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The Mars Volta - Octahedron CD (album) cover


The Mars Volta


Heavy Prog

3.64 | 422 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'Octahedron' - The Mars Volta (7/10)

Following a pretty dissapointing bout with 'The Bedlam In Goliath,' The Mars Volta's self- proclaimed 'acoustic album' comes as a very refreshing return to quality, although failing to reach the glory of their first works. While 'Bedlam' may have been chock-full of chaos, noise and atonality, 'Octahedron' makes out to be their most conventional and 'accessible' piece of music to date. While some of the band's more hardcore fans might see this as a sign of the band slowing down, I for one am very relieved to see the band decided to recoil from the path they were on, to do something unexpected and new in their career.

Of course, the big controversy with 'Octahedron' is it's label as an 'acoustic album,' while fans everywhere swear that the music is full of electric guitar. While the music is certainly not 'acoustic' in the conventional sense, the message is very clear; the band here is trying to take a much less dense approach to their music, which helps remedy alot of the issues that the band had in albums prior. For the first time in their career, their use of psychedelic effects is becoming effective and much more polished than before, where it seemed a bit too over- indulgent. For the most part, the focus of the songs relies on the melodies of vocalist Cedric Bixler-Zavala, whose voice is in top form for this album.

While the album does keep a cohesive string of pretty good music throughout the album, there are a few parts that recall back to 'The Bedlam In Goliath;' meanwhile other parts feel a bit too bland and mellow. While I laud The Mars Volta for developing their sound in the right direction, a little bit more balance between extremes could help the band regain even more of their past glory. In any case, while the group hasn't entirely redeemed themselves and pulled themselves out of their recession, they are certainly making progress, and I believe that their next release (provided it continues to develop the group's music) has real potential to make waves in the prog rock scene, like before.

Conor Fynes | 4/5 |


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