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


The Mars Volta


Heavy Prog

3.52 | 524 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Modern Day Freak Out

Eat an entire dark chocolate cheesecake. Then drink a pot of coffee. Then stick your finger in a light socket and leave it there. You've now approximated the mood The Mars Volta is trying to evoke with A BEDLAM IN GOLIATH. Overstimulation is the single word to describe it. As manic as Cedric's screeches over Omar's barely controlled chaos had been in the past, this really is there stimulant-induced peak. Obviously, this isn't for everyone.

I'm not sure it's even for me. This happened to be the first Mars Volta album I had, and though I kinda sorta liked it, it prevented me from checking out their other work. Because once you've finished this album, you've had more than enough. From the opening clamor of "Abernikula" to the slippery melody of "Ilyena" to the ethnic trippiness of "Soothsayer" to the metallic grind of "Ouroboros," this is where TMV basically took their adrenaline crown and made it beyond the reach of mortal man.

Recently, I've been checking out the remainder of TMV's catalog. Some of their other albums make more musical sense. Many of the songs are better written. In fact, TMV's other extreme, OCTAHEDRON, truly delights me with its melodicism. But when that little voice in the back of the mind says "How about some Mars Volta?" what it's asking for is chaotic intensity. And for that you're just not going to beat THE BEDLAM IN GOLIATH.

It has taken a LONG time for me to appreciate this album. But like much of the best prog, repeated listens reward here. The extra close listens I give to review have really helped my appreciation for TBiG. Assuming that the emotional space is something that appeals, this disc is worth the time. To be sure, sometimes for me I'm just not in this headspace. But when I am, nothing is going to hit it like this. I understand why the debut gets the high ratings because it still has the hungry energy of a new band, and treads a better balance between the different aspects of the band's sound.

This one is caffeine is sonic form.

Negoba | 4/5 |


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