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The Mars Volta

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The Mars Volta Scab Dates album cover
2.74 | 118 ratings | 26 reviews | 14% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Live, released in 2005

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Abrasions Mount the Timpani (4:07)
2. Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt (5:56)
3. a) Gust of Mutts (2:34)
4. b) And Ghosted Pouts (4:52)
5. Caviglia (2:45)
6. Concertina (4:17)
7. Haruspex (5:23)
8. Cicatriz (8:16)
9. a) Part 1 (2:33)
10. b) Part 2 (7:49)
11. c) Part 3 (4:27)
12. d) Part 4 (20:00)

Total Time: 72:49

Line-up / Musicians

- Cedric Bixler Zavala / vocals
- Omar A Rodriguez-Lopez / guitars
- Jon Theodore / drums
- Juan Alderete / bass
- Ikey Owens / keyboards
- Marcel Rodriguez / percussion

Releases information

CD Universal Records 0602498867884 (2005 Europe)
2LP Gold Standard Laboratories GSL 118 (2005 US)
CD Universal Records, Universal Music Australia 9886788 (2005 Australia)
CD Universal Records (2005 Indonesia)
CD Universal Records 9886788 (2005 Argentina)
CD Universal Records B0005644-02 (2005 US)
CD Universal Records, Gold Standard Laboratories 9886788 (2005 Mexico)
CD Universal Records, UMG Recordings, Inc. UICU-1105 (2005 Japan)
CD Universal Records B000564402 (2005 Canada)
CD Universal Records UNIVB000564402 (2005 US)
SHM-CD Universal Records, UMG Recordings, Inc. UICY-90959 (2008 Japan)

Take note, there are only three songs split into twelve parts...the songs are as follows:
Abrasions/Take The Veil/Gust of Mutts/And Ghosted Pouts = 17:29
Caviglia/Concertina = 7:02
Haruspex/Cicatriz/Pt 1/Pt 2/Pt 3/Pt 4 = 48:18

Thanks to maidenrulez for the addition
and to The Bearded Bard for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy THE MARS VOLTA Scab Dates Music

THE MARS VOLTA Scab Dates ratings distribution

(118 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(14%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(25%)
Good, but non-essential (32%)
Collectors/fans only (18%)
Poor. Only for completionists (12%)

THE MARS VOLTA Scab Dates reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Yanns
3 stars Ah, a live glimpse of The Mars Volta, one of the greatest, most mind blowing bands of the current age. After De-Loused and the absolute masterpiece of Frances, not many people know where TMV are going to go next. They are extremely unpredictable (in a good way of course), and this seems to be the interim album, recording between, I think, May 2004 and May 2005.

Even a real, die-hard Mars Volta fan would look at the back of the album, look at the tracks, and recognize only two or three tracks from the entire thing. Take the Veil..., Concertina, and Cicatriz would ring some bells, but we'd get confused by the absence of the "ESP" after the word "Cicatriz".

Also, the weird track listing is enough to throw anyone off. Take The Veil... and Cicatriz have two and 4 subsection, respectively. However, they are separate songs. What I mean is this: Take the Veil is track two, and its two sections are 3 and 4. Odd, huh. Well, that's how they do it. It's more adding on two sections to Take the Veil... and adding 4 sections to Cicatriz, which does the same thing.

Anywho, on to the album itself. The Mars Volta live is much different than studio TMV. They've always been a more loose-feeling, semi-jamming band, but live, that influence is fully taken through. The free, seemingly drug-induced jamming thrives throughout, and it is fantastic. (To explain why I say drug-induced, just listen to the 4 sub-parts of Cicatriz, what with the bits of no music and voices right in the middle of all the stuff.)

Also, one note is that Cedric's vocals are really changed. Just listen to the way he sings "A mass of gallon sloth" in Take the Veil... I personally think that Cedric is in the top 5 vocalists of current times, among the best of all time as well. He's just... different, live. It takes a bit of getting used to, I'm not gonna lie.

