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The Mars Volta

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The Mars Volta Octahedron album cover
3.68 | 466 ratings | 53 reviews | 16% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2009

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Since We've Been Wrong (7:20)
2. Teflon (5:04)
3. Halo of Nembutals (5:30)
4. With Twilight as My Guide (7:52)
5. Cotopaxi (3:38)
6. Desperate Graves (4:56)
7. Copernicus (7:22)
8. Luciforms (8:21)

Total Time 50:03

Line-up / Musicians

- Cedric Bixler-Zavala / vocals
- Omar Rodriguez-Lopez / guitar, synths, drum machine (7), direction & arrangements
- John Frusciante / guitar
- Marcel Rodriguez-Lopez / keyboards, synths, Mellotron, percussion
- Isaiah "Ikey" Owens / keyboards (credited but didn't perform)
- Juan Alderete / bass
- Thomas Pridgen / drums

- Mark Aanderud / piano

Releases information

Artwork: Jeff Jordan with Sonny Kay (design)

CD Warner Bros. Records ‎- 519384-2 (2009, US)
CD Mercury ‎- 00602527084923 (2009, Europe)

Thanks to nurserycryme89 for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy THE MARS VOLTA Octahedron Music

THE MARS VOLTA Octahedron ratings distribution

(466 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(16%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(46%)
Good, but non-essential (29%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

THE MARS VOLTA Octahedron reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by FruMp
3 stars A vast improvement on their last effort but still far removed from their earlier more credible works with the movement towards the mainstream as strong as ever.

The Mars Volta are a funny old beast of a band and one never knows quite what to expect from them with each successive record. That is of course with the exception of Cedric Bixler-Zavala's nonsensical lyrics, effeminate shrieking vocal delivery and angsty pop harmonies. The decline of the mars volta funnily enough was directly co-related with the increase in volume of Cedric's vocals in the mix with each succesive record. Here we see them toned down slightly from the ear piercing 'The Bedlam in Goliath' record. However the vocals are still far too loud and they simply do not fit in with the rest of the band. It's quite clear that The Mars Volta are clearly and unashamedly using the pop style of audio production and emphasising Cedrics vocals above all else in order to achieve mainstream popularity.

The music itself on this record is actually pretty good and is more refined and less 'spazzy' than on the last 2 records. The band have stated this is their 'acoustic' record and it's easy to see how this description applies as soon as opener 'Since we've been wrong' (which is admittedly a sub-par pop song in the vein of the widow) kicks in. Definitely not an acoustic album but relatively laid back by these guys' standards with more 'ballady' type tunes. It's also good to see newbie drummer Thomas Pridgen keeping things nice and sane this time around.

The truth about this album is that if it were instrumental or had a different vocalist who song 1 or 2 octaves lower this would be a 4-4.5 star album, the vocals really ruin what could have been a fantastic album. Cedric needs to keep his ego in check and turn the vocals down or effect them so they aren't as piercing. The backing band is pretty fantastic on this release and it's good to see Omar exerting some self-control as well - restraint is definitely a good descriptor in comparing Octahedron to the last 2 albums.

Definitely a step back in the right direction but for such a purportedly 'experimental' band it defies belief how they are so willing to embrace the conventions of pop music to the detriment of their overall sound.

Review by The Truth
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Well they still haven't gotten away from the punk-laden music style that was on Bedlam and back to the good ol' Deloused and Frances the Mute but they're getting there. Omar Rodriquez- Lopez writes some very good songs and I can't see why he calls them acoustic but I like them anyway. The song Since We've Been Wrong brings back memories of the totally awesome ballad The Widow but at times you can almost hear some Televators in it. Teflon is a good track that shows some remnants of the psychedelic freak-out of Amputechture but it isn't too noticable. Halo of Nembutals is an excellent track that to me brings back memories of Deloused and With Twilight as My Guide brings back more of that Rodriquez-Lopez brand of "acoustic" music. The single, Cotopaxi is my least favorite track because it is the Volta trying too hard to have a hit single. Desparate Graves is a heavier ballad with excellent vocals by Cedric Bixler-Zavala which is a highlight of the album. Copernicus is another ballad that sounds a lot like With Twilight As My Guide but it is also a highlight. Luciforms is the most epic track on the album and ends it greatly. Not their best work but is an improvement from the Bedlam.
Review by ProgBagel
4 stars The Mars Volta ? Octahedron 4 stars

The 'acoustic' album.

This album was a proving point for The Mars Volta. It is not an acoustic album by any means, but their version of one. Translated into terms we can all understand, the drums aren't as spastic, LESS electronics, LESS jamming and ONE trademark Omar solo. It's a real look on how the band can play without all the studio effects and dynamic twists, and they prove here that they can do that.

The beginning number is the most representative of the 'acoustic' form which is a laidback ballad with guitar and vocal interplay, similar to the start of Amputecture. The lyrics can be absurd as ever, but still drag the listener in because Cedric hits the notes in all the right places. 'Cotopaxi' can be one of the bands most straightforward pieces but is a solid rock song, volta style, with Cedric's vocals being as poppish as possible, and it's a damn good song. The only real jam comes in at the end of 'Desperate Graves' which was cool considering a volta jam implemented into a song not even 5 minutes long.

I have to be one of the few that does not think highly of 'Halo of Nembutals' and 'With Twilight as My Guide'. These are simple songs that have the biggest acoustic feature, but it lacks anything memorable that 'Televators' and 'The Widow' were able to do.

The Mars Volta got the job done for what they intended to do. Once again, the songs that were good here fit at the top of anything they released. I hope this is a light snack compared to the next album, which is already done apparently. Cannot wait for the next release.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars Does anyone else here think that Cedric Bixler-Zavala is starting to sound somewhat similar to a young Geddy Lee? That, and some of the guitar/bass/drum centric songs make The mars Volta occasionally sound like an edgy, punky, Rush. "Cotopaxi" is the Rushiest (is that a word?) of all the tracks.

I enjoyed The Bedlam In Goliath more than any other Mars Volta album, and was looking forward to this release. Honestly, except for a couple of tracks, I'm not very impressed. I was prepared for a lighter album than the previous, as many reviewers called this one "acoustic". No, it's not acoustic, just slower, for the most part, than Bedlam. While not bad, I much prefer the frenetic pace of the prior album. I like the Pink Floyd style they employ, but I would have liked to have heard more bedlam mixed in as well.

Also, I have a problem with the mix of this disk. While I love Thomas Pridgen's drumming, it's mixed a bit too far out front. On my primary sound system, it sounds great, but on any others, the drums sound breaks up the other instruments.

Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Acoustic?

