WOAH. Like every ATD-I fan, I believed that their inplosion was a tragedy for all those who believed that rock had been reinvented, finally. The post-hardcore adrenalin merchants were the most exciting thing to happen to the rock genre in years, "Relationship of Command" unfortunately was not only their breakthrough, it was their final album. As the members went their seperate ways, Jim Ward and co formed Sparta, a good band in their own right, but were pretty dissimilar to At The Drive-In. A few years later, Rodriguez and Bixler appear again, after the relative failure of De Facto, this time with a new band, The Mars Volta.
The first track I heard of these was an early version of "Roulette Dares", a pyschedelic fusion of latin jazz and prog which culminated in an epic 6 minute song which told the world that the duo were back with a new band, a new sound, and a potential to better their previous work.
A year later, I heard "De-Loused in the Comatorium". I hadn't heard their "Tremulant" EP, and was eager to see what Rodgriguez and Bixler had produced. 67 minutes later, passing through eleven tracks, I had heard what is undoubtedly THE album of 2003, the best debut album in years, and finally a new and utterly unique blend of adrenalline-fuelled, prog, jazz, latin, hardcore rock which penetrates your brain, throws and kicks it around your head, and leaves it for dead, all in the best way possible. Its a concept album, inspired by the life and work of Texan artist and deceased friend of the band Julio Venegas, which tells a story of a coma victim's amazing thoughts and dreams during his deep sleep, when he is woken, all he wants is to return to the adventures inspired in his coma. The songs are incredible, "Son et Lumiere" blasts the album out of the speakers, and is proceeded by the album's first "proper" track, "Inertiatic esp", a fast, pounding, stomper of a track in which Bixler reapeatedly cries; "Now I'm Loused", and at four minutes long, is short compared to the other songs. Once recovered from that, you are thrown back into the mayhem with "Roulette Dares (the haunt of)", I was expecting the more or less the same version I had heard a year before, oh no no no, after the hasty build up, the track explodes with a cocktail of furious guitars and electronica, and is a 7 and a half minute epic which eventually slows down into a jazzy conclusion, and leads immediately into "Tira Me a las Aranas", a short intro for "Drunkship of Lanterns", another ferocious song which combines prog, latin rock, electronica, and hardcore. "Eriatarka", "Cicatriz esp", and "This Apparatus must be Unearthed" are all quality, astonishing tracks, typical of the Rodriguez-Bixler vision, the music is slowed down in "Televators", easily the mellowest track on the album, before an epic conclusion in "Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt", bringing this musical nightmare/adventure to a dramatic end, and I say nightmare in the most complimentary way possible. This album takes you on a journey, when I listen to it, the album takes me underground to a place resembling hell, I'm sure others imagine their own stories or dreams to accompany the unique sounds of "Deloused in the Comatorium".
There are many reasons as to why you wont like this album, the lyrics are as indeciferable as the song titles, the hard nature of the songs will not cater for everybody's taste, some may feel that the album is too long. But I urge you all to listen to this album, whether you buy or borrow, its an experience which you must attempt. Half my music mates love it, the others think it's overrated tripe, I feel its an amazing and epic journey which plays on so many music styles, mainly prog, and leaves you in a state of euthoric shock, eager to listen once again. "Deloused..." lays the ghost of ATD-I to rest, and celebrates the arrival of the world's most exciting new bands, long live the Mars Volta.