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

FRANCES THE MUTE

The Mars Volta

 

Heavy Prog

4.07 | 897 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Kempokid
5 stars After the controlled chaos of their debut album, The Mars Volta began to further experiment with their music, especially with the concept of dissonance and ambience, creating an album that is more demanding of the listener, but one that I personally find to be far more rewarding as well. While I found Deloused in the Comatorium to be very energetic, Frances the Mute takes it further and becomes downright hyperactive and unhinged.

Despite this further experimentation and the more abrasive nature of the music, there is a considerable amount of unity and cohesion between the tracks, having them all share at least some basic elements of latin music, whether it be the spanish lyrics in Cygnus... Vismund Cygnus and L'via L'viaquez, or the horns used in most of the tracks, giving the music a latin flavour to it. This sort of sound gives a very distinct identity to the album as a whole, while having each song able to then explore their own particular concepts to the fullest, as each song definitely has its own unique idea that the song is based around

. Cygnus... Vismund Cygnus is an extremely chaotic song that is by far the most consistent track on the album, maintaining insane instrumentation and using the quieter sections to their full effect in order to provide moments of reprieve within, all coming together to form an incredible song. The Widow is next, and is by far the most standard song on the album, having nothing in particular to consider very experimental or unique, instead focusing on the intense emotion brought forth by Cedric's vocals, which really make this song great. L'via L'viaquez brings its latin influence to the forefront, complete with almost entirely spanish vocals and a very danceable melody. This is definitely the most fun song on the album, with further enjoyment to be found in the blatantly over the top guitar solos that permeate the song, yet doing it in such a way that it works amazingly in its favour, as they continue to escalate throughout, but never overstay their welcome. Miranda, That Ghost Just Isn't Holy Anymore utilises one of the most noticeable elements of the album to great effect, ambience. The main portion of the song is surrounded on either side by long stretches of complete ambience, which provides an incredible atmosphere to the track, along with a melancholy tone, with such effective ambience that it honestly doesn't feel like pointless filler, but adds greatly to the song. The final, and by far the best song on the album is Cassandra Gemini, which combines so many different ideas into one 32 minute masterpiece, constantly changing tone, melody, structure, everything. This is definitely one of the high points in the entire catalogue of Mars Volta songs, managing to make a song go on so long without a single moment that feels forced or out of place, starting off with a bang, and continuing it for all the song. I find it genuinely hard to describe this song, since so much goes on in it that I couldn't pick out an individual part to analyse, and have it represent this piece as a whole. This is an incredible song in every respect, and the absolute perfect way to close the album.

One aspect that I've only briefly mentioned is the ambience used throughout this album, which is a highly divisive element of it. I personally really enjoy these sections, as they create some really interesting soundscapes and really tie the album together for me. I personally find this to be the Mars Volta's best album, as while it is somewhat messier at points compared to the almost perfect Deloused in the Comatorium, the heights this album reaches far outweigh any minor gripes I have with it (mostly the Widow's final few minutes being overlong). Definitely check out Deloused first, as it is more accessible in general, but this is their true masterpiece.

Kempokid | 5/5 |

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