When Mars Volta recorded this album shortly after the release of Bedlam In Goliath in August of 2008 they told fans and the press that this was to be their 'acoustic' album. That's a believable statement, but it seems that the boys have no idea what true acoustic is! No complaints, of course, because Mars Volta is best known by fans and critics alike to create wild and bizarre music out of anything electric that they can possibly get their hands on. This album is less acoustic than the band would have you believe, but more 'decaffe', so to speak. The entire album is fairly mellow, and even the more rocking songs (of which there are many) are more midpaced, and certainly more melodic than anything the band has done before. When it all comes down to it, this is the Mars Volta album for people who don't like Mars Volta - fans will have to decide for themselves whether they like the change of pace or not.

Although the album starts out with a slow song to kick everything off (and a minute and a half of silence on top of that before things actually get started) the entire thing has a very nice flow to it. And to the surprise of many, there's no improvised noise segments that so many people find oh so vexing about the band. The album really gets started, however, with the excellent Teflon, a midpaced songs that will easily become known as a classic by the band. It's got a killer beat and fantastic pace along with a memorable chorus (something Volta never ever does) but manages to stray from becoming poppy at any point. Other heavier songs (but never to the frantic chaos of the band's other albums) are also standouts. Halo Of Nembutals is a particularly evil sounding song with it's shouting parts and Cotopaxi remains as the soul song on the album that sounds like it could have come from any of the band's prior efforts. Luciforms is the most typically ''progressive'' song on the album thanks to it's length and speed changes, and makes for a nice end to the album.

It's the newer style songs that really make this album unique in the Volta catalog. With Twilight As My Guide is a slow and emotive song that makes the best of Cedric's vocals and shows range to his voice that was never truly showcased before. The opening track, Since We've Been Wrong is another such song that keeps things slow but active with it's more delicate melodies.

Overall, this has to be the most accessible Mars Volta album to date, and that's a good thing. Instead of simply bashing the audience over the head with music they've created something that's enjoyable to listen to from front to back on many occasions and not just if you're in the mood for some wild and crazy music. Hopefully they see this change of pace as a good one and model future albums after it. As a final note, it's interesting to read reactions to the album by fans so far, as some feel the album betrays them and others think that it's an interesting interlude in their discography. But regardless of what people think it's refreshing to see an artist that is actually challenging their fans to think without just blindly obeying them and giving them ''what they want'', because let's be honest, do fans know what they want? Hell no.

Kudos to Mars Volta on making a stellar effort that is bound to be seen as one of the best this year. This is certainly an excellent addition to any progressive library and worthy of 4.5 stars out of 5. So very close to a masterpiece, and if the next album takes elements of this album and progresses on them they will no doubt have a masterpiece on their hands.

Review by russellk
5 stars 'Octahedron' is not THE MARS VOLTA as we know it. Neither the classic, outrageous potpourri of a million ideas that was their first two albums, or the even more glorious, frenetic mess of their last two. This is TMV-lite, stripped of the searing ten-minute jams, stripped of self-indulgence, a band for popular consumption. The album is far more straightforward than anything they've done before. Two thirds the length of any of their previous albums. No extended sound effects, no padding. Each of the eight songs based around an outstanding chorus, each song constructed in a traditional classic rock fashion.

This is different. Much more of a head scratcher than a head banger.

But it is a masterpiece, of that I am certain. The band has really thought about this, addressing their tendency to disappear up their own creative fundaments. 'Since We've Been Wrong' starts it off, an acoustic ballad of the highest order that explodes into the musical stratosphere at the end of the second chorus. This is a superb song, a wonderful opener and I am sure destined to be a classic. 'Teflon' and 'Halo of Nembutals' are both relatively short rockers - sort of in the style of 'Ilyena' from TBIG - and both build on their opening sounds with - again - a superb, memorable chorus.

The next outstanding track is 'With Twilight as my Guide'. This is ominous and occultic, nailing itself to the inside of your stomach, squirming there with its doom-laden lyrics and insidious chorus. 'Cotopaxi' is perhaps the album's only mistake, a 'Wax Simulacra' wannabe, a great bass line and chorus not really exploited to the full. But 'Desperate Graves' cures this, with - once again - a great chorus. Trust me, eight songs and eight memorable choruses, this is a pop album TMV style. The only concession to excess is the ending of the last track, 'Luciforms', in which we get a short jam. Leaves me hungry for more.

This is Cedric's album, no doubt. His voice carries the power of the record, he gets all the good lines. Pridgen is conspicuously diminished, while Omar gives himself limited opportunities. There are some nice bass runs, but little room for Ikey or the others to do more than colour the songs. Nevertheless, each song gets the treatment it needs.

So, it isn't a headbanger. It's not a typical TMV album, if there is such a thing. Imagine an album made up of variations of 'Vermicide', 'The Widow', 'L'Via' and 'Televators' and you'll get the idea. But on its own terms it's an almost perfect demonstration of how to write shorter songs of aching beauty, aggressive power and menace. Every track is a triumph, the album as a whole essential.

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Decaffeinated is a great adjective I have heard to describe this album. So The Mars Volta previously created an album of almost nonstop thrash noise and craziness- now they have created an album of "Televators," so to speak- subdued, quieter pieces- and that's just fine by me. Each song is memorable and excellent in its own way. Conspicuously absent from this release is the bandleader's frenetic creativity with his guitar, but this album certainly would have suffered from that ingredient- this is the coffee house album. The Mars Volta has shown itself to be a perplexing monster that can morph into many different creatures, and yet retain the same sonic bloodline.

"Since We've Been Wrong" It takes about ninety seconds for anything remarkable to happen, but that near-silence sets the tone for this sedated album. The gentle acoustic guitar serves as a graceful backdrop to Cedric Bixler-Zavala's gentlest singing ever, but still retains Omar Rodriguez-Lopez's stark electric guitar lead. The band doesn't enter until five minutes has expired, but the wait is worth it. The simple chord progression does not mean dullness in the least- in fact, I was humming this tune after only the first time I heard its preview.

"Teflon" Heavy drums begin this outstanding track. Bixler-Zavala alternates singing in a low range (strange for him) to singing in his usual high one. The low chorus is quite catchy, same as before.

"Halo of Nembutals" After a dark and soft section, the memorable chorus ensues, and kicks off another great piece. As before, Bixler-Zavala uses a strange deep voice and juxtaposes it with his usual higher register. Some bizarre piano fills in during the instrumental interlude, but it is overpowered by almost clipping drums. The song ends abruptly as it leads into the next track.

"With Twilight as My Guide" Gentle acoustic guitar and excellent vocals fill out this lengthier track, with some subtle, guitar laced with effects and a straightforward organ underneath. The dull ending drags out a long time, however, perhaps to make the listener jump when the next track begins. Overall, this is a hauntingly beautiful piece, one I lamentably always forget about until it begins.

"Cotopaxi" The one wake up call of the album is a mere three-and-a-half minutes, and even then isn't full of the thrust and energy of the previous album. In it's context, it is still quite an amazing track, again with an outstanding chorus.