Yet, overall, it provides for some enjoyable stuff. I love the band, and this is a very good output from them. 3/5 stars.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars Big apology for hard core fans of The Mars Volta. This time I have to give one star rating because this live album has nothing to offer at all. It's probably the band tries to express their weirdo through much more exploration on sound effects. Not onle that sound effects that bother me but also the sonic quality of the CD. It sounds like a bootleg recording with no effort to make the sound mixing smoother. I don't know on which angle people could enjoy this album. Oh yeas, I do enjoy the band's "Deloused .." and "Frances The Mute" albums. But in this album, I cannot find which angle I should position my ears to digest the music wholeheartedly. Too many distortions produced from guitar. The sounds are too raw and too rough. But that's what makes this album interesting for some people. But it's not for me. Sorry, I still have other good prog albums worth listening than this one. Big apology for those die hard fans. Even though it's poor but I own it also for the sake of having a complete set of TMV albums. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by russellk
2 stars Few live albums are able to convey to the listener the live experience. THE MARS VOLTA are a stupendous live band: how does this album measure up?

Dismally, in a word.

A THE MARS VOLTA concert generally has more shape than this, more energy, more presence. The amount of studio tinkering has laid an impenetrable plastic surface on this performance, making it almost impossible for me to enjoy. The songs are practically unrecognisable jamfest extensions of the originals. I have bootlegs that far better reflect the live THE MARS VOLTA experience. What a swizz - robbing fans a chance to hear their favourite TMV songs live! (Unless your three favourite songs are Cicatriz, Concertina and Take the Veil.) We don't need a 42 minute version of 'Cicatriz'.

There's a great deal to admire here, but not much to enjoy. Don't judge THE MARS VOLTA on this disc. Go catch 'Drunkship' or 'Roulette Dares' on YouTube instead.

Review by Prog Leviathan
3 stars Fans of Mars Volta who haven't seen the band live yet (like me), will probably be disappointed by this attempt to capture a performance which comes across as too ephemeral to understand second-hand; there is a lot going on here, but much of it is so abstract as to be unintelligible directly-- it's best just to go along for the ride.

That being said, "Scab Dates" features powerful versions of a few great Mars Volta songs, which have plenty of improvisation and tweaked moments to almost make them unrecognizable until Bixler sings a chorus or two. The moments where we do get to listen to straightforward guitar destruction and various instrumental awesomeness is quite enjoyable.

The end result is one which will usually impress the listener but also leave them scratching their head, wondering just what the heck is going on stage at the time... or why the middle of songs fade to voyeuristic/psychedelic voice-overs and fadeouts. These crazy moments do detract from the music, but, hey-- you like Mars Volta BECAUSE they're crazy, right?

Setlist 2 Instrumental Performances 4 Stage Energy 3 Live Experience 4

Review by Moatilliatta
2 stars This one gets a lot of heat around here. It's quite clear why. Scab Dates is an egregious attempt at recreating a Mars Volta live experience on CD. I had a bad feeling about this one, truthfully, but I am a loyal, confident fan, so I bought it on release date as usual...

The album is comprised of only 3 actual songs: "Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt," "Concertina," and "Cicatriz," and each song has its own improvised intro which is given its own track and title. The disc still passes 70 minutes, as the band jams out a lot. As soon as you start the album its apparent that the album has been heavily a studio. The intro of the album, "Abrasions Mount the Timpani," is loaded with studio effects and samples of babies crying before we actually get to the performance. The Mars Volta do open their shows with some music or sounds before they actually play, but it's nothing at all like this. When the music finally kicks in, you'll notice that the recording quality isn't great. This is already looking dismal. When "Take the Veil" gets going, you can tell that the band is pretty tight and all, but Cedric's voice can be, well, not great. Pulling off some of his stuff live is difficult, but he's getting better every year. This recording, besides not doing his voice justice, obviously lacks the visual element. Anyone who has seen the band live knows that Cedric is a mad man on stage. Therefore, we can give some grace for messy vocals, but here we have no idea what's going on. He's not always off, but he's not ever what we'd expect of him. The band plays well, and gets into great jams (again, they are getting better every year), but some of it can get a little boring to sit and listen to or the post-recording studio splicing (specifically in the 40-minute rendition of Cicatriz) ruins the feel of the music. The jams can be phenominal, but the poor recording and studio botching can simply ruin the vibe.

