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57 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Their most coherent work to date
A mere 18 months after their 'Frances The Mute' masterpiece, TMV make a triumphant - and rather speedy - return with 'Amputechture'. It is their most coherent work to date in that it blends the (some may argue) "accesibility" of 'De-Loused...' with the more experimental elements of 'Frances...' yet manages to sound not much like either.

Beginning with the...
Published on 31 July 2006 by A. Blair

versus
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What a shame
This album could have been their best. Musically it probably is, but the mix is just so damn annoying. Jon Theodore drums his heart out and at times is barely audible. Frusciante although quite possibly the finest guitarist of his time is way too loud on this, I love him to pieces, but the guitars in general are just so darn abrasive it hurts.

If you liked...
Published on 2 Dec 2006 by bassjj


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57 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Their most coherent work to date, 31 July 2006
By 
A. Blair "foetusonthebeat" (Glasgow) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Amputechture (Audio CD)
A mere 18 months after their 'Frances The Mute' masterpiece, TMV make a triumphant - and rather speedy - return with 'Amputechture'. It is their most coherent work to date in that it blends the (some may argue) "accesibility" of 'De-Loused...' with the more experimental elements of 'Frances...' yet manages to sound not much like either.

Beginning with the 7-minute 'Vicarious Atonement' the album instantly strikes you as different from previosu efforts. It's a slow track, the 1st 3 minutes of which are dominated by some dexterous guitar innovation and - most noteably - the clearly audible and welcome return of the keys which dominated 'Deloused...'. Towards the end of the song, the keys become more jazz-based, enhanced by the introduction of some brass instrument work. Moreover, vocals have been subtly layered making this rather delirious-sounding track even more enjoyable.

Stopping quite abruptly (as each track on this album does, unlike Deloused where they were woven into one another or Frances where there seemd to be 4-minute gaps of sound), you're led into Tetragrammaton - a 17 minute opus and perhaps one of the best tracks every put to tape by TMV. As expected, the fragility of the verses is balanced with the hyperactivity of the "chorus" with a tremendous bass-riff which is then followed by layered guitar work, solos and more layered vocals. The further extent of layering of the same instruments makes this album feel less cluttered than the last two. The 6-minute mark the track slows significantly in a Cicatriz-esque manner and around 8 minutes picks back up again in an explosive fashion with an amazing guitar solo. After 17 minutes it doesn't even feel like 5 have passed; it lacks the large gaps that Cassandra Geminni had and therefore seems more complete and coherent.

Tracks like 'Meccamputechture' explore new territory with Cedric almost "rapping" (for want of a better word) at the start before the guitars and brass-instrumental work kick in with 'space-like' samples kicking in too (the latter being another prominent feature of this album). The hypnotic repetition of "it lacks a human pulse" over the music towards the end of the 11-minute track leaves goosebumps on my skin; truely fantastic!

'Asilos Magdalena' is in the same vain as the "blackmailed she fell off every mountain" section of 'L'Via L'Viaquez', the guitar working alone with the Spanish lyrics providing something completely distinct from the rest of the album yet doesn't ever seem out-of-the-ordinary. This leads onto forthcoming single 'Viscera Eyes' which could probably be considered the most accessible work TMV have done, but the reasonably simple riff works PERFECTLY with the trumpet/saxophone and with Cedric's high-pitched Spanish vocals before turning back to the "come on and give it to me, come on and die. In your viscera eyes!" of the chorus. A truly magnificent song dispalying the signs of fantastic creativity.

'Day of the Baphomets' begins with some slow, Tool-esque work before leading into a bass solo before exploding into a flourishing track of bongos, layered guitars, sporadic jazz explosions/solos. The album is book-ended with slower tracks leaving 'El Ciervo Vulnerado' similar to 'Vicarious...', but that's just the cyclical nature of a TMV album. The calls of "bless it be, bless it be" and distorted vocals and "space-like" sounds over the somewhat Eastern-tinged base-sound of the track leave this as a perfect exit to a flawless album.

Cedric recently told people that Frusciante was only told his guitar parts 5 minutes before entering the studio to record this work and that it is largely innovation. For a band constantly pushing boundaries, TMV have succeeded immensely in their creation of a literally flawless album; a perfectly crafted, dexterous masterpiece; a blue-print for what music should sound like!! Innovative, spontaneous, refreshing and perfect are words that don't even scratch the surface. Trust me, you're going to love every second.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mars Shoulder, 21 Sep 2006
By 
J. H. Rathband "Park Bloomer" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Amputechture (Audio CD)
Mars Volta are very different here in their expression: however I would not necessarily fit this as an album- it seems more accurately a stage of progression.

Frances the Mute had more of the feel of an album with its consistance in style- and by having more actual songs. This album rarely actually seems to go full in to song. There are outbursts which are undeniably funky and catchy- the places where they continue riffs and ideas through. But more often than not the album is in limbo between songs- not just in Limbo but often in solo.