"Desperate Graves" Despite fairly soft verses, the chorus to this great song is somehow reminiscent of the band's debut album, albeit not as thick sounding. I love the snare technique the drummer uses, and his work just propels the piece along. That vocal bridge is another wonderful part (this album seems to be full of those regardless of its restrained nature).

"Copernicus" Perhaps my favorite on the album is the most muted thing The Mars Volta has ever done. Not only is everything quiet, but the singing is performed almost as a neurotic lullaby. The electronic drums in the middle section add another tasteful layer to this brilliant piece, as do the electric guitar fills. A soft piano ushers the track to a synthetic conclusion.

"Luciforms" Atmospheric sounds begin this final song, and the vocals are shrouded in not only odd effects, but also in that unfamiliar low register. The bass and drums stand out on this one more so than on any other tracks, and as usual, the chorus is what sticks out most. The guitar sounds like an ogre getting ready to vomit initially, before the reserved guitarist lets it rip with a wild solo, as though he had been holding back and could be caged no further. Weird piano runs and noises bring this placid yet somehow grotesque album to a close.

Review by Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The Mars Volta are not one of those bands you would usually choose to chill out to. Their busy, complex arrangements, top end/mid range heavy and shrill vocals of Cedric Bixler-Zavala make listening to much of their past work an exhausting experience. This is not levelled as a criticism as although I was left somewhat cold by The Bedlam In Goliath I have found much to enjoy on their first 3 albums.

Octahedron sees the band taking a change of direction. Apparently it started life as an acoustic album but over time grew into more of a full band record. The nearest we get to the acoustic Mars Volta is on opening track Since We've Been Wrong, a ballad where acoustic guitar is used but is augmented by electric and later drums, bass and keyboards. With Twilight As My Guide and Copernicus tread similar territory.

The most noticeable difference between Octahedron and past albums is the music is far less frantic, there's more space and room for it to be breathe. It's certainly makes an easier listening experience and is their most accessible work to date. For example Teflon is bass and drums driven and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez's guitar playing comes across like Robert Fripp on this occasion. More powerful and solid as a consequence of keeping things simpler.

The sound is still unmistakeably Mars Volta, just slowed down and fewer notes but there's still room for some dextrous playing when needed. Witness Cotopaxi, a short riff driven song but there still seems to be more space for the instruments to cut through making it the heaviest moment here.

Octahedron is a very good album and makes a worthwhile diversion from past releases. However I'm not sure I would want the next album to be this stripped back version. I enjoy the in your face organised chaos of the likes of Amputechture and hope they haven't abandoned this approach permanently. Nevertheless, a worthy addition to their back catalogue and it'll be interesting to see where they go next. 3 ˝ stars.

Review by Prog-jester
5 stars Their best since "De-loused".

I know I was saying the same thing about "The Bedlam in Goliath", but even quick comparing of these albums makes me think of "Octahedron" as better one. A lot of acoustic stuff, obvious blues influence (so much prominent for the first time!) and SONGS, songs, my fellas, not 20-min long pseudoexperimental wackery! Such a rare case when a Prog band ables to write GOOD SONGS after too many pretentious material and staying Prog at the same time.

"Desperate Graves" alone makes this album worthy of buying, but other tracks are amazing too - acoustic blueses like "With Twilight As My Guide" and "Since We'Ve Been Wrong", electric blueses like "Halo of Nembutals" (what a chorus!) and "Luciforms", even usual VOLTA song like "Cotopaxi" would make you feel that you're listening to their best album for last 6 years! And yes, it's also perfect in length and song quality, no filler this time at all, pure music. Highly recommended, especially for those, who hated everything TMV has released after their debut ;)

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars TMV's fifth studio album doesn't see much change in terms of musical directions, especially after their previous (and best so far) Amputecture and (less successful) Bedlamů In Goliath. Obviously the group has now definitely done with Hypgnosis-style artwork, preferring drawn freaky animals and world of Jeff Jordan. The duo of Cedric and Omar is now at its best, while the "group" seems to relatively stable. But what is now-confirmed is that TMV chooses shorter format songs. The previous Bedlam had no songs above 10 minutes and only two above 9, but with the present one, only one track is over 8. Quite a change compared to Amputecture's three above or France's all above 10-mins and one of 32-minutes.. Personally I think it helps the group being a bit more concise and not having total mayhem on the discs.

Starting on a super-low and slow intro, Cedric gives us some of the most gentle singing he's done so far over the superb Rodriguez (or is it Frusciante from the great RHCP?) guitar, and then once the track reaches cruising speed some (fake?) mellotrons and drums come in. A little further down, the album, Halo Of Nembutals is a clear winner as well. The almost 8-mins Twilight As My Guide is however very Yes-inclined with a steel lap and tweer-than-usual vocals, but it certainly brings some fnesse and clam before the Cotopaxi tropical storm. Again a bit further down Desperate Graves is another mellotron-induced track and another very strong track. Copernicus is another quiet track and the closing Luciforms leaves the impression that TMV's latest album is not only their most relaxed so far, but also the most mature

Definitely an album that grows on you easier than their earlier works, which took some "getting used" to them, Octahedron is most likely their shortest album by far, clocking around a normal 70's album, and it makes it that much more enjoyable if you don't mind saying so. Albums above 60 minutes are generally not welcome with me, and when they were above the 75 mins, they not only provide boredom and confusion?. They tire the listener very easily . As with GG's Octopus, MV's 8 tracks were induced by the title

Review by Prog Leviathan
3 stars Restraint, mood, and an edgy feeling of peril rules the day with this solid Mars Volta release which is a much improved package than its predecessor thanks to a more comphrensible tone and genuine class in song writing.

Taken as a whole, "Octahedron" slinks its way through the ears at slow tempos and extended passages of negative space. The song's heavy moments (of which there many) are much less frantic or intense than anything they have yet recorded, the band playing big, full compositions with fewer dexterity-based embellishments than usual. There is a good mixture of dynamics, with the more mellow passages standing out to me as the album's highlights. The loud stuff is somewhat bland, but still powerful; there are few things in noisier songs which catch one's attention-- especially when compared to their past works. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, since it takes "Octahedron" places the group hasn't yet fully explored, but it does not as easily engender itself to the listener as in, say "Deloused". Fans of the band will certainly appreciate the change in this album's tone.

Cedric's strong singing is very listenable as well, sounding almost like a croon. Gone is the castrati-falsetto of "Bedlam" in favor of some honest-to-goodness seranades, like in the excellent "Twilight as my Guide". His lyrical content is characteristic, sending off a fun mix of sinister undertones hidden behind strangely beautiful combinations of words. Omar's stellar guitar work is largely tonal, with only one real solo which closes the album on a powerful note. There is some nice riffing in the heavy songs, but don't expect to be dazzled.

Overall, an interesting and enjoyable Mars Volta entry; far from the monolithic success of their previous works but standing tall despite expectations.