For a fan, this is worth listening to. I listen to it maybe once or twice a year, but when I do listen I am able to get into the jams. It's got some seriously great moments, but generally it's not worth your time when you could listen to a studio album. For those interested in hearing how the band sounds live, avoid this album! Go see them! The Mars Volta put on an inexplicable show and what an experience it is! If you can't for some reason (there is no reason), just wait until another release is available; it's inevitable that they'll put out a DVD. For non-fans, this will not convert you. Why aren't you a fan anyway? For those who are hostile against the group, this will probably just give you more material to bash, and for once we Volta fans will actually have to concede to your arguments, because you actually have a foundation for this one.

Never miss an opportunity to see them live, and never take Scab Dates as a substitute!

Review by progkidjoel
1 stars The Mars Volta - SCABDATES

By progkidjoel

The Mars Volta are said to be one of the best acts of modern prog by many - for what its worth, they've even got an album in the ProgArchives top 100. This is definitely not the reason why, and is one of the worst live performances/recordings I've ever been tortured by. I would do a track by track analysis of this album as I usually write, but I don't feel this pitiful attempt deserves my time or effort.

To begin with, there is zero musicianship displayed on this album - Nothing special, original, clever, and for the majority, nothing even listenable. The tracks are all incredibly bleak and uninteresting, and are recorded and played at an incredibly low standard. To be honest, I wouldn't even reccomend this disc to completionists of The Mars Volta (Yes, it really is that bad.) A terrible introduction to The Mars Volta, this disc recieves my lowest rating thus far, and for good reason - Its just that bad.

I really can't reccomend this disc to anyone - Its just terrible. Invest the money in a quality album from another band, put it towards a car, buy a new shirt, whatever, just avoid this disc at all costs!

1 out of 5. (Deserves nothing more)


Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Hmmm..., pity news. I think that Mars Volta is for a moment one of the best heavy prog band in the world. Their "Frances The Mute" is absolutely masterpiece. But what do we have there, in their first official live album?

First of all, the sound quality could be much more better. Then, music and voice isn't the same you are expecting from studio album. If the music is just different - more heavy metal, more rhythm and drive, less different acoustic pieces and stylistical changes, the voice is just not as good as recorded in studio!

Because of muddy production, you can't hear all guitar nuances and sound texture. Everything is just mixed in one sound wave. Heavy prog became post-punk/metal/grunge noise.

Of course, point of view depends on listener. For heavy Mars Volta fans album isn't bad and just shows another band's face. But for regular listener it's could be quite boring and noisy work without any attractions in it.

Whenever I can't be very neutral ( as a fan of Mars Volta), I think that three is a good mark there.

