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The Mars Volta - Amputechture CD (album) cover


The Mars Volta


Heavy Prog

3.87 | 568 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars After owning the album for a month and a half, I think it's done all the growing it needs. This is surely the most abstract and difficult listen from the group yet. I'm truely amazed at how many people are claiming this to be either the first Mars Volta album they could get into or that it was their best work yet (for the latter, at least when the album had just leaked on the internet; I don't see how it clicked so easily for them). I had so much anticipation pent up for this, and even more so since the release date was pushed back another three weeks from the initial projection. I managed not to hear a second of this before putting my copy in the CD player. Not knowing what to expect, here is what I encountered:

The first track was very nice, seven minutes of soft, blissful music unlike anything from before. It served as a great start, though it's not much of a stand-alone song. As I watched the time nearing the end of the first track, I braced myself, waiting for the inevitable explosion of maniacal brilliance. "Tetragrammaton" did provide the off-the- wall music I was anticipating, but it seemed surprisingly toned down. I can't even explain it, the tempos were high, the drumming was all over the place, etc. Everything was in its right place, Cedric even hit his highest notes yet (he seems to hit higher notes every album), but something just seemed different. Through the whole 16+ minutes of song, I was waiting to hear them go totally nuts, but the whole time I got nothing. It was rather restrained. It left me doing a mental shrug. The next track, "Vermicide," was an easy listen. The only track under 5 minutes, simple, but very good. "Meccamputecture" had a very cool intro, but then, as the preceding epic, it seemed so different than what I anticipated. It seemed more restrained, and empty. Considering it was 11 minutes long, there wasn't a whole lot of traversing, as I was accustomed to. "Asilos Magdalena" was beautiful, though it had a bizarre ending, which I didn't understand until later. It really had a thematic meaning when putting it to the lyrics (which are all in Spanish). Viscera Eyes was a real rocker. Cool tune, but not spectacular, until about five or six minutes into it when the song does a total change with a fun bassline. All that follows was one of the more enjoyable parts I had heard yet. Then, as we got to the final epic, I had really high hopes that it would bank on all of my hopes, and my goodness did it! Wow, "Day of the Baphomets" was everything I had hoped to hear from them here, the energy and power to be specific. There is a bass solo at the beginning and auxiliary percussion solo towards the end, which were neat surprises. Then, after being totally satisfied with that song, "El Ciervo Vulnerado" turned out to be a long, boring, useless track. It sort of rides the same lines as the intro, but it doesn't conclude anything; it doesn't even conclude itself (literally, the song cuts off in the middle of something, or nothing depending on how you view the song, either way, it ends out of nowhere). I was left confused, however I bet that was Cedric and Omar's aim. I don't even think they are ever going to revisit the incomplete ending of this album.

However, upon countless listens, almost everything I didn't get or appreciate clicked. The last track still does nothing for me, making it the first Mars Volta track that I can not give highest praise to. The epics are now all excellent in my eyes, and I am pleased. Even still, I can't help but put it below the previous two atom bombs. I appreciate it, but I don't see this one ever having the sentimental value the other two do. I'll give it 4 1/2 stars, rounded up, but know that it does not match the perfection of De-Loused in the Comatorium and Frances the Mute.

Moatilliatta | 5/5 |


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