Songwriting: 3 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 4 Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

Review by The T
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I have been baffled at my own attitude about THE MARS VOLTA for a while now. I disliked 3 of their 4 previous albums, I never really enjoyed anything they did after "De-loused in the Comatorium", yet I have all their albums, and continue to get their new releases every time they appear in the store bin. I guess there's a little part of me that still believes this band can achieve greatness, the one they hinted at with their debut album.

"Octahedron", while still not a favorite of mine, is a step in the right direction and quite an improvement over both the boring "Amputechture" and the hyperactive "Bedlam in Goliath". In this most recent album, THE MARS VOLTA finally seems to have decided to restraint their drummer, who doesn't seem like he's trying to steal the spotlight away from the entire band anymore, and who plays like a regular, skilled musician. The over-emotional vocals by Bixler-Zavala are also more rational this time around, and there's less jamming/experimentation/waste-of-time on this record.

There seems to be a much higher focus put on creating actual songs this time around, and the best evidence strikes us right from the start: "Since we've been wrong" is one of the most melodic, best songs the band has ever released, actually (and incredibly so) catchy, memorable, without losing credibility or atmosphere. Never since their debut album did the band manage to make me want to press "replay" in my player, but with this song I had to do it. Tracks like "Cotopaxi" (named after a volcano in my country, who would imagine) signal a shift in priorities, which nowadays would appear to be more in the making good songs and music side of things. The band fails to deliver another fantastic song after the end of the first one, but it nevertheless accomplishes the unthinkable for me: it made my sitting through the entire album an smooth, satisfying experience. Less emphasis in feedback and distortion and more in melody seems to have helped matters.

A good album that is in no way a masterpiece or even an excellent record but that signals better things to come. 3 stars is the perfect rating in my view.

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I believe that The Mars Volta is one of most interesting modern heavy prog band. I love their two first albums. And I love Cedric's voice and their chaotic noisy beauty in music as well ( I know there are many of people who hate Cedric's voice, but for them there are plenty of classic voices all around!).

Octahedron is not a usual TMV album. Not really "acoustic" as was advertised, it less complex, less chaotic and most pop-friendly album they recorded till now. I think, many newcomers will be happy with it, for sure it is most accessible. ( I am sorry about Cedric voice, he sings there as usual, so his voice haters wouldn't be happy with this album).

More ballads, more acoustic moments, less spacy synth sounds, not so shocking sound mixing. But it still TMV at all their best and worth. In many moments you can catch their usual melodies and constructions, a bit more polished for that release. Not too many new ideas, not too many experiments, but still sound fresh and interesting.

I feel that TMV trying to find a new direction for their music. After two first masterpieces, they just searching all around for new directions. This album is more transition than the new way.

It will be really interesting, what will be their next album/sound.

Review by Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars It definitely isn't the same sound as in case of their first. Because when I about year ago tried it, I fled in fear, as first track here is, well, it's repelling. It can scare newcomers like me away easily. And so I've tried it again and again, unsuccessfully (OK, I could skip this track and move further and I'll probably do it one day, but you know, it's not the right way).

Here, I was wondering what's going on for first 1:40 minutes, because I didn't hear a sound from my headphones (as I'm listening music not so loud, even normally it's enough). Then, something that pleased me. Acoustic TMV ? I say yes, big and complete yes, because that's you don't have to be heavy, scary and unpleasant to impress people. Definitely not in first track. And if this album managed to get me into TMV, first track was screaming all over place: "Take it easy, we have a lot to offer (I already knew it) and we are presenting it in better (for me) form". And second track, little bit departing from style of first one, but that's my point. Little bit, slowly, not suddenly and unexpectedly, because one (especially me) have to feel confident a little bit. It's all this "home" matter, you need to have one to feel good, that you have place where you're welcomed, where you can return and which you know very well.

And according to Snobb's two ideas, I quite a love Cedric's voice. He sings good, but I understand that some may hate it. I don't see anything bad what I would hate about him. And second thing, as I said, it's accessible. Being the most accessible is big OK for me, as I want to use this album as a leap point and jump from it to others, because I'll feel more familiar with their music. Not their most heavy caliber, even to my ear, it sounds quite heavy.

4(+), but now, I know that I'll not think about TMV in bad way so much anymore.

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This first encounter of mine with renowned US otfit The Mars Volta turned out to be a pleasant surprise.

What strikes me most about this album are the strong tinges of psychedelic rock and to some extent space rock that are constantly a part of the soundscape, whether it is echoing sounds, cold futuristic synths or vintage sounding guitar effects with the 70's and freaked out experiences written all over them.

The vocals of Bixler is another distinct feature - light in a love or loathe manner I haven't encountered since Geddy Lee's younger days, and used highly effectively to add dramatics to the proceedings.

The compositions themselves are quirky affairs, and while the main structural parts may not be that complex numerous minor details adds at times massive shifts in sound and overall expression - a multitude of times in the most sophisticated ventures.

Excellent mix and production add the spit and polish needed to lift this album from the realms of the very good to the superior plane. That is, if you tolerate the lead vocals and you appreciate adventureous progressive music with a fair share of contemporary musical tinges mixed with some of the sounds of yesteryear. An impressive effort as far as I'm concerned.

Review by jammun
4 stars Octahedron. (I need to review an album every once in a while...).

Following The Bedlam In Goliath, I had a bit of skepticism about this one. I'm no longer able to absorb a non-stop sonic barrage, so the talk of an 'acoustic' album was of great interest to me.

The opener, Since We've Been Wrong, is one of the finest latter-day King Crimson-derived songs I've ever heard. In fact they probably at this point are more capable of playing early KC than KC themselves. If you like Lizard era KC, this song is for you, only lacking the signature KC tritones. Droning synths fade to backing acoustic and shimmering electric guitars that ride over the vocals, with nary a drum nor bass in earshot. The dynamics are blessed relief from Bedlam. But then in true KC fashion, the song explodes into mellotron- driven beauty and pounding bottom end of bass/drums. Never overbearing sonically, this is simply a great song.

I'm not so enamored of Teflon; it's a bit too close to Bedlam. No, I don't want an album of lullabies, but compared with the opening cut this one lacks a bit dynamically. No complaints about the overall melodies here however, some of which are reminiscent of The Beatles 'round 'bout The White Album. Still, this one doesn't do a lot for me.

Organ segues to Halo of Nembutals. Good lord, where do they come up with these melodies that just suck me in? There's still those shimmering, wavering guitars in the background underpinning the lyric, and as the song progresses a bit more mellotron seeps in, laying low in the mix.

With Twilight As My Guide is a good mess of slide guitars riding over the acoustics, great melodies, and the band is not afraid to throw in a bit of noisy synth here and there, especially toward the end, just like back in the good old days of their early albums, with Pink Floyd being the obvious reference point.

