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


The Mars Volta


Heavy Prog

4.07 | 1007 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Sgt. Smiles
5 stars An absolute sonic masterpiece.

No denying that I'm a fanboy of Omar Rodriguez- Lopez and his musical excursions, namely The Mars Volta, and Frances The Mute is the prime reason. After hearing this record all the way through for maybe the 3rd time, I found that I could not escape it. At the time I recall not really being taken back by any new bands I came across. My overall desire for mood-altering and mind-expanding music had begun to slowly sink, only to be ripped from the depths and abruptly resuscitated once I put this on. I needed to hear it more and more. Many years have passed since my obsession with Frances, but the album's overall power and intrigue have remained strong.

At 76+ minutes of music this album is not made for a quick spin, especially considering it consists of only 5 "songs": 3 mini-epics (Cygnus.../Miranda/ L'via L'viaquez), 1 standard song (the Widow) and 1 grand epic (Cassandra Gemini). Cassandra stands atop all the epics I've ever heard, and is usually a favorite among Volta fans. The combination of frantic intensity and beautiful psychedelia is ever present in the music and vocals alike. Overpowering and lush, and exquisitely creepy. I absolutely love getting trapped in this music, not that I can fight it. With Frances The Mute, Omar and Cedric and their gaggle of superbly skilled musicians provide a dark and dream-like world yet to be rivaled, even by themselves.

With 300+ reviews I guess I'm not adding anything new, only spewing my adoration. Amputecture is my favorite Volta album (for now), but I can't deny that Frances is their masterpiece. The songs are long and occasionally repetitive, and there's a ton of ambient and spacey filler, but it works extermely well. The ferocity of Cygnus, the eerie alure of The Widow, the intertwining song styles of L'via, Miranda's tranquility and crescendo, all of these gripping in their own right, only lead to the albums grandiose sonic onslaught Cassandra Gemini. And let's not forget the absolutely haunting vocal performance and warped bi-lingual lyrics!

Frances The Mute is nonetheless a marvelous soundscape that I highly recommend navigating through. It sounds like a never-ending battle between good and evil, and will likely remain in my top 10 albums for eternity.

5 stars is not enough.

Sgt. Smiles | 5/5 |


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