on 21 November 2005
At last, a band playing in the prog rock mould without sounding dated. First note that I owned Frances the Mute first, so this made ven more interesting listening than it would have otherwise. Why, because it can be seen as a stepping stone to Frances. Whereas in Frances the influences are more covert, here TMV explicitly display their skill at assimilating and adapting a vast range of influences. King Crimson, Led Zep, Genesis, Sanatana, techno, latin, punk plus a whole load I probably dont recognise are cleaverly crafted into a whole. But Also it has a distictive TMV stamp, and there is no crap (apart from the UK bonus track!).
Like Frances, this album is a real powerhouse of multi layered viruosity mainly crafted by Guitarist Omar Rodreguez Lopez. It's a good job they have the fantastic vocals of Cedric Bixler (in the mold of Robert Plant) to cut through it all.
TMV are not afraid to make some parts difficult in order to enhance the whole. This is not for peaople who flick through the first 30 seconds of each track, but listen to the whole package - properly and you will be rewarded
on 10 November 2004
I am a big fan of At the Drive-In and so I decided to invest in "De-Loused in the Comatorium" about a year ago. It took several listens but soon I was experiencing musical bliss!
I'm sure you already know the whole backstory of The Mars Volta, so I will not go into this.
One of the most notable things about Cedric's singing in ATDI was how rough and punchy it sounded. It made you get up and listen. Here his voice is a lot more experimental. There is still hints of the old Cedric but now there are bits where his voice is just somber and beautiful- "Televators" is a great example of this!
The great energy in ATDI came mostly from Cedric's voice, but what is great about TMV is that now Jon Theodore on the drums provides this energy. His rip-roaring drumming is one of the highlights of the album and you can get the true feel of it in such songs like "Drunkship of Lanterns" and "Eriatarka".
As for Omar, he really struts his stuff! His guitar playing is taken up to another level from ATDI, and he and John Frusciante manage to create one of the most stunning solos I've ever heard in the 12+ minute "Cicatriz esp". Also Jeremy Ward must be mentioned here as most of the effects created on this album were through him. He sadly died around the time this album was released.
If you've listened to De Facto (Cedric and Omar's side band to ATDI), then TMV are similar to them but mixed with ATDI, but that doesn't even scratch the surface. People have made comparison's with Pink Floyd , and the TMV do remind me of Radiohead's "Kid A" album at times. But it is not the same as either of these comparisons. It is not suprising that these comparisons are made, as all three bands are experimental in their own right. There are just so many elements of music that have been infused together in this album- prog rock, punk, latino, funk, jazz, etc. Non dominate, they all work equally together to give off TMV's original sound.
Of course TMV may not be everyone's taste, the weird time signitures and experimentation may not be everyone's cup of tea. But I personally believe there are certain albums that are just ground breaking and that everyone should own- from RHCP "Blood sugar sex magik" to Carole King "Tapestry", etc, etc. I would have no hesitation in putting "De-Loused in the Comatorium" in this category.
Bring on "Frances the Mute"!!!!
"Roulette Dares (this is the haunt)"- I see this as the signiture TMV song. Fast paced and mellow and punchy and catchy and when you least expect it, something new is thrown into the game.
"Drunkship of Lanterns"- feels reckless but it's not. Omar's guitar work reminds me of his ATDI work at times but this song is really about Jon Theodore and Ikey Owens. Fast paced doesn't even begin to describe it.
"Cicatriz esp"- this is a long song and a brave song. Typical brilliance of TMV, we have you're normal verse, chorus etc. And then we have about 4 minutes of...odd noises before going into Omar and John Frusciante's superb playing!
on 1 September 2003
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.
on 5 February 2004
Wow! This album is simply incredible! It is by far the most imaginative and creative album written for years. It cleverly combines rock, funk, jazz, latin, and other craaazy styles into one massive album full of surprises.
Bixler's voice is supreme, and commands full attention. The riffs conjured up by Rodriguez-Lopez on guitar are second-to-none in originality and effectiveness. As for the drumming, it is nice to finally hear a drummer who is not afraid to show what he can do. Jon Theodore manages to set the pace whilst simultaneously making the drums seem like an additional melodic instument as opposed to a simple backing. With Flea (form Red Hot Chili Peppers) on bass, and John Frusciante (also from RHCP) on guitar for the amazing 'Cicatriz Esp', there are top musicians a-plenty on this album.