Cotopaxi is a bit more Teflon. Same approach. I heard all this stuff on the last album.

Church organ segue.

Desperate Graves. Leslie-guitar and mellotron over a driving beat. TMV do know and pay appropriate homage to their sources. The song is for me is another weak one. Again it's not bad, there is just not a lot of melodic or rhythmic interest here, especially given what has come before.

Copernicus. Good lord, where do they come up with these melodies? What I said about Halo of Nembutals goes double here. It's all so simple: a few little guitar arpeggios, played slowly, given time to let the notes ring a bit, some bass and cymbal and synth in the mix, again shimmering, ice reflecting the sun on a frigid day. A beautiful vocal. Then layer after layer of sound added, but never obtrusively. Really, sometimes it sounds almost as if they could crank out song after song like this.

Synth segue.

Luciforms. This one follows to the form of most of the album. Synths droning over white noise, until the leslie guitars and vocals fade in, then explodes to buzzing guitars and pounding drums. To these ears, another fairly weak track.

The Mars Volta seem to be trapped in an interesting corner here, which is fully reflected in the songs on this album: do we go after the listeners who liked the first two albums, or do we go after those who liked the two most recent? Actually, that's probably not a fair assessment. I doubt they are going after listeners. The question would be: which muse do we follow? In the end, they apparently decided to split the difference.

When this band is on, when they are not trying to impress and overwhelm with sheer volume and avalanches of sound, they are still capable of crafting incredibly beautiful music. When they are off, they don't show me a thing.

Review by TheGazzardian
3 stars My first experience with the Mars Volta was their debut album, Deloused in the Comatorium. While I enjoyed the album, I found that the music was not too varied, and I wasn't sure I wanted to buy any future Mars Volta albums. They seemed to me like they would likely be more of the same.

When I heard that Mars Volta's new album was "acoustic" (by their standards), I grew interested in it. It promised that it would not sound exactly like Deloused.

My first listen through this album, I was very happy with what I had heard. Cedric's vocals now had a lot more variety to them than the screaming of Deloused; it was as if he had started where Geddy Lee started, but advanced further than Geddy ever did. His voice on this album just has so much more texture and variance than it did at the start that I can't help but love it.

The music itself has a lot more feel to it than before as well. The guitars range from actual acoustic tracks to hard rockers like Cotopaxi. There are more obvious effects than in Deloused as well, which give the music more variety than just quiet and loud.

High points for me include With Twilight As My Guide, a quiet, eerie song where Cedric's vocals really excel and the guitars and effects support the song quite nicely. Cotopaxi is another nice song, although this one (along with Desperate Graves) rocks a bit harder. Teflon is a nice track that also demonstrates Cedrics singing to great effect, with a somewhat eclectic chorus.

The rest of the album is also full of good music, but overall, no amazing heights are reached with this album. A pleasant, mostly-acoustic album that gets a solid three star rating.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars An Accoustically Plugged album ...

Long before this album by The Mars Volta was on my hands I was told by my prog-mates that this new album is basically an acoustic one from the band. Then I imagined that it's gonna be something like "12:5" of Pain Salvation or "Damnation" of Opeth. But it's not a live album and not performing the old stuffs with acoustic version. So I was curious about it - how it sounds like? I have always considered the music of TMV is in heavy fashion with electrically driven music and many distortions have been used like in "Frances The Mute" album. And..yeah! Finally I got the album with me and I got 'flat' reaction at first spin even though I was quite interested with the opening track "Since We've Been Wrong" due to its acoustic guitar, mellotron and a bit of bluesy style; and "Desperate Grave" with its unique sound and melody.

It then really grew on me with some more spins and I realized that it finally became my regular album playlist in my iPod or stereo set at home. And I don't think this is something like "12:5" of Pain of Salvation in style and approach as the materials contained here are all new ones unlike PoS' one. I may consider it like Opeth "Damnation" but not really. Why? In this album TMV still maintains its roots in "heavy" side of the music which has characterized its music from the first album with sort of abrasive style. I still find it as The Mars Volta album even though there are many acoustic sounds plugged electrically in the music. While in the case of Opeth "Damnation" I could not find "growling" vocal as main characteristic of Opeth music, and it turns like CAMEL music to my ears.

Let's comeback to Octahedron album. One single strength of this acoustically plugged album is on its cohesiveness of the music as all eight songs form a solid line like a story telling from start to end. There is no one single track that is out of track in terms of style or approach but it is not a boring one to listen to - individually each track is an excellent one to enjoy. Most of melody of the eight songs are good, the composition is basically song orientated style and make it easy to digest. Even though most of them quite straight forward but there are some complexities as well as change of styles by this album. The other great thing about this album is the nuances created from songs played by the band - all of them are really excellent! The high register notes vocal line makes it unique The Mars Volta! "Cotopaxi" sounds heavy and reminds me to to "Frances The Mute" style and the riffs are really great and it becomes my favorite as well as "With Twilight as My Guide" and "Desperate Grave". Don't get me wrong I love all tracks actually ... theay are all excellent tracks!

Highly recommended album!

Please tell your Mom that you still keep on proggin' even though you are now listening to an acoustically plugged album by a heavy prog band The Mars Volta!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - happy progressive year 2010!!!

From your prog mate in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Review by J-Man
3 stars A Step In The Right Direction

My introduction to The Mars Volta was their previous album, The Bedlam In Goliath. That was one of the worst albums I've ever experienced in my entire life, and every second of it made me cringe. I was hesitant in buying the new album by The Mars Volta, but since I'd heard that Octhedron showed a softer side to their music, I figured it was worth a shot.

Let me say that I am really glad I gave this a try. This proved to me that The Mars Volta are more than just self-indulgent mindless noise. This showed me that they have a melodic side and that they have talent as songwriters - two things that are impossible to see through the unlistenable mess of The Bedlam In Goliath.

While it is true that some of this album can get boring, and some of it is bland and organic, this is a really good album. This doesn't make me an instant fan of the band, but it shows me that they are very capable musicians. I don't think that Octahedron is a great prog album, or even one of the best of 2009; but it is a solid album from beginning to end. I really like the soft acoustic sound that is played on this album, and I think the band can shine as musicians more this way. They still show their heavier side on a few songs, but this is generally a soft album.


"Since We've Been Wrong"- After an unnecessary one and a half minute period of silence, the first notes of the album enter. It shows a much different side of he band than the previous album. I really like the softer approach to this song, and I like the acoustic instrumentation in contrast to the melodic electric guitar. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I enjoy Cedric's vocals here. This is a really good song from beginning to end. The entrance of drums and mellotron near the end is excellent, and it shows great progression throughout the song. If more Volta songs were like this I would be a fan of the band. "Teflon"- After the solid opener, this opens up with a drum beat. This goes into a fairly annoying verse, but it gets better. This has some good melodies and riffs throughout. I like the overall rhythm of the song. The vocals can get a little annoying later in the song, but this is a solid composition.

