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The Mars Volta - The Malkin Jewel CD (album) cover

THE MALKIN JEWEL

The Mars Volta

Heavy Prog


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2 stars Noctourniquet, the sixth album by The Mars Volta and will be released in March, will probably show the band moving toward a sound more concise, with shorter songs (anything from 31 minutes as in Cassandra Gemini). But judging by their first single, The Jewel Malkin, I do not think they will abandon his experimental style and chaotic. The song starts out dissonant, as if the instruments were being put in order, before it actually begins. The first part is a bit boring and bizarre, but there is a slight improvement from the two minutes. However, even if it seems that music has found its place it does not please me. for a single aprece not be a pretty obvious choice, and sincerely hope the rest of the songs do not follow the way proposed here. 2 stars.
Report this review (#635460)
Posted Saturday, February 18, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars The Malking Jewel is the first single from THE MARS VOLTA's upcoming album sixth studio album, Noctourniquet. After their fifth album, Octahedron, made a drastic departure from some of the staples of their earlier "sound", lowering the dosage of heavyness and overall sound density, as well as making the individual songs more concise, curiosity about where the band "would go next", as it were, was running high. This first single was, according to the band itself, bound to split the fandom and alienate some of the fans. with such an ominous declaration, many were looking forward to getting a taste of this new LP.

now, on to the music itself. indeed, The Malkin Jewel is a very polarizing affair, and while it does not feel as stripped down (by TMV standards, that is) as Octahedron did, it is definitely not a return to the earlier albums. The most surprising about it is the way Omar Rodriguez-Lopez's guitar, which had been a staple of the band, is eclipsed by the other elements of the song. Here, the most emphasis is placed on Cedric Bixler-Zavala's vocals. The song starts in a chaotic fashion, with an acoustic string instrument (banjo? bouzouki?) punctuating the surrounding noise. While the song does settle into a more melodic sound, the drums continue to propagate this feeling of disorder, and so do Cedric's vocals, which go from whispering to desperate shouting in the space of two seconds.

This song is not going to be enjoyed by all, and it is certain that this is a poor choice for a single. The whole song has a rather Beefheartesque feel to it, in my opinion, and that is very enjoyable, and while it makes me curious as to what the album it comes from will be like, it's not among the best songs TMV have ever made.

3.5 stars, rounded up to 4 stars.

Report this review (#635939)
Posted Sunday, February 19, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars A new single that will be on their soon to be released album Noctourniquet. I was able to hear this on YouTube and though I would try to review. This is an interesting (big surprise for Mars Volta, huh?) single. It starts with a cacophony of out of tune sounds that merge into a slow song with half sung and half chanted singing. As usual for The Mars Volta, the lyrics are deep and probably have some meaning which I can't fathom, also as usual. But the lyrics have never been the biggest part of why I enjoy this band so much. This song seems to steer away for the more mellow sound of Octahedron and maybe promises a return to their more "arty" work such as Francis The Mute. I hope so, anyways. I liked their last release, but not as much as their earlier cd's. It is hard to rate this single before I hear it in context with the entire album, but it is good enough for 3 stars. Pretty good.
Report this review (#637065)
Posted Tuesday, February 21, 2012 | Review Permalink
russellk
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars On the evidence of this single somebody's been listening to their 70s collection. 'The Malkin Jewel' is another dramatic, memorable and incomprehensible song from THE MARS VOLTA, and it leaps fully-formed out of the retro-70s bin (with the inimitable MARS VOLTA touch, of course).

From its stuttering start through to the glam-rock choruses, the song seems destined to be great. It loses its way a little, but is still a worthy effort. And, unlike 'Cotopaxi' from their previous album, it's no 'Wax Simulacra' clone. If this is a pointer to the content of the new album, I'm a happy lad.

Something about the chorus nagged me for days, until I listened to 'The Writ' by BLACK SABBATH. Play them both, you'll see what I mean.

Report this review (#641056)
Posted Saturday, February 25, 2012 | Review Permalink

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