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The Mars Volta - Scab Dates CD (album) cover


The Mars Volta


Heavy Prog

2.73 | 113 ratings

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Eclectic Prog Team
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?
Epignosis | 2/5 |


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