I was first attracted to TMV after hearing the sensational debut single 'Inertiatic Esp', which is one of the more 'normal' songs on the album. Having heard lots of At The Drive-In, I can safely say that D-LITC beats it hands down! If you want an album that will inspire you, look no further than this one!
on 13 January 2004
The mars volta can be summed up in one word genius. But that is not enough.
My general taste in music is older stuff such as the doors, Led zeppelin, The rolling stones and of course the legend that is Jimi Hendrix, however outside this bracket of the 60's and 70's there was only realy 1 or 2 bands i liked one of which was at the drive-in in particular their album relationship of command. However im glad this band split up as without this breakdown the greatest band to have graced this planet would not have been born i am of course refering to the mars volta, refreshingly new and vibrant with outstanding technical abilities,their album amases me. By far the best tracks on this album are, eriatarka, this apparatus must be unearthed and drunkship of lanterns which incorporates the use of bongos.
As long they keep producing this kind of raw and provocative music they could live on for years.
if you want to see a band play live these are the ones to see, with great stage and improvisation skills they are true performers!
on 4 February 2007
Track 1 ~ Son Et Lumi�re: This is a sort of introductory track that leads into the first song on the album. I won't rate it individually, as I would consider it as part of track 2, so I'll take it into account when I rate that one.
Track 2 ~ Inertiatic Esp: The drums at the end of the first track lead into this one, which has heavy rock roots and an intense rhythm. This is the first Mars Volta track I ever heard, which was a couple of years ago now, long before I actually got into them. 9/10
Track 3 ~ Roulette Dares (The Haunt Of): Craziness at the start, then it calms down a bit and seems to have as many moods swings as a teenage girl with schizophrenia. 8.5/10
Track 4 ~ Tira Me A Les Aranas: According to freetranslation.com, the title of this song means "it throws me to them tricks". As you can tell, I don't know Spanish. I won't rate this, as it's just an interlude.
Track 5 ~ Drunkship of Lanterns: Some vibrant percussion accompanying the guitars. The seemingly improvised bridge part after 2 minutes is a nice touch. The chorus in the second half of the song is excellent, along with the "Come on down, hit the ground" bit. I think those are the lyrics, sometimes it's nearly impossible to make them out, not that they're that important. 99% of them make no sense at all (especially the bits in Spanish!). 8.5/10
Track 6 ~ Eriatarka: Starts off with drums, a bit like the second track, then a more laid back guitar takes the lead. Gets more exciting as it goes on. 8/10
Track 7 ~ Cicatriz Esp: Quite different to the live version that I review a couple of weeks ago. Starts the same, but goes along a different path (ie. less weird and shorter than the live version, still a bit weird at one part though). A good chorus. 8/10
Track 8 ~ This Apparatus Must be Unearthed: A bit of a crazy song, really good guitars though. 8/10
Track 9 ~ Televators: I think this one was a single. Probably the only Mars Volta track that could conceivable have an acoustic version made of it. Strange, creepy lyrics, eg. something about "half-eaten corneas". There's a weird bit at the end which reminds me of the sound effects from Dragonball Z (not that I ever willingly watched it of course) 9/10
Track 10 ~ Take The Veil Cerpin Taxt: An odd name for a song, but that doesn't stop it being their masterpiece. Like Cicatriz, this is on the live album too and also has a different sound. Maybe a bit more restrained in this version, but it works so well. The lyrics are pure psychedelia, they make no sense to me at all, but that doesn't matter, the music's awesome. I've listened to this song a ridiculous number of times on my MP3 player lately, and listening to the same song over and over is very unlike me, so it must be good. (Maybe my German exchange partner's habits have rubbed off on me ). Yes, it is good. The prolonged calm before the storm towards the end is unexpected and a touch of pure musical genius. I love that bit, reminds me slightly of the Stone Roses. Perhaps giving it half a bonus mark will put my mind at ease so I won't have to keep listening to it all the time. 10.5/10
Track 11 ~ Ambuletz: The UK Bonus track. Weird, basically. 7/10
Average Track Score: 8.5/10
Originality: Really original and refreshing. It's a revival of psychedelic rock, mixed with a hint of Led Zeppelin and bags of musical talent. How anyone can make music that sounds so good is beyond comprehension. 9.5/10
Variety: Their exciting heavy rock style is punctuated by moments of weirdness and improvisation. It's not quite what you would call "cross-genre", it's more of a genre to its own, which happens to be an amalgam of influences from certain parts of the musical world. 8/10
One of my favourite albums of the 21st century so far.