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I don't know who was doing the recording, but almost everything on Scab Dates sounds terribly murky, as Omar Rodriguez-Lopez's playing is incredibly sloppy throughout the show. And quite frankly, Cedric Bixler-Zavala sounds absolutely trashed- I shudder to speculate what substances were flowing through his veins that night as he wailed off key and muddied the lyrics. At times, the improvisational jams that make some of the familiar songs completely unrecognizable are interesting or even good, but most of the time, they consist of unbearable nonsense played at excruciating volumes. Most of the material is taken from the Tremulent EP and De-Loused in the Comatorium (at least in name only, since the music is vastly different). The entire first track consists of nothing more than horrific noises. "Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt" begins decently enough (relatively speaking), but gets mangled along the way. "Caviglia" seems like a waste of three minutes, with its harrowingly empty sound, but I tend to enjoy their recitation of "Concertina" that follows. "Haruspex" is a jumbled mess of noise with a few pleasing moments (like Isaiah Ikey Owens's brief organ work). One exciting aspect of this album are the sudden transitions from one song to the next. "Circatriz ESP" is extended to a massive finale, which is unquestionably the highlight of the disc and its real saving grace (well, the first half of it, at any rate). Owens and Rodriguez-Lopez trade some impressive solos over Juan Alderete's excellent bass work, and Jon Theodore's drumming is top notch with Marcel Rodriguez lending a hand to fill out the sound. Much of the final piece consists of Rodriguez-Lopez fooling around with his guitar and echo box over a repetitive riff, which is fun for a while, but gets irritating after so long. The twenty-minute final track is completely worthless, with what seems to be the continuation of the concert in the background and a lot of studio experimentation going on over it, including various noises and what sounds to be radio stations. One must ask, what the hell is the point of this? Could not the band have included a few more cuts from their highly acclaimed debut album to make this live album worth acquiring?
Review by Kempokid
1 stars The idea of letting a band as wildly creative as The Mars Volta go completely all out in a live setting sounds frankly incredible on paper, seeing what sorts of surreal jamming can be done to build upon some of their pre-existing material. Unfortunately, what ends up happening on Scabdates is the band completely losing themselves in the process with these long stretches of meandering nonsense that seems to have a total lack of grounding. This is just an all around awful live album for the most part, not just in terms of the compositions themselves being all over the place, but even in terms of the performances themselves. Nobody here seems to be anywhere near in top form, with the instrumentation feeling very messy and Cedric's vocals making him sound like he's half asleep and just going through the motions. The songs themselves rarely benefit from their extended runtimes either, with the additions feeling extremely redundant for the vast majority of the time and not even really lining up with anything else they try to achieve, feeling entirely disconnected from the core that's being built off. Not entirely worthless since you've got parts 2 and 3 of Cicatriz which do in fact work really well, extending things in a more natural way and even including a bit of David Bowie's Ashes to Ashes, which was a very charming moment, but then it ends up devolving into 20 minutes of weird effects and field recordings and goes back to the negatives. I guess this just shows what happens when a band just gets a bit lost in their own madness and self-indulgence, because this ends up having next to none of the appeal that the band typically would have.

Best tracks: Concertina, Cicatriz part 2 and 3

Weakest tracks: Abrasions Mount the Timpani, Caviglia, Cicatriz part 4

Latest members reviews

2 stars This is honestly a huge disappointment. I could ramble on about this, but the reviews that precede me can explain that. All I can say is these three things. 1. Do not buy this unless you need to complete your TMV collection (or want to). It really isn't worth buying to check out. The quality is ... (read more)

Report this review (#195964) | Posted by Treasure | Monday, December 29, 2008 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Despite everything I've said about how great the Mars Volta are, this is too avant-garde/ pretentious for a live album - even for them. I hope they release a more normal live album one day that more accurately reflects what their live performances are like - this seems to a weird mix of many sho ... (read more)

Report this review (#173889) | Posted by PinkPangolin | Saturday, June 14, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is not your typical live album, it was very different then what i expected. I thought it would have around 10 live songs instead there are only are only three songs with lots of improve and these songs are cut up into sections, each section of these song are given strange titles. But the Mars ... (read more)

Report this review (#151962) | Posted by JROCHA | Tuesday, November 20, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars When The Mars Volta started to break into the music scene, it was their live performances that generated the most excitement, because uncompromising energy and experimentation like theirs is incredibly rare. Following up their critically acclaimed Frances the Mute, The Mars Volta provides a seaml ... (read more)

Report this review (#84975) | Posted by kevoltron | Thursday, July 27, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This is only partially a live release. For this album, Omar took some of the bands live recordings, and put them together with some of his own studio experimentation, made up of other recordings he found and made while touring. So what we have here is three excellent live tracks. Take The Vei ... (read more)

Report this review (#82168) | Posted by Harry Hood | Wednesday, June 28, 2006 | Review Permanlink

