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The Mars Volta - The Bedlam in Goliath CD (album) cover


The Mars Volta


Heavy Prog

3.53 | 530 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
1 stars Unlistenable.

This is a somewhat conflicted review for me. While The Mars Volta used to unquestionably be my favourite band in the days of Tremulant and De-Loused in the Comatorium, times have changed - and so has their direction. The signs were there even on the exceptional De-loused of the downhill spiral that was to await TMV. If you compare the summer demo sessions of the De-loused songs to the final album cut it is quite clear that the gritty visceral feel has given way to polished production and a pop vocal focus.

Fast forward some five years later and their latest album 'The Bedlam in Goliath' has brought many of the worst fears I held about this band into reality. Cedric's high pitched vocals which I once considered quirky are now oppressively forced into the listener's face, drenched with schoolgirl harmonies and insincerity. And layered underneath are the spastic outbursts of Omar's guitar and showoff newbie drummer Thomas Pridgen as they compete for the attention of the listener as if their life depended on it. Worst of all though is the production - unbearable. It has been so compressed for commercial 'loudness wars' era radioplay that I can't even sit through more than 5 minutes at a time without feeling physically agitated or sick. This dynamically bankrupt release also scores low in the compositional department too with none of the genuine emotion or memorable interplay of pre-amputechture releases.

Unless you are quite into top 40 production aesthetics and the sound of instruments falling down a staircase, I would advise you to stay away from this release. The oppressive and unrelenting combination of pop production and zero dynamic variance have rendered this album to me - unlistenable.

FruMp | 1/5 |


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