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The Mars Volta De-Loused in the Comatorium album cover
4.20 | 1327 ratings | 138 reviews | 44% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 2003

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Son et lumière (1:35)
2. Inertiatic ESP (4:24)
3. Roulette Dares (The Haunt Of) (7:31)
4. Tira Me a Las Arañas (1:29)
5. Drunkship of Lanterns (6:20)
6. Eriatarka (7:06)
7. Cicatriz ESP (12:29)
8. This Apparatus Must Be Unearthed (4:58)
9. Televators (6:19)
10. Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt (8:42)

Total Time 60:53

Bonus track on 2003 UK edition:
11. Ambuletz (7:03)

Line-up / Musicians

- Cedric Bixler-Zavala / vocals
- Omar Rodriguez-Lopez / guitars, bass (11), co-producer
- Isaiah "Ikey" Owens / keyboards
- Flea / bass
- Jon Theodore / drums
- Jeremy Michael Ward / Fx & sounds

- John Frusciante / guitar & synth programming (7)
- Justin Meldel Johnson / double bass (9)
- Lenny Castro / percussion

Releases information

Artwork: Dan Abbott with Storm Thorgerson (design & art direction)

CD Universal Records ‎- B0000593-02 (2003, US)
CD Universal Records ‎- 986 046-0 (2003, UK) With a bonus track

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy THE MARS VOLTA De-Loused in the Comatorium Music

THE MARS VOLTA De-Loused in the Comatorium ratings distribution

(1327 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(44%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(31%)
Good, but non-essential (14%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

THE MARS VOLTA De-Loused in the Comatorium reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by frenchie
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.

Review by James Lee
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

Review by penguindf12
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.

Review by hdfisch
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

Review by 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!!!!!!!!!!!
Review by Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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,


Review by Yanns
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.

Review by loserboy
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.
Review by Moatilliatta
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.

Review by NJprogfan
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
Review by sleeper
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.

Review by OpethGuitarist
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.

Review by Prog-jester
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!

Review by Raff
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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.

Review by 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.

Review by Sean Trane
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

Review by Thulëatan
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.

Review by TRoTZ
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.

Review by Menswear
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.

Review by Neu!mann
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.

Review by 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.

Review by clarke2001
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

Review by russellk
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.

Review by 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

Review by FruMp
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.

Review by SoundsofSeasons
5 stars I've owned this album for over a decade now - it is still one of my all time favorites, and the accessibility is undeniable. There really is something special with this mix of dance inducing rhythmic spice we find here. I remember when i used to play this album in the car in high school, this was literally the only album my little sister actually seemed to enjoy that i owned - there is a universal appeal to the energy this album gives off. So well built are the pieces that hold it all together, the bass and drums really carry this jazzy latin punky experience. Like the albums that followed there is some spacey doodling, but unlike the couple to follow, this one stays firmly grounded thanks to ideas that don't over stay their welcome and one again that core of drums and bass. The guitars are free to roam about, as is the sound sampling. and the vocals do ride a fine line between great and just too sharp to be enjoyable. Later on in the bands' career the vocals are a real problem for The Mars Volta see everything from the Bedlam album and beyond.

When i first joined this site i declared myself a Mars Volta fan though this album alone, the first i'd heard from them. I longer consider myself a fan of the band, but i am a huge fan of this particular album. The band really took a nose dive in more recent years and i refuse to listen to the god awful outings that came toward the end of the life of the band, but this one is a land mark of progressive music and i have seen it referenced all over the internet, both in and outside of progressive music enthusiast circles, i'm definitely not the only person to think so.

Review by Ricochet
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

Review by JLocke
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.

Review by Zitro
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.

Review by ZowieZiggy
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.

Review by ProgBagel
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.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

Review by jammun
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.

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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.

Review by 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.

Review by horsewithteeth11
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.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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.

Review by Sinusoid
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.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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).

Review by debrewguy
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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)

Review by EatThatPhonebook
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.

Review by jampa17
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.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

Review by Andy Webb
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.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 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.
Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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.

Review by Wicket
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.

Review by Negoba
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.

Review by Warthur
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.
Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
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.

Review by Kempokid
5 stars When The Mars Volta burst into the music scene with their debut album in 2003, massive ripples were caused, and it isn't difficult to see why. This album's application of modern alternative and post-hardcore influence in their sound, along with the dramatic, energetic nature of them made them an incredibly unique band. The Mars Volta happens to be one of my favourite bands, with their first 3 albums all being utter masterpieces in my opinion, with this album being the one that I can consider to be near perfect.

