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The Mars Volta - Amputechture CD (album) cover


The Mars Volta


Heavy Prog

3.87 | 579 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars The Mars Volta's Amputechture takes all of the more bizarre, experimental elements from the previous two album, Deloused in the Comatorium and Frances the Mute, and has them take centre stage as the main attraction while also ditching the concept album formula in favour of crafting a group of tightly written songs. Each song has different qualities to it that make it unique, and while the seemingly intentional overblown, chaotic and dissonant nature of the album will scare some people off, I personally find this to be the crowning achievement of the band. Despite essentially throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks, this kitchen sink approach to songwriting has worked surprisingly well in the favour of the band, creating diverse music that ranges from atmospheric jams, jazz, and even occasionally some world music thrown in, along with many other interesting moments with very little filler.

Vicarious Atonement starts things off slowly, with incredible atmosphere and great guitar work, with Cedric's vocals further accentuating the somewhat creepy, yet also despondent tone. This is a slow burner for sure, with a lot of use of space and ambience within the track, perfectly setting the listener up for the aural bombardment that is Tetragrammaton. The moment this song kicks in, the familiarity to previous works is somewhat found, with the standard sort of chaotic instrumentation that is a staple of the band. This is my second Mars Volta song for sure, managing to create a 16 minute song without a single second of filler, with the semi spoken word section bridging into the next two verses to be one of my favourite musical moments, constantly escalating while creating an extremely fun groove, all exploding into a near cacophonous chorus. The next noteworthy track is Meccamputechture, which acts as the centrepiece to the album in more ways than just placement, as it perfectly incorporates elements from other songs on the album, predominantly the riff from Tetragrammaton and some bongos that will be later used in Day of the Baphomets. Along with this, the saxophone on this track is simply amazing, along with the intro and outro both being absolutely top notch as well, especially the borderline acapella in the intro. The final incredibly noteworthy song is Day of the Baphomets, which is not only my favourite Mars Volta song, but my favourite song of all time, with a perfect blend of technicality with tone and even being fun in the process. The intro comes in and instantly feels like some sort of twisted, tribal chant, before leading in to some harrowing vocal work, causing the song to have a tone not too unlike a panic attack of sorts. This pace continues throughout the the entirety of the song, all climaxing in one of the most off kilter percussion solos I've heard.

The song VIscera Eyes, Vermicide and Asilos Magdalena are all incredibly good songs and act as breaks between the 3 massive epics, with Vermicide being a fairly straightforward song with a good chorus and good use of distortion and Asilos Magdalena being sung entirely in Spanish and being the most pleasant moment on the album, to the point of being downright relaxing, even if in typical TMV fashion, it slowly descends further and further into madness, until it essentially becomes noise. Viscera Eyes, while being a long song, is also a surprisingly straightforward one, having an extremely defined, groovy riff backed up with an extremely tasteful brass section, making for a song that is't all that difficult to listen to while still being adequately interesting, especially once the change of pace occurs.

The single weaker moment on this album comes from the final song, El Ciervo Vulerado, which while quite psychedelic and atmospheric in nature, is also somewhat drawn out and ends in an unsatisfying manner. Despite this, I still feel as if it is an all around decent song that simply doesn't live up to the soaring heights of anything else from TMV's first three albums.

While this album took quite a while to grow on me due to the extremely abrasive nature that it could have at times along with the general insanity presented, once it did grow, it became my favourite thing this band has ever done, with 3 epics that all represent the Mars Volta at their peak of songwriting, along with many other songs that can also stand very strongly. Cedric's vocals here are even more high pitched and absurd than before, with a falsetto that can be described in no other way than ridiculous. The instrumentation, particularly Jon Theodore's drumming is incredible here as well, with very little time spent doing pointless stuff for the sake of complexity, as each section of a song feels like it is an integral part of it. What really sets this album apart for me however, is the sense of fun that it has while still maintaining a mostly serious, occasionally terrifying tone, creating a difficult, yet highly enjoyable listen.

Best Tracks - Tetragrammaton, Day of the Baphomets, Meccamputechture

Weakest Tracks - El Ciervo Vulnerado

Kempokid | 5/5 |


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