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The Mars Volta - Frances the Mute CD (album) cover


The Mars Volta


Heavy Prog

4.07 | 1006 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Prog Reviewer
2 stars Attracted by the progressive track lengths, the frequent praise I heard for the band, and the single of the track The Widow, I felt compelled to give this album a shot. However, the result was pretty ugly. Let me tell you right away here: I absolutely love weird music. If it's good music, I'll like it. But if it's good music and really strange, I'll spin it constantly for a long time. And the real pain of The Mars Volta, at least for this album (I may yet give some others of theirs a chance or two, seeing as how many fans of the band aren't huge fans of this one either), there actually are some good parts. The first half of The Widow, most of L'Via, spots and shimmers of brilliance here and there, you know. Of course, most of the time when they pull through with some quality melody or something, the sound is very, very reminiscent of Rush. I'm not a big fan of comparing bands and sounds, but this one was too painfully profound to me for me to let it slide.

But the real problem with this album is the fact that the majority of it is just noise. And don't get me wrong, I've got a special place in my heart for simple noise and painful ambiance. Heck, I regularly spin Devin Townsend's Devlab for fun. But this stuff just doesn't work. The production is inconsistent, the sound choice obnoxious, making the doodling and wheedling merely come across as a band that wants to be able to play something serious technical but can't. And I KNOW this band is talented. They've got some chops sprinkled throughout. The vocalist has a fantastic voice. But the songwriting throughout this CD is simply weak at best. This is most likely the only source of long songs that I actually prefer cut into singles. Weed out the noise, and you could have a pretty good fifteen minute mini-album.

And that's where I stand. Two stars for some good bits. And I think that's pretty generous, at least from my standpoint. I respect what these guys are trying to do. But I don't think it works, at least not in this case.

LiquidEternity | 2/5 |


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