"Halo of Nembutals"- The first minute of this song is just noise, but after that this is one of the best songs on the album. This is very melodic with solid riffing. The vocals fit the mood of the song perfectly. I really like the melodies on this song, and it proves how capable these guys are. This is one of the most inspired Mars Volta songs I've heard.

"With Twilight As My Guide"- I like the acoustic feel to this song, and this has really good melodies. This has an atmospheric feel to it, mostly because of the hypnotic acoustic guitar notes. Parts of this song can get a little boring, though.

"Cotopaxi"- The previous song was fairly boring, but this is fast and upbeat. I really like the fast guitar riffing. This is a high quality riff, and it makes for a high quality song. The vocals, drumming, and guitar playing are all great. This proves that all heavier Mars Volta songs aren't just mindless noise. One of my favorites from the album.

"Desperate Graves"- This is an upbeat song with a solid chorus. Not all of this song is that solid, and the verses fail to grab me. The catchy chorus is enough to make this a good song, though.

"Copernicus"- This song is 7 and a half minutes, and it gets pretty repetitive. It never really does anything new, and it can lead to some serious boredom. I like the addition of piano near the end, but the electric drums near the middle don't fit in the context of the song. Overall, this is probably my least favorite from the album.

"Luciforms"- This song is pretty irritating and never gets much accomplished. The vocals are self-indulgent and annoying. This doesn't feature any good riffs like much of the album, and this leads to a disappointing end. This has a weird feeling throughout, and it's decent. They should have ended this with one of the earlier songs, though.


Octahedron is a really good album by The Mars Volta. This doesn't have the various flaws that killed its predecessor, and this album comes recommended from me. I don't think it's really above average, but it still is an enjoyable album. I'm going to give this a 3 star rating, as I think this is really good, even if I don't consider it an excellent album. This is recommended for people looking to get into The Mars Volta, as I think it's one of their best.

3 stars.

Review by jampa17
3 stars ...And finally there was music. I'm glad.

Based in what I have heard of The Mars Volta, I really dislike most of their past material, but this particular album took me with my guard down. There was music and not noises all over the place. There were fine melodies and a very mature sound, appealing and fresh.

The music is more focused, they seem to have a better idea where to take the music and the listener, and actually take them there. There's a lot of somekind of mellow moments and a lot of catchy melodies, but that doesn't mean that the music lacks of energy and strength. There's always an approximation of power and emotion that I do like a lot, so, if you are like me and don't like The Mars Volta, maybe this is your album to check. Now, if you are a usual TMV fan, maybe you get a little disappointed because is different, I don't find a better word but different.

If somebody is worry, well, the craziness of their music is there, but in less moments and in a more controlled way. If I have to point to some very weak element about this band is the singer. He became very annoying in some moments, but I have to say, with this more mature material, the vocals seem to fit better. There are good and bad moments for it, and now is like 50/50 and not as annoying as in other albums, so, I think for me is a win, not sure for the TMV fans.

A well balanced album that I think I can price with 3 stars, because it is a good album and shows that TMV can actually made not self indulgent high music, but just music, without pretentiousness. I hope they stay in this kind of projection? only time will tell.

Review by Negoba
4 stars Mellow Side of the Over Caffeinated Duo

I've dabbled in the Mars Volta since coming to Prog Archives, and I've always liked the band up to a point. But the recent Octahedron is the first album that I truly enjoy. I'm certain that some long time fans will find this album too soft, or think the band is losing their edge. But experience and maturity have combined with a collective exhale to allow the music to truly breathe. It's not that the band are necessarily better songwriters now, it's just that the songs actually speak for themselves rather than being an all out assault from their authors' personalities. In other words, where previous albums feel like they're all about the artists need to vent some deep seated tension, Octahedron is about the songs, the melodies, the groove. Each one has some story to tell, a different way to communicate. It's as if the band is finally reaching out to us, the audience. Their psychedelic world is established, and finally the strange creatures that are Cedric and Omar are actually ready to host some visitors.

The advance on this record was that it was going to be TMV's "Acoustic album." Well there's very little that's acoustic here, but the layers are scaled back a little, and the tonalities used are a bit less abrasive. Guitars are often not distorted (though certainly effected) and it feels like there might actually be some headroom in the mix. The lyrics are dark and cryptic as ever, with a strange murder mystery theme running through alongside she-devil images. The atmosphere is psychedelic as ever, but I think the boys may have been drawing on something very different than during the recording of the manic Goliath record.

All of the songs on this record are quite good. "With Twilight As My Guide," which truly is acoustic, is a highlight, with a superb vocal performance (both lyrics and singing.) I also like the opener "Since We've Been Wrong" which sets the stage by giving the listener something familiar to hold on to before twisting and turning into the wild ride that is every MV record. "Desperate Graves" and "Copernicus" are strong as well. The flow from song to song is good, and the length of the record is relatively economical these days as well. It's simply a very good listening experience.

In the end, this is simply my favorite Mars Volta album. Maybe that means I'm losing my edge, or that I'm not fully appreciating the band at their full blown power. But it's my listening time and this is one I like.

Review by Neu!mann
3 stars The Mars Volta's unplugged album is hardly that, but next to "The Bedlam in Goliath" it can certainly seem like a welcome return to Terra Firma.

Their notorious 2008 album was so dense it became practically opaque: a runaway 16- wheel juggernaut of rocket-fueled psychedelia (I continue to admire the album for its uncompromising intensity, but find it almost unlistenable for exactly the same reason). In startling contrast, the music of "Octahedron" is polished to a rare (for this band) transparency, through which the boundless creativity of a unique ensemble can once again be distinguished.

It's a fitting title for such a multi-faceted album. Having purged the fury of "Goliath" from their collective system, the band was able to dial back their usual manic energy toward a (most of the time) more manageable level. But the result is another polarizing effort from an always unpredictable group, blindsiding many fans by daring to sound halfway accessible, in songs often having a (gasp!) traditional verse-chorus-verse structure.

The change of pace is best heard in the trio of ballads here. "Copernicus" features a few moments of actual acoustic piano, in its own way more shocking than anything on the "Goliath" album. The haunting "With Twilight as My Guide" dips, in its final moments, into the same "Saucerful of Secrets" once served by PINK FLOYD. And the album opener "Since We've Been Wrong" has probably the most beautiful melody in The Mars Volta catalogue so far.

Elsewhere the album is no less powerful or loud than earlier efforts. But even during the more typically aggressive rockers ("Cotopaxi" is a classic Mars Volta adrenalin kick) the band is careful to maintain firm control over the material, rather than allowing (again, as they did on "Goliath") the music to control them.