1 stars As an avid fan of The Mars Volta, the release of this album almost broke my little heart. I remember salivating the night before, hardly able to sleep, waiting until 9am when Tower Records opened so I could get my hand on the latest Mars Volta release. Finally a documentation of their fantasti ... (read more)

Report this review (#82141) | Posted by Equality 7-2521 | Tuesday, June 27, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This one really is a mixed bag! On the other hand the music is of course great, The Mars Volta delivers an energetic and experimental live appearance. The songs take off in every possible direction, yet somehow still stay recognizable. "Take The Veil Cerpin Taxt" is one of TMV's best songs and I ... (read more)

Report this review (#77861) | Posted by | Thursday, May 11, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This album is certainly worthy of a place on the shelf next to De-Loused and Frances. The live version of "Concertina" is perhaps the most spot-on performance of a song I've ever heard. A very good rendition indeed. "Take the Veil" (all 3 parts), "Caviglia", and "Haruspex" are all solid, but ... (read more)

Report this review (#76769) | Posted by nursethisviper | Sunday, April 30, 2006 | Review Permanlink

1 stars I'll contradict everyone and state that it is a rather dull album in a sense that the songs all sound the same. 40 minutes into the album you are still not sure if they are on the first song. Sometimes they are jamming over the same chord for 10 minutes - not a whole lot of excitement, from a ... (read more)

Report this review (#70843) | Posted by EMinkovitch | Wednesday, March 1, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is an amazing live sample of what the Mars Volta is capable of on stage. I wouldn't put in on the category of live albums like "Seconds Out" or "A Live Record" or "Yessongs" because all those are double albums and have a lot of material from their studio albums. This one has only a few song ... (read more)

Report this review (#69079) | Posted by El_Progre | Saturday, February 11, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Although it dosen't have any 'official' new songs, this live album is definately no lower than any of their previous two studio-albums, and EP. Live, the Mars Volta are an incredible force of energy that have to be experienced first hand to really experience it fully. This live album gives an exc ... (read more)

Report this review (#65615) | Posted by ::CerpinTaxt:: | Friday, January 20, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This cd is my first exposure to the mars volta. I must say I am tremedously impressed by it. Excellent musicianship throuout, with several spacey sections thrown in for good measure. Ocassionally there will be a hint of mainstream rock with to be honest sort of annoys me but its all good it do ... (read more)

Report this review (#61486) | Posted by walrus333 | Friday, December 23, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The Mars Volta is an extremely awesome band. There isn't anything that is relatively close to the Mars Volta. I have a feeling that this is a foreshadow of things to come in the future. This is definitely a cd that should be listened to. It hardly sounds like a live album. The only thing that ... (read more)

Report this review (#60984) | Posted by | Tuesday, December 20, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I just love The mars Volta, because it is a band that could always do something out of the expectations. They did it again. Am i gonna say that this album is the greatest i have heard..NO!!!, Of course i like this album very much so, and songs like: take the veil...and the four parts of Cicatr ... (read more)

Report this review (#57284) | Posted by | Monday, November 21, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Yep this is the first offical live album from the fantastic Mars Volta and i have to say my expectations for this album was unusually high, i had heard lots of great reviews about The mars volta's live concerts and was expecting something that was not of the ordinary side of things... Well ... (read more)

Report this review (#56240) | Posted by Lindsay Lohan | Monday, November 14, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Just to clear this up about whether there are tracks from Frances the Mute on this album (although in Part IV, an extention of Cicatriz, there are a few samples from Cassandra Geminni.) I suppose one could say that there are two songs from Deloused in the Comatorium, but they are so different fro ... (read more)

Report this review (#55655) | Posted by Shaikoten | Wednesday, November 9, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I have yet to catch THE MARS VOLTA live, so hearing what they sound like live was something I looked forward to hearing. I've read some reviews that they put on an amazing show. Unfortunately a DVD would be the better medium for this band as the visual intensity would be nice to see. "Scabdat ... (read more)

Report this review (#54822) | Posted by StumpyJoe | Saturday, November 5, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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