout their career - motifs which will either make you love the band or find them profoundly annoying, as I do. The impossibly goofy title of the album and tracks (Drunkship of Lanterns? Spare me!) hints at a desire to be overcomplicated without really having the substance to support that. Sure, the playing is fast and fancy, but it isn't put together into aesthetically pleasing compositions, just as the song titles consist of tone-death word soup. It's a fancy trick, and I guess it worked well enough for this album, but for me the Mars Volta's career consists of wasted potential and a whole lot of Emperor's New Clothes.
Report this review (#758910)
Posted Saturday, May 26, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars 5/5 I recently picked up The Mars Volta's first studio album, De-Loused in the Comatorium, and have not stopped listening to it since. My first TMV album was Frances the Mute, which I also love. De-Loused has had more of an instant effect on me, whereas FtM took me a bit longer to appreciate.

It is instantly obvious after listening that the members of the band are very skilled in their playing. The drums really stand out, and blow me away each time I listen. The song-writing talent is also very strong.

This album contains a little bit of outside influence from other genres such as Latin and electronic (but not nearly as much as what's explored on Frances the Mute). This makes for a unique and captivating experience. After listening to this album, if it's a bit too 'safe' for you, then try FtM.

The lyrics are quite odd abstract (something I was used to after Frances). Inertiatic ESP features lyrics such as: Last night I heard lepers Flinch like birth defects Its musk was fecal in origin As the words dribbled of its chin The lyrics suit the mysterious and foreign sound of the music very well.

The album is remarkably consistent, with not a weak track. However, stand out tracks for me include: Son Et Lumiere, Inertiatic ESP, Roulette Dares and Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt. Televators is another great song, with a strong hook and a quieter feel than the rest of the album. "Take the Veil?" is the most adventurous song on the album, and gives a taste of what's to come on following albums by this band.

My overall view of this album is a fantastic debut by a fantastic band. Anyone who hasn't heard it should check it out immediately.

Report this review (#905283)
Posted Saturday, February 2, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars Its because this is?? 5/5

If you're looking for unique and a top class prog rock album, De-Loused in Comatorium comes in the forefront of that list. It is the best work The Mars Volta have ever put out. The genius mind of Omar Rodrigues Lopez is in full flow here. He must be one of the best prog rock guitarists of 2000s. To combine acidic, retro, complex, melodic music at the same time must require some unique talent which TMV have plenty in tandem. Everything from guitar bass, drums and the synthesizers are so uniquely blended together that most bands do not even come close to what TMV are able to put across in a single song let alone the whole album. How are they able to make such a cohesive music out of all the combinations that I mentioned above is a question that always amuses me. The music is hypnotic at times.

The album starts with a really tense and sharp intro 'Son et Lumiere' and continues to 'Iniertiatic ESP' and like the name suggests the song gets stronger as it progresses. Starting with a very intense melody, the song builds into something really great during its middle parts. If only you listen to the riffs that Omar plays in the song along with excellent drumming, the uniqueness of this album must be crystal clear to your ears. 'Roulette Dares (The Haunt of)' follows which is one of the best TMV songs ever. From starting riff it feels like a real classic. The verses and chorus are at their melodic best and the chorus part where Cedric Bixler-Zaval yells "Exoskeleton junction at the railroad delayed" remains in your head forever once you hear the song. The instrumental part after the chorus with intense drumming of different kind and a long guitar solo is even better and the song flows in the same vein throughout with a superb ending. This is a song which represents Mars Volta on top of their game. An interlude follows in the name of 'Tira Me a las Aranas'. Then another magnificent song follows in 'Drunkship of Lanterns' which starts with a percussion domination. Their Mexican origin in brilliant incorporated in this song with Mexican style percussion and guitar. The song is also brilliant because of the unique atmosphere it leaves on the listener. In the next song 'Eriatarka' they showcase their way of starting with a very slow melody and building it into an intense hard rock part to slow parts back and forth again and again. The tempo and time signature changes in this song are something really to behold and for me this song is one of the best example of use of synthesizer in TMV's music. The next song 'Cicatriz'is again a descent song that almost starts off with almost hip-hop style beat but soon leaves TMV stamp on it with constant tempo changes, awesome background guitar lead and awesome drumming. The middle section of the song is full show-off of their synthesizer skill but it was one moment in the album where I was put off. The song makes up for that in later section with a melodic over the top solo and an awesome ending. Another great song follws in 'This Apparatus Must be Unearthed' which again consists of all the goods that TMV can deliver. The one song that surprised me the most 'Televators' then comes next which is a full ballad. This song again showcases the musicianship and songwriting skills that are on show with the use of banjo as percussion and is a slap on the face of those who complain TMV being less melodic, more annoying and all that. The final song 'Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt' is a fitting end to the album which again is more than a descent song.

So this is a pure gem of modern progressive rock music and if you are also a fan of unique prog rock albums like me, this is a must have with The Mars Volta at their freaking best.

Report this review (#980677)
Posted Tuesday, June 18, 2013 | Review Permalink
1 stars 0 Stars. Prog at its worst.

I have quite a bit of history with TMV which I have to go though before my viewpoint of this band and album becomes clear. I came to discover Prog music about 11 years ago (2004, I was about 14 at the time) though classic Prog bands such as Genesis and Yes. I spent a long time embracing that genre and loving almost all of it. Eventually I decided to look at modern Prog to see how the genre had progressed. So I randomly started with Tool and The Mars Volta given the praise they were getting at the time.

When I heard both bands back then I was horrified by what I was listening. I found TMV to be stupidly over the top, physically painful to listen to and with some of the most annoying singing I had ever heard in my life! I quickly developed a extreme hatred for both bands. I was so put off that I refused to listen to any form of modern Heavy Prog/Prog Metal for 5 years, assuming they would all sound just as horrible. This I now regret significantly as I ignored what would be some of my favorite bands (PT, Anathema, Opeth etc) at that time.

10 years on my musical tastes have changed and I am now much more at home with heavy music including Death and Black metal, but until last week I still refused to Give Tool or TMV a second chance. I figured now is a good time to give both bands a listen again using all the musical insight I have gained since my teenage years. <3>

I found that I had softened my opinion with Tool somewhat, but with TMV nothing has changed. In fact I find them even worse then I did then due to the songwriting being sub-par. For those that have not heard the band they combine King Crimson like frenzy-ness with Latin-inspired Santana along with more Post-Hardcore and Nu-metal features. This translates into lots of fast paced screechy electric guitar solos, manic drumming and ultra-high pitched singing/screaming which sounds like Geddy Lee after breathing in from a helium balloon. This fast paced and very high pitch music is almost relentless (with the exception of Televators, the only song I can listen to without having to fight the urge to press skip). There are quiet moments which tend to be very brief before things get crazy again. Where they do settle down they show that have some abilities in psychedelic rock as well.

The problem with De-Loused and TMV in general is that the band try to act as super-intelligent and complex, but in reality it is all a illusion. Lets start with the lyrics as apparently this is a concept album of a man in a coma for one week due to taking morphine and rat poison (hardly a inspiring concept). But when you look at the lyrics (and song titles) you will find the band have been taken obscure words from the dictionary and used them everywhere. Unlike someone such as Jon Anderson from Yes (who can be understood with a bit of effort) its pretty much impossible to work out what the band are talking about and combined with the fast paced singing/screaming you will never know what they are babbling on about.

As for the complex musicianship, its just noodling at a huge scale. Now Prog Metal and modern Symphonic Prog are well known for noodling and I myself don't have a big problem with it. However usually the Prog band know how to make the track reasonably coherent and to put a usually overblown (but entertaining) story-line in to tie things together. TMV does none of that, its just endless blasts of random odd-time signatures with no care of song development beyond the "ooh cool playing" gimmick which quickly loses interest. It means the band has nothing to say that is artistically interesting.

Finally being somewhat subjective the music played here is very painful to listen to. And when I say painful I am being literal. The high pitch vocals and music is very painful for my ears to tolerate even at low volume. I don't think I have ever gotten though a listen without having a real headache at the end of it. Of course the singer can't help the way he sings, but its something else that needs to be taken into account before you explore this band. You may be like me and just find the music on offer here unbearable regardless of quality. 10 years of listening to a very wide range of progressive music (including Death and Black metal) has done nothing to make this album any more enjoyable for me

The most annoying thing about this band is that they are technically very talented and have been able to create a sound that is unique to themselves. Even though they do not suit my tastes at all I would have given the band 3 stars had the songwriting been strong. The problem is that they wasted all that talent in making emotionless, super self-indulgent music along with immature and ridiculous lyrics. There is nothing in this album that sounds genuine or well crafted. In fact they are showcasing prog Rock at its very worst, where the band puffs itself into some super-complex, intelligent and deep bunch of artists when in fact they are only making fools out of the listener by pretending to have a master plan when in fact there is none.

I find nothing positive to say about this album or TMV in general, they are easily the worst Prog-Rock band I have ever heard. TMV fans will be glad to know that I am only reviewing this album with 1 star as I cannot bear the torture of going though any more of their albums (I have heard snippets of other albums and see they don't get any better). If any TMV fans want to contact me and counter what I have said then I welcome it with a open mind, but you better come prepared as I really cannot stand this band whatsoever.

Report this review (#1047750)
Posted Sunday, September 29, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is probably the best place to enter the realm of The Mars Volta. Yes, it's frantic crazy music, but this album is probably the most accessible to the crazy walls of sound that would come later in the albums "Armputecture" and "Bedlam in Goliath". In The Mars Volta music, there is always so much going on and for some people, it just gets so overwhelming. The music takes some time to get used to because there is so much to hear. Some critics said that this album was "a sprawling mess", and if they were saying that about this album, they probably had no hope of ever getting their minds around the other two I mentioned.

This album is a masterpiece and the sound is nailed on it. I don't know how in the world it got so popular because it goes against everything that people were listening to at the time, but I'm so glad that finally a band got the credit and audience that it was deserving of, and the real fans have stuck with them. If only we could get the other great prog bands that are currently out there into public awareness the way TMV did.

But TMV's sound is dense in this album, but not as dense as it would become. This album has all the genius of the later albums, but it is so much easier to digest then what would come later, especially on the first listen. It is full of sound, but the sound is much more organized than it would be later, so if this album doesn't quite penetrate and you don't love this album after three or four listens, then you had probably stop your TMV research at this album. Because it only gets denser.

This is rock orchestration, classical music in rock form. This is the kind of rock that I believe the classical composers could appreciate. This is not easy music, it is well composed and performed flawlessly. It is very manic, but at least the mania is orderly on this album. Buried in the sound is a lot of ethnic-inspired music and layers of beauty. There is a lot of dissonance especially in the guitar and there is a lot of King Crimson (Fripp) influence throughout. This is especially apparent in "Cicatriz ESP" which is the longest track on the album. I love the way they expand on that sound. Vocals and instrumentals are frantic most of the way through the album. But, in future albums, it does tend to get tiring by the time you get to the end of the album, that is not the case with this album because this album is more concerned with dynamics and they are a lot more obvious, which textures the music here a lot better, making it easier to listen to.

I highly recommend this album for any prog lover who wants to explore new prog. This music would go on to further inspire other bands, so it is very influential and in my opinion, essential for your progressive rock collection. It is mostly beyond description and must be experienced, but all prog lovers should at least give it several listens and consider it an important album for all progressive music. Very influential and essential.....5 strong stars. One of the best new progressive albums and bands in existence. It's amazing how they have become such a popular band and I'm so happy that they just proves that people are craving challenging and amazing music.

Report this review (#1326316)
Posted Friday, December 19, 2014 | Review Permalink
1 stars Always when i write a bad review i feel like it's wrong or offensive. In this case, i feel like the music is wrong and offensive. It's not hate, it's not that i didn't give it a chance. I simply cannot listen to this. It's impossible for me. Every highly rated album will recieve a bad review at some point so that takes my guilt away. If you like this album or band, do not continue reading because i will be raw. This is probably the most unbearable album/band i've ever heard. The aesthetic is so immature! The hysterical mood just grinds my gears. The singer specially makes me want to punch him. So hysterical... so pretentious... and everything is so fast and loud it makes me feel like they dont have any taste for music; like they composed this just for sport. Like they were faking, pretending they were gonna write a revolutionary modern album: but it's horrible. An insult to beauty and ugliness too because ugliness can be an aesthetic but this is not the case. So many people rated this 5 stars. WTF?! The most overrated album in progarchives is this one. I have no doubt. 1 bothering star.
Report this review (#1445586)
Posted Monday, July 27, 2015 | Review Permalink

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