The choice here is yours, I personally preferred the overall structure of Frances the Mute. The endless soloing in this album I often find to much in the struggle for the music to progress- amd it is more careless.

However, I still admire the album in its new approach to the Mars Volta sound- Mars Volta being one of the most exciting bands I can relate to the dead scene of modern day music.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars not their best but fu*king awesome!!, 20 Sep 2006
By 
Jonathan Mulcrone "frusciante666" (london, england) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Amputechture (Audio CD)
this is the mars voltas 3rd major album which they have brought out not too long after frances... as being a huge mars volta fan i was really expecting something special from the guys and because john frusciante plays on it (my fav musician ever) i thought well ok, this album is going to be extraordinary..

....and was i right?? YES, they have done it yet again with amputechture, which absolutely left me mouth open, and dazed. Only having 8 tracks, they are pretty lengthy as usual and really do go for it!! of course you may not know what i mean on first couple of listens but give it time and you will be addicted, and although not being their best, i gave it 5 stars because there is simply nothing wrong with it, but deloused and frances are better (thats saying something).. i strongly recommend you buy this album, one to remember..... thanks for reading
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, 21 Sep 2006
This review is from: Amputechture (Audio CD)
I'll try and do a short one cause you need to listen to this to understand it as there isn't much to compare it to!

The songs (not all but most) are big and complicated with different time signatures and rhythms. It takes a few listens to the album to make any sense of it as on the first few times, it will all just sound like one riff after another and wont seem to follow any patterns.

That said, if you have heard and liked the previous MV albums, you will like this as well. It is still obviously MV and they haven't really changed their sound, just expanded it.

One thing that improves this album for it is that at the end of each song, it finishes and gets on to the next one. I like to randomise songs on my computer and at the end of each song on FTM, there were 2-3 minutes of noise that was pretty pointless.. As an album, this flows much better.

As I said at the start, there's no point in trying to explain what it sounds like to you (anyone who knows the MV already will understand the difficulty of explaining what they sound like to someone whose never listened before) but it is crazy latin rock with brilliant drums, loads of mad solos, one of the best singers you will hear for a long time, funky powerfull bass etc etc.. you could go on and on but you just need to hear it.

Not for people who only like radio friendly rock. This is one that takes some listening!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One hell of a grower., 14 Dec 2007
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This review is from: Amputechture (Audio CD)
I'm a big fan of The Mars Volta & at first, this album dissapointed me. It's quite different to their previous material & a lot of the pace & chaos that was present in the earlier work has gone. Instead they've delivered an album that sounds altogether more natural & cohesive. There's more focus on actual songs rather than the expansive soundscapes interspersed with frenetic energy.

This really is the definition of a grower. It sounds better every time I hear it. The only reason I don't give it 5 stars is the production on Amputechture. I wish Omar would allow someone else to come along & co-produce with him. The drums & Bass are so far back in the mix sometimes that they get totally smothered by all the layers of guitar & vocals. It's a real shame because some brilliant playing gets lost & the songs lose impact as a result.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite Mars album..., 18 Feb 2008
By 
T. FIELDSEND "Tompac" (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Amputechture (Audio CD)
...without a doubt, BUT, I must admit 'The Bedlam in Goliath' is creeping up on me too. That album is defianetley a 'grower'....

But what to say about this album. I think its a masterpiece, I had heard mixed reviews about it and having got 'Frances' after owning 'Deloused' for a couple of years (the band in genral have taken a while to grow on me) then decided to get this in light of the 'New' album out at the end of January.

Here we have everything. The slow introduction, the epic track 2 before the very catchy and obvious single 'Vermicide'. This is the most accessible track on the album. 'Meccamputecture' is a fantastic song. Then it breaks diwn into another slow, accoustic track which is very beautiful and all in Spanish. The next 2 tracks are the heaviest on the album and to be honest blow me away. 'Viscera Eyes' has a heavy riff through out, but the next track and to me the highlight of the album is'Day of the Baphomets'. This song is crazy, I remember when I first heard it and now I cant get enough of it. I really hope they play it this Friday night in Copenhagen here but I wont hold my breath. Its in 2 parts really, the first is the build up and heaviest bit with vivid lyrics and vocals followed by trumpet and guitar. The 2nd half goes even more nuts with an amazing bit of percussion towards the end. This is my favourite Mars song, hands down. Hats off.

Throughout the album has such an intensity in places and yet some soft areas to break it up, the lyrics are insane and as pleasing as previously, the music I dont know where to start with really, just brilliant. Omars guitar work, the rythem used, the percussion, Cedrics voice, just completely different and unique to anything I have heard and YOU will hear! I promise!

I am really looking forward to seeing these guys to really see how they make this immense sound they create....
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Record, 20 Oct 2007
By 
Gentlegiantprog "Kingcrimsonprog" (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