Albums by The Mars Volta usually require a lot of time and persistent replays to be digested properly. The band's fifth studio effort is really no different, despite the more user-friendly style (which is one reason why I allowed more than a year to pass before even trying to form an opinion of it). I can't entirely dismiss the thought that it's the perfect Mars Volta album for people who don't really like The Mars Volta; one misses the arcane extremities of concept and composition that animated earlier efforts like "Frances the Mute" and "Deloused in the Comatorium". But there hasn't been a Mars Volta album yet made that didn't leave me anxiously wondering where the band would turn next, and the velvet- lined knuckleduster punch of "Octahedron" is no exception.

Review by Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Octahedron' - The Mars Volta (7/10)

Following a pretty dissapointing bout with 'The Bedlam In Goliath,' The Mars Volta's self- proclaimed 'acoustic album' comes as a very refreshing return to quality, although failing to reach the glory of their first works. While 'Bedlam' may have been chock-full of chaos, noise and atonality, 'Octahedron' makes out to be their most conventional and 'accessible' piece of music to date. While some of the band's more hardcore fans might see this as a sign of the band slowing down, I for one am very relieved to see the band decided to recoil from the path they were on, to do something unexpected and new in their career.

Of course, the big controversy with 'Octahedron' is it's label as an 'acoustic album,' while fans everywhere swear that the music is full of electric guitar. While the music is certainly not 'acoustic' in the conventional sense, the message is very clear; the band here is trying to take a much less dense approach to their music, which helps remedy alot of the issues that the band had in albums prior. For the first time in their career, their use of psychedelic effects is becoming effective and much more polished than before, where it seemed a bit too over- indulgent. For the most part, the focus of the songs relies on the melodies of vocalist Cedric Bixler-Zavala, whose voice is in top form for this album.

While the album does keep a cohesive string of pretty good music throughout the album, there are a few parts that recall back to 'The Bedlam In Goliath;' meanwhile other parts feel a bit too bland and mellow. While I laud The Mars Volta for developing their sound in the right direction, a little bit more balance between extremes could help the band regain even more of their past glory. In any case, while the group hasn't entirely redeemed themselves and pulled themselves out of their recession, they are certainly making progress, and I believe that their next release (provided it continues to develop the group's music) has real potential to make waves in the prog rock scene, like before.

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I was very disappointed with this album. TMV were one of my favourite new groups of the past decade, but this is their weakest and least proggy album yet. A lot of the songs here sound like they were rejected for other albums because they weren't good enough. Before this came out it was rumoured to be the TMV 'acoustic album'. It is mellower than what came before but not extremely acoustic-oriented. I would refer to this as the 'ballad album' instead. While I usually enjoyed the ballads they did on earlier releases, the ones here are nowhere near as good.

Sustained synth links the tracks together. The two best songs here, "Teflon" and "Cotopaxi", really stand out on this album and sound the most like earlier TMV. "Halo Of Nembutals" is the only other decent song that could have been at home on other albums. "Desperate Graves" is not too bad but would have been filler on the first three albums. "Copernicus" has some interesting IDM-style drum machine programming in the middle, but otherwise this song is just boring. "Since We've Been Wrong" sounds like an attempt at something mainstream but is a very mediocre song.

I liked the previous album Bedlam more than some, but even it was a step down from the first three albums. I think the majority of what Omar has done solo in the last two years is far more interesting and enjoyable than the last two TMV albums. I sure hope their next one is a major improvement over Octahedron. I'm going to rate this a 2.5 but I'll bump it up to 3 stars because the best songs here are actually really good.

Review by Kempokid
5 stars I'm personally a massive fan of The Mars Volta, considering their first 4 albums to all be masterpieces in their own right, changing up their sound to some extent while maintaining an extremely high level of quality and consistency. I can safely say that Octahedron does the former, while occasionally including the latter as well. In terms of overall sound, the difference between this and their previous album, Bedlam in Goliath, is the complete opposite, stripping back all of the abrasive hyperactivity, instead focusing on creating pleasant ballads with an overall lack of excess. Despite this displaying further variety in their music, I also must say that this is not entirely successful and is honestly somewhat disappointing. Despite all of the elements being here, the exceptional musicality that is toned down in order to fit the tone, the great interplay between instruments, a mostly excellent sense of melody, and excellent production, the compositions themselves are a mixed bag.

Unlike what would generally be expected, I find this album works best during some of the slower songs on the album, with the more standard songs of the band honestly feeling highly lacklustre. Songs like 'Since We've Been Wrong' and 'With Twilight as My Guide' demonstrate what works about this album very well, having vocal melodies which are beautiful, using each instrument effectively to add impact to particular moments, most notably when the drums kick in near the end of 'Since We've Been Wrong'. My personal favourite song on the album is 'Desperate Graves' and is a song I truly believe can stand up to some of the more popularly favourite Mars Volta songs. I find this song to be so excellent for how everything works so perfectly, with my personal choice for best vocal melody on the album, and definitely one of the better ones by the band in general. This combined with the drumming gives the song a great groove as well, before the chorus further heightens the quality of the song, providing some power without causing it to feel out of place.

However, despite the good things that have just been said, I find the heavier, faster parts of the album to feel quite poor in comparison, the biggest offender of this being Teflon, which while it has a cool chorus and is somewhat fun, it is also incredibly repetitive and never escalates the way I feel it should. Cotopaxi provides a different issue, as it genuinely feels out of place as the only song which is so energetic, along with the fact that it simply feels very unimpressive anyway, containing nothing of interest and more or less meandering along, poorly disguising its compositional mediocrity with the sheer energy the band puts into it. However, out of the heavier cuts from the album, Luciforms stands up extremely well, fully embracing the slightly unsettling tone this album has, and using it to create something downright harrowing. This track manages to be completely different sounding from the rest of the album without feeling out of place, still using the slower pace and atmosphere of the album in order to give it some grounding, while simultaneously heavily laying on vocal effects and being excessive in classic Mars Volta fashion, with the ending jam being textbook for the band.

The songs that haven't been mentioned yet haven't simply because they are so uninteresting and generic to me that I have nothing to say about them, both feeling somewhat unnecessary and dull. Overall, I find this album to be a mixed bag, containing some absolutely incredible songs, while also having some which I consider poor. Everything sounds very restrained and stripped back here, which works well for the most part, especially with Thomas Pridgen's drumming, which still has a slightly frenetic edge to it, noticeable during drum fills, while also being much more calculated. Another issue with the album is simply that only three songs really stand up to the previous 4 albums to me, with the rest either being straight up bad to me, or simply overlong and somewhat boring. I wouldn't classify this as a failed experiment as much as simply an album that could have been worked on more in order to achieve true greatness, but even so, there is still enough great material here for me to recommend giving it a listen at least once.

Best Songs: Since We've Been Wrong, Desperate Graves, Luciforms

Weakest Songs: Halo of Nembutals, Teflon, Cotopaxi

Verdict: An album with half great songs, and half that are below average, definitely worth a listen at least once for the great songs, but otherwise nothing particularly special.