on 13 January 2004
This album, from the two 'Afro-d' ex-members of At The Drive-In, is undoubtably unique. After repeatedly listening to 'Relationship Of Command', I decided to believe the hype of The Mars Volta and buy 'De-Loused In The Comatorium'. It provides somewhat of a departure from the typical ATD-I formula but the similarities are evident throughout and if you enjoyed 'Relationship Of Command' I strongly recommend this album. The opening track 'Son Et Luminere' provides a gradual introduction to the album, followed by the explosion of sound which begins 'Inertiatic Esp' - a great song, with loud guitars and typical shrill distinctive vocals from Cedric. The chorus, however, is slightly repetitive and after repeated listens the song loses a fraction of its appeal. Track 3, 'Roulette Dares (The Haunt Of)' provides great dynamics within the song's structure, forming a pattern for the album - the alternation between and juxtaposition of extreme quiet and screaming guitars, thumping bass and emphatic vocals. Track 4 is another filler, and track 5 is inflluenced by Omar's Cuban roots - a worldy sound, followed by an energetic (and loud) refrain, which is the highlight of the song. This is the son which has grown on me most throughout listening to the album. Track 6, 'Eriatarka', opens with a jangly guitar riff and again has a sudden shift from quiet to loud. Track 7 is for me the highlight of the album, featuring John Frusciante's guitar playing, and this really stands out on this 12-minute epic of a song. The Cuban influence is evident again before the final verse and chorus - however perhaps the 3 minutes of nothing in the middle of the song is a tad excessive. Track 8 is mediocre in my opinion (compared with the rest of the album) - fairly standard fare - and track 9 provides a melodic, quiet throughout break between the energy of the previous songs and track 10, 'Take The Veil Cerpin Taxt', which is another highlight - its punky first chorus and disjointed verse soon give way to another song structure entirely. For me, the album ends here - 'Ambuletz' is, it has to be said, a shocker, and i rarely listen to it.
Overall, this is a very good album - the reason for 4 stars as opposed to 5 is that every review on this site gets 5 stars and I feel that this is not a perfect album- it does contain (minor) faults, and I feel a 5 star review should be only for perfect (or as good as attainably possible) albums with no obvious flaws. 'De-Loused In The Comatorium' is, however, a very good album and well worth buying for anyone into this sort of music.
on 30 December 2004
After At The Drive-In split up on the verge of world domination, the band split into two rival factions. Three of the members left to form Sparta, a more conventional punk band. But the two most musically innovative players, Omar and Cedric formed The Mars Volta. After the release of their Tremulant EP in 2002, the music world was left waiting for their first album. When this came, a much newer, stranger, freeform side came through. One thing this album could never be called is pop. Songs like Drunkship Of Lanterns and Eriatarka convey a brilliant mix of punk and prog, and of the slow and quick speeds and disjointed time signatures that adorn this work. One criticism of the album is that on some of the songs, for example Cicatriz ESP, they seem to over reach themselves with long breaks and over extravagant pompousness. However this is made up for by the rest of the material, a beautiful mix of the sensual and sharp. I for one, cannot wait for their next album to be released in spring 2005.
on 24 September 2004
After downloading as much as i could of the Mars Volta from the Internet pria to the release of deloused, i was unimpressed with what i heard. Being A massive ATDI fan i decided to buy the album anyway and was almost brought to tears by the amazing intro to the album and by realising that all the MP3s i had downloaded were in fact by a different Mars Volta.
Many people have said how there is no evidence of ATDI in The Mars Volta but there is. The Very distinctive guitar style and a similar approach into creating something different. When ATDI split, so did the music: the powerchords and flat-out drumming when to Sparta, and the crazy guitar and progressiveness went into the Mars Volta. Being a fan of all things unuseual, i was more impressed by TMV than Sparta.
The reason i give this album only 4 stars is that, even though it is worthy of 5, i still think that TMV have more to offer and that thier next album, once the band have established themselves, will be even better.
on 8 May 2004
After being introduced to the Mars Volta, I was shook, I mean absolutley shook. I thought music like this was like rocket science. It is the greatest album I have ever heard, like one reviewer has said, he lived with it, I still do, I have this album about nine months now. I've never been so blown away by music since Jeff Buckely or indeed Irish outfit the Kings Mistake. Go get this album, its not just to be heard, but to be LISTENED TO.