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The Mars Volta - Amputechture CD (album) cover


The Mars Volta


Heavy Prog

3.87 | 579 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars The band might well claim that they are fed up with the Led Zep comparison (of which they should be very proud of) but as long as they will produce such a music, there is no wonder that such a comparison is taking place.

"Amputecture" is another kilometric album (just under eighty minutes of "music"). The lengthy album disease stroke back. Again.

One gets the usual mix between psychedelic wild imaginings ("Vicarious Atonment") which are pretty much useless and are nothing but fillers and some great but sub-par Led Zep influenced songs.

The best of "Amputecture" is by far the excellent "Tetragrammaton" which is a correct representation of their work in general. Disjointed and psychedelic parts, high-pitched and screaming vocals sections, combined with hardish and loose guitar breaks.

Even if I'm not a huge TMV fan, I can easily understand how comes all the hype about this (relatively) new band. My only worry being that this sort of music was already played almost forty years ago by who you should know by now.

One major difference still. And I have already mentioned this in a previous TMV review. They play in the studio like Led Zep on stage. Meaning overlong and extremely complex solo, instrumental parts. I have been bred with the fantastic call / response work from the giants and the ones I hear from TMV are just clones. But good ones, I admit.

Don't misunderstand. I like TMV. But only moderately. IMHHO, their best effort so far is their debut album which I rated with four stars. Frances was quite a deception, but I have to say that "Amputecture" does hold fine moments of which the absolute highlight is "Tetragrammaton".

"Vermicide" is a short jewel (in TMV standards) which displays some great and wild feeling. I quite like the band while they "shorten" some of their songs. When they don't feel obliged to extend their compositions exaggeratedly ("Meccamputechture"). If ever some of you might get irritated by Plant's voice, I'm afraid that you won't be able to bear Cedric's one. But it's not a problem for me.

One great feature of the band is of course their habit to produce some of their songs in Spanish. I am of course rather sensitive to this since half of my life is Mexican. When you listen to a song as "Asilos Magadelena" you can only be blown away. To go on with the Led Zep similarity you can compare this one with, let's say, "Going To California" or "That's The Way". Just to get you the picture.

The bilingual and funky "Viscera Eyes" was actually already written some time ago (in a pre-TMV line- up) but doesn't sound alien to this album. Just that this lengthy track doesn't move me at all if you would except a great and fully page oriented guitar solo. Did you say original???

"Day of the Baphomets" is probably the most chaotic track from this album. The disjointed sax inevitably brings me back to VDGG. But I'm not thrilled with this song. It goes into too many directions and I can't find any understandable storyboard in here. Pure wildness with little feeling. Not my cup of tea.

A good album which could have been better if you would exclude the opening track as well as the "Baphomets" stuff. The closing number is also limit. Another psyche trip as the opener. Was it to loop the loop? In this case they have succeeded in their concept. But I am not at all convinced with these highly "loaded" interpretations or sounds.

Three stars.

ZowieZiggy | 3/5 |


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