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4 stars Listening diary 16th July 2021: The Mars Volta - Octahedron (progressive/art rock, 2009) Their most accessible, and yet bizarrely their most under-appreciated album. I suppose that sums up The Mars Volta's audience for you. But as someone who always loved their hooks more than their 10-minute p ... (read more)

Report this review (#2592126) | Posted by Gallifrey | Saturday, September 4, 2021 | Review Permanlink

4 stars More melody, less dense, less cocaine. Octahedron is a unique release. This is a reletively sparse, mellow, and mature TMV and their most impressive album since De-Loused. Gone is the "Everything in the kitchen sink" approach of previous releases, and what we have is something akin to Televa ... (read more)

Report this review (#1005297) | Posted by bloodnarfer | Thursday, July 25, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars 7/10 Well, this is not a 100% acoustic album as members of The Mars Volta said, but in retrospect the discography of the band can be said that Octahedron is an "odd man out". Not only is shorter (50 minutes against the 60 ofdebut nearly 80 of other albums) but the whole album is a sign that ... (read more)

Report this review (#569810) | Posted by voliveira | Friday, November 18, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Something is missing here. Is it too mellow? Not weird enough? I am not sure, but no tracks on OCTAHEDRON have ever caught my complete attention. This is, by a long shot, The Mars Voltas most quiet and acoustic kind of album. There are no gripping epics that could be found on DELOUSED IN THE C ... (read more)

Report this review (#452307) | Posted by mohaveman | Thursday, May 26, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This album really strips away a lot of what makes the mars volta unique, but despite that I have to say that I really like it. As progressive rock listeners we sometimes tend to equate "different" with "good" and while tmv's previous album was surely different, I found it to be unlistenable. ... (read more)

Report this review (#356220) | Posted by rpe9p | Saturday, December 18, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Who gives a flying sexual penetration if this isn't as flawless or fresh as "...Comatorium." That's not a pinnacle a band can be expected to attain more than once. The Mars Volta hasn't sold out--maybe this is easier on the ears than their previous work, but it's still far more challenging than, say ... (read more)

Report this review (#318276) | Posted by InfinityParadox | Saturday, November 13, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The acoustic album, apparently. This is quite a lo fi album, with more acoustic material out weighing the jazz rock tunes, but If your thinking, "acoustic Mars Volta, is it possible." Yes it is, and it works really well. The songs are quite beautiful and the vocals are in a step in a new d ... (read more)

Report this review (#289673) | Posted by arcane-beautiful | Thursday, July 8, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Octahedron is the definition of a grower, each listen brings the album closer to your heart and rewards you with a deeper and fuller appreciation of the superb music and lyrics on offer. The unusual thing however; is that with any other Mars Volta cd the repeated listenings unveil hidden saxoph ... (read more)

Report this review (#278837) | Posted by Gentlegiantprog | Wednesday, April 21, 2010 | Review Permanlink

1 stars I am sure I'll offend many fans of this band with my review,but I cannot stop myself to criticise and condamn this kind of music that this guys are doing!My oppinion is that THE MARS VOLTA are really pushig the boundaries of madness and imposture to an unbelieveble level,just in the name of th ... (read more)

Report this review (#278551) | Posted by Ovidiu | Monday, April 19, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I've been a huge fan of the band since their first album, I never imagined they'd progress so well, especially into this quieter, stark, striped down territory. Their last two albums are actually my favorite of Mars Volta's five albums. They just keep getting better. My favorite album of the ... (read more)

Report this review (#273571) | Posted by akajazzman | Monday, March 22, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars "How much do you make in that death factory"? After the wild intensity of "The Bedlam in Goliath", the Mars Volta have turned down all the dials, chilled out and produced a very nice album. They said it was their "acoustic album" - umm, well, it's a good site more acoustic than previous, but f ... (read more)

Report this review (#244085) | Posted by PinkPangolin | Sunday, October 11, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is a clear step down in speed and complexity from Mars Volta, enough to make this album very diffrent from any album they did before. At first that comes as a shock, but after only a few listens, its a pleassent surprice. Not that this is the Mars Volta i prefer from everything else they ... (read more)

Report this review (#241518) | Posted by tamijo | Saturday, September 26, 2009 | Review Permanlink

2 stars What happened to the freak that is The Mars Volta? It's like the freak dressed up in the prettiest fashionable clothes and is pretending to be like everyone else. This album is really boring. It is predictable. It is straight. It's missing all of the Latin groove influence. The intensity, po ... (read more)

Report this review (#228861) | Posted by Tristan Campbell | Wednesday, July 29, 2009 | Review Permanlink

2 stars So I am one huge Mars Volta fan, I absolutely adored all of their other releases, and YES! that includes the so controversial "The Bedlam In Goliath", so when Octahedron was announced to be an acoustic album I was really looking forward to it, not that songs like "Televators" or "The Widow" are m ... (read more)

Report this review (#228348) | Posted by JTP88 | Saturday, July 25, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Great songs, good album...Blah blah blah pop...yadda yadda thing is certain, this sounds like a B-sides album. Not a bad thing at all, just a curious mix of some very good songs from a very good group. The Mars Volta do a fantastic job keeping you guessing with every release, an ... (read more)

Report this review (#227802) | Posted by Sgt. Smiles | Tuesday, July 21, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars It's not an acoustic album - epecially the ones most associated with MTV's unplugged so to speak. Consider it adding progressive rock acoustic e.g. Strawbs mentality, not a folk e.g. Peter Paul and Mary mentality. It still contains the same heavy Mars Volta instrumental and singing everyon ... (read more)

Report this review (#227797) | Posted by SMSM | Tuesday, July 21, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This album comes as a pleasant surprise to me. As much as I enjoyed The Bedlam In Goliath I had a feeling that the band were going round in circles and didn't really have the capacity to really progress or change. Upon hearing 'Cotopaxi' it seemed to me that I was right; and while it's a great ... (read more)

Report this review (#227073) | Posted by brainerd | Thursday, July 16, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Great album! Cedric called it an "acoustic" album,though it is not acoustic as most people understand it. Of course it is softer,much softer than all previous Mars Volta albums,but still it has this "electricity" and it keeps you strained when you listen to it. Certainly it is not perfect from ... (read more)

Report this review (#226624) | Posted by The Madman Sailor | Tuesday, July 14, 2009 | Review Permanlink

2 stars The Mars Volta is a band that I have really gotten into in the past couple years. I really enjoyed their eclectic version of prog that always keeps me on my toes. It is exciting music that hits at you non-stop, and I couldn't get enough of it. They are willing to push the boundaries of modern mus ... (read more)

Report this review (#225342) | Posted by natewait | Wednesday, July 8, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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, ... (read more)

Report this review (#224241) | Posted by Erik Nymas | Thursday, July 2, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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