The album starts off incredibly, with Son et Lumiere setting the melancholy tone of the album perfectly, before transitioning into the wonderful Inertiatic Esp, which is undoubtedly one of the peaks of the album in terms of pure energy. Cedric's vocals, while not necessarily amazing, are extremely dramatic and emotive, with his wails of "Now I'm lost" sounding incredible due to this. The next few songs, from Roulette Dares (The Haunt Of) to Eriatarka, all sound fairly similar, yet each maintain enough identity to properly define themselves. While Roulette Dares has a strong focus on the chorus, along with the verses sounding quite chaotic, Drunkship of Lanterns has a great deal of focus on a constant, driving pace and energy, never slowing down until the very end, seguing perfectly into the much softer Eriatarka. Out of these, I'm personally not too much of a fan of Roulette Dares, due to it feeling somewhat uninteresting and slightly overlong without any particularly strong moment to back it up, while Eriatarka is one of the highlights of the album for me, due to the exceptional chorus and the softer nature of it, providing some respite after the insanity of the previous songs. The way that the chorus transforms in the third appearance of it, containing different rhythm and instrumentation is nothing short of amazing, and was the moment that solidified my high opinion of the band.

After Eriatarka, the second half of the album kicks in with another definite highlight, Cicatriz Esp. This song is nothing short of a masterpiece, with a bassline that no matter how many times I listen to it, still blows me away every time, being backed up by some of Cedric's best vocal work on the album. This 12 minute piece utilises some extended jams and ambience in the middle section, providing some nice atmosphere and making the final chorus even more impactful, being further elevated by the overdubbing of Cedric's vocals. The next track, This Apparatus Must Be Unearthed, is the other song that I consider to be slightly weaker than the rest of the songs, simply having nothing in particular that defines it from others. Televators manages to be another incredible song on the other hand, being more minimalistic in certain areas, mainly having a lack of insanely technical instrumentation. This song also features the best of Cedric in his entire career, with him hitting high notes extremely cleanly while putting so much emotion behind everything sung. The final song on the album, Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt is definitely my personal choice for best song on the album, providing even more experimentation and fully displaying the skills of each member of the band. The song switches up its style constantly, jumping from vocals that sound more spoken (well, yelled) than sung, to pouring his heart out in a chorus, transitioning into an instrumental section that incorporates some jazz elements, as well as containing a solo which I can only describe as obscene. The song ends quite abruptly in a burst of energy that hadn't been felt since the opening moments of Inertiatic Esp, ending the album in a similar fashion to the way it began.

The energy found throughout this album is amazing, with incredible amounts of technicality displayed by everyone, creating a powerful overall sound that occasionally can become a wall of noise. Despite the seemingly chaotic nature of the album, the production allows for each instrument to be heard completely, allowing the skilful musicianship of each member to be heard in their full glory. As stated at the start of the review, while I do prefer the two albums after this more than this one, I do think that this is the band at their most cohesive and perfect, as other than a couple of small gripes with it (particularly with Roulette Dares, which a lot of people seem to love, so I'll leave that one as purely up to preference) I honestly cannot fault this album. This is one of those albums which I'll heavily recommend to almost anyone, but keep in mind that if you aren't a fan of the somewhat noisier side of music, you likely won't fully enjoy this album. at least the first couple of times through, but if you're looking for some prog with a more modern spin on things, l highly recommend you check this out.

Review by siLLy puPPy
5 stars In the world of progressive punk = pronk, perhaps nobody pulled it off better and more dramatically than THE MARS VOLTA. Sure the Cardiacs may have popularized the unthinkable fusional possibilities but at the heart of their sound was a zolo art pop approach that took catchy infectious melodies and nerded them out big time. THE MARS VOLTA on the other hand went for the prog jugular with highbrow concept albums and sprawling soundscapes that mixed post-hardcore, psychedelic rock, progressive electronica and even Latin jazz. The band seemed to have come from nowhere with its lauded debut DE-LOUSED IN THE COMATORIUM which despite almost no promotion still managed to make the top spot on favorite lists when it arrived in 2003 from its sheer boldness to take prog and punk to incredible new heights.

Riding the wave of the 90s prog revival that flourished, El Paso, TX based THE MARS VOLTA arose from the ashes of the up and coming post-hardcore band At The Drive-In, which was at the verge of crossing over into the mainstream but the bored duo of vocalist and lyricist Cedric Bixler-Zavala along with guitarist Omar Rodríguez-López grew tired of their bandmates unwillingness to experiment and instead opted to go it alone. THE MARS VOLTA spent the next 13 years releasing one mind-altering experimental album after another beginning with what many consider their best, the abstractly titled DE-LOUSED IN THE COMATORIUM. While this duo's former bandmates would form the post-hardcore Sparta and dwell in the world of generic uninventiveness, Bixler-Zavala and Rodríguez-López were hell bent for leather to craft some of the most bizarre constructs of psychedelic post-hardcore enveloped in the reverie of classic 70s prog extremities.

This is one of those albums that has just as bizarre of a story behind it as the music presented. While the song titles, lyrics and overall themes are just as abstract and surreal as the album cover art, the album's concept revolves around the tale of Cerpin Taxt, a man who enters a week-long coma after overdosing on a mixture of morphine and rat poison and is indirectly dedicated to the death of Bixler-Zavala's friend Julio Venegas who was an El Paso artist. Ironically the album coincided with the death of another close friend and collaborator Jeremy Michael Ward who was a founding member of THE MARS VOLTA as the sound manipulator that gave the band that extra edge over the competition much in the vein of other production rich artists like Porcupine Tree and Riverside. Ward was found dead after a heroin overdose which was the moment when the due of Bixler-Zavala and Rodríguez-López took a cold hard look at their own drug habits and went cold turkey. The duo henceforth put its energy into crafting material for THE MARS VOLTA which apparently paid off.

While Bixler-Zavala and Rodríguez-López would be the only two consistent members and main creative contributors to THE MARS VOLTA, this debut showcases what was truly a band effort with Jon Theodore on drums, Isaiah Owens on keyboards, a guest appearance of Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers on bass and is the only album to feature the now deceased Jeremy Michael Ward who produced the myriad effects and sound manipulations. The album also found extra help from Lenny Castro providing the Latin jazz percussion, John Frusicante also of the Red Hot Chili Peppers contributing additional guitar parts and synthesizers and acoustic bass parts from Justin Meldal-Johnson. The album also attracted a ridiculous amount of producers mixing and mastering personal as well as the legendary Rick Rubin joining Rodríguez-López in the producer's seat. In other words, there was a LOT of effort put into this densely packed hour's run of fine-crafted musical output and the efforts were quite triumphant in their delivery.

Although the simplified formula of THE MARS VOLTA is to juxtapose brash post-hardcore guitar riffs, bantering bass grooves and a tumultuous percussive drive that sat equidistantly between metal and punk, the band excelled at filling the connective tissue of transitions with extremely psychedelic and surreal electronic motifs that completely broke free from Earth's gravitational pull and took a trip into the spaced out world of artists such as Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze. While sonically oft tied to the post-hardcore of At The Drive-In, the lay out of the composiitons was much more akin to the heavyweights of 1970s progressive rock thus earning THE MARS VOLTA as one of the best newer prog bands to usher in the 21st century for its innovative approach that actually suited the oft abused term 'progressive.' Add to that the emo bellowing wails of Bixler-Zavala's vocal style and you're in for one unique musical experience.

While the above mentioned formula straddles the album's hour long run, the 12 minute plus 'Cicatriz E.S.P.' takes things even further as the opening proggy post-hardcore beginning morphs into one of the most surreal electronic free floats into the astral plane outside of that famous deleted scene from Avatar. This truly is one of the most unique albums of the 21st century that runs the gamut from highly pyroclastic displays of post-hardcore orotundity to the saucerful of secrets escape from reality that takes a ride on the astral side and craft some of the trippiest electronic sequences since the early Krautrock and progressive electronic scenes of decades prior. THE MARS VOLTA was by no means an easy band for me to get into. Bixler-Zavala's vocal style is very much an acquired taste and although the music has always resonated especially in the complex compositional approach, the vocals took me a lot longer to jive with but after the proper acclimation i find they actually serve the music quite well and keep it in the world of totally unique and idiosyncratic. True that DE-LOUSED IN THE COMATORIUM may seem weird for the sake of weirdness but after considerable attention paid to the details, i can only glean a inexplicable admiration for the amount of detail to every single second of this album's run. In other words, this is a utterly brilliant!

Latest members reviews

2 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 som ... (read more)

Report this review (#1445586) | Posted by marcobrusa | Monday, July 27, 2015 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#1047750) | Posted by LakeGlade12 | Sunday, September 29, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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 p ... (read more)

Report this review (#980677) | Posted by siegese7en | Tuesday, June 18, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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. ... (read more)

Report this review (#905283) | Posted by zeqexes | Saturday, February 2, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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, ... (read more)

Report this review (#626852) | Posted by BnT | Sunday, February 5, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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 t ... (read more)

Report this review (#572672) | Posted by Redug | Monday, November 21, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 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 Rodr ... (read more)

Report this review (#466359) | Posted by voliveira | Tuesday, June 21, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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 w ... (read more)

Report this review (#454017) | Posted by besotoxico | Monday, May 30, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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 ex ... (read more)

Report this review (#402126) | Posted by Mystery | Thursday, February 17, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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..... ... (read more)

Report this review (#285083) | Posted by The Monodrone | Saturday, June 5, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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 to ... (read more)

Report this review (#279900) | Posted by Gentlegiantprog | Thursday, April 29, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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 s ... (read more)

Report this review (#273586) | Posted by mohaveman | Monday, March 22, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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 h ... (read more)

Report this review (#251856) | Posted by Lezaza | Friday, November 20, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#248076) | Posted by native bandit | Wednesday, November 4, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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 prog ... (read more)

Report this review (#227107) | Posted by Ndubz | Thursday, July 16, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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 an ... (read more)

Report this review (#224198) | Posted by Tzibo | Thursday, July 2, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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 t ... (read more)

Report this review (#223787) | Posted by TheLastBaron | Monday, June 29, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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 co ... (read more)

Report this review (#221482) | Posted by JgX 5 | Tuesday, June 16, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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 mo ... (read more)

Report this review (#218759) | Posted by topofsm | Friday, May 29, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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, ... (read more)

Report this review (#207969) | Posted by HammerOfPink | Saturday, March 21, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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