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The Mars Volta - Live CD (album) cover


The Mars Volta

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3 stars Three stars: "Good, but non-essential"

If you like "De-Loused...", these live performances will entertain you. As you can see, they compiled four songs, and improvised at a couple of different shows. People in the forums seem to like talking about how The Mars Volta improvises and sometimes plays even free style-ish. On this CD these songs are done just as well, if not better, than how they were done on "De-loused..." Enjoy.

In case you didn't notice, I added this CD. Reason being I noticed a lot of people here at enjoy The Mars Volta. I'm surprised this wasn't already here, it's posted on TMV's "official site."

Report this review (#36629)
Posted Thursday, June 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is a pretty good live ep. The quality isn't brilliant but the tunes are. Its good to see how The Mars Volta evolve their tunes from the studio to the stage. The Mars Volta play with as much passion and power as on the studio album, but add in more extended jams and solo's. All the guys play amazingly here and this is a good disc to buy if you see it anyway cheap. This is hard to obtain and is more for the collectors/hardcore fans.
Report this review (#36686)
Posted Thursday, June 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars This long EP (or short album if you like) is an excellent snapshot of what Mars Volta is able to offer while playing live.

You might understand that there won't be sweet ballads in here. Dynamite 'almost) all the way through. Such an energy is truly amazing.

Three out the four songs recorded on this live album were excellent tracks form their very good debut album "De-Loused". Each track is a bit longer than its original counterpart. In the case of "Roulette Dares" to extend the spacey closing part was not a bad idea after such a surge.

"Drunkship Of Lanterns" was recorded during the same "live" session at XFM studio in London. The high pitched vocals from Cedric (sort of hate or love) are flawless and passionate and this rendition highlights the jamming capabilities of the band.

The next two songs were recorded at the Electric Ballroom in London (Camden Town). The start of "Cicatriz ESP" is deliciously chaotic (maybe a bit too much) and a wave of sound is crawling on you for about sixteen minutes. Play it loud!

The middle part features some call and response between vocals and guitar that sound familiar to me (I'm referring to the Page-Plant ones. some time ago) and a loooooong "guitar" solo trying to emulate Page again to some extent. Not the best moment of this EP as far as I'm concerned.

I think that during this song, "The Mars Volta" are trying a bit too much to glorify themselves. Pay attention guys.Luckily, this version "only" clocks at sixteen minutes. They extended it sometimes to over half an hour in these days...

The closing number "Televators" was not one of my fave from their studio album, but I have to say that it is welcome after "Cicatriz". Poignant, hypnotic. Very good actually in this version.

Three stars for this good live moment.

Report this review (#169692)
Posted Saturday, May 3, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars This short but sweet live EP is a forum for powerful renditions of 4 Deloused in the Comatorium tracks (being Roulette Dares, Eriatarka, Cicatrix ESP, and Televators). The Mars Volta sound very ... Mars Volta on this record and every nuance of their performance is thrown into sharp focus. Therefore this album does carry the trademarks of their sound: extended psych guitar jams, howling croons, non-sequiter lyrics, and general hard-prog excess. It is also an excellent indicator of the band's relationship to their studio- recorded material. Sure, the sound isn't anywhere near as dense and layered as their meticulously crafted albums, and yes sometimes Cedric forgets some of the words. But I don't love this band for any notions of "exactness" in a live setting (I have seen them numerous times in-fact so I know better than that). This band's greatest strength oftentimes seems to be the fury, energy, and passion that they can use to create very hypnotic, memorable tunes. On this album every song is ratcheted up a notch;they warp into things louder, sharper-edged, and more unravelled at the seams than the last time you saw them. I just hope you like jamming. A solid effort from the band in all their sweaty, wide-eyed glory for sounding this ragged and unstable.

Highlight: I almost hate to admit that I love the extended, indulgent intro to Deloused MVP 'Cicatriz ESP'. The passion that underpins their performance of 'Televators' redeems the afore mentioned forgotten lyrics and any inaccuracy that their possible state of sobriety may have caused.

I'm generally very careful to valuate EPs for what they are and the same goes for live albums. So this Live EP wins a (hopefully fair) 7 / 10.

NB, As a Kiwi I got this as part of the Televators Tour Edition EP. Best $6 I ever spent!

Report this review (#217323)
Posted Friday, May 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
Eclectic Prog Team
3 stars Wary was I when considering The Mars Volta live. After all, live, there are no exquisite vocal effects for a true singer to hide behind. Likewise, a live guitarist can only utilize so many effects. There's just much more a studio has to offer over a stage. Yet the sound is full here, even if limited in certain respects. All four songs on this EP (funny term, since the recording is around forty-five minutes long) are from the band's first LP. "Roulette Dares (The Haunt Of)" is a somewhat faithful rendition of the album version. Rather than use backing tracks for the backup vocals (such as on "Drunkship of Lanterns"), Cedric Bixler-Zavala permits an emptiness, a void filled only by strange sounds, likely from Omar Rodriguez-Lopez's guitar. The instrumental section, the first time I heard it here, shocked me: It's the brilliant instrumental section from "Cygnus...Vismund Cygnus." The sixteen minute rendition of "Cicatriz ESP" begins with some almost unbearable screeching and messing around from the band before the song proper begins. The middle bit is a throwback to the more experimental side of the duo's enterprise. Some fantastic organ can be heard during the second half. "Televators," one of my favorite songs from this band, is given a looser treatment, especially since the singer seems to lose his way around the words in a few spots, allowing emptiness to take over. He also takes some liberties with the melody (singing the harmony at times), which gives it a different feel, but this is largely due to being one man and not using backing tracks or backup singers. It's far messier than the album version, but so what? It's honest, and more importantly, interesting. As a final note, this is a somewhat rare bit of live music, but I was fortunate to have found it, I suppose (though since I got it, I've seen it more frequently on online auctions for not much more than I paid for it), so perhaps it is not as rare as some people make it out to be.
Report this review (#237463)
Posted Saturday, September 5, 2009 | Review Permalink

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