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The Mars Volta - Octahedron CD (album) cover


The Mars Volta


Heavy Prog

3.68 | 466 ratings

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Erik Nymas
3 stars Light? Just a bit less

So? Bedlam was almost a waste of money, from Amputechture (some parts of it not all the disc) TMV were going into an even strange direction, from my point of view that direction was far far away from prog music: a bit too metal 'without brakes', a bit too many jam parts, a bit too Bixler-Zavala without any control. I've put my eyes on this album with some hopes to see a reprise of the 'old TMV', since I liked a lot their debut album, and even the other works (at least 'till the weak Day of the Baphomets) are sublime prog pieces fullfilled with experimentations. So? Since this Octahedron make the point of 'light' TMV it'll be considered as a poppish album, at least after 2 or 3 spins and a lot of listener will mark it as garbage (I was doing the same mistake).

Apart from this introduction, this album works as a time hourglass: at the start almost every song (maybe Cotopaxi and Desperate Graves are the exception) start quietly with Bixler-Zavala's voice (and this time the guy use his voice as an instrument, like Anderson for Yes to be more clear) that follow the music, simple in most parts or great & strong while the song flows away, like the costant growing in the first track or the costant motion of Copernicus in a crescendo of tunes and atmospheres. So? TMV learned to make 'easy' music? Yep that's all, folks! ... or not? Well ''almost'' is the right answer. Since TMV have fullfilled their trademark with the costant 'drum-noise' of Bedlam (I know too many people that know ONLY Bedlam and Amputechture and from those they dislike tracks like Vicarious Atonement in favour of more 'movimented tracks') or jam parts I think this as a strong turn in the prevoius way, maybe even a kind of change that every strong group of musicians make in their career (Gen's passage to pop music, PT's abbandon of psych and more, in the present and past). This conclusion bring us to the last point of the review: when I bought the disc I thought that a good group like TMV deserved another chance so here we are: talking about the 'light' version of TMV, playing it over and over thinking about how weak can be the difference between the pop music and the 'jammed drum-noise' for the ears of a proghead, or about a group of musicians that made wrong decisions and now in a kind of fear about their income maybe will take the same path of Dream Theater, vandalizing their own music to sellsellsellsell. I hope not.

So I've finished the words, the album worth his price, the songs are good to listen, the Bixler-Zavala/Rodriguez-Lopez duet is still there to write/sing/sell the music but they aren't the old good TMV of De-Louses, not even the ones of Amputechture. Good not more not less. Honestly for what I was expecting from them not even a star, but for the album alone they're still 3 dirty stars.

Erik Nymas | 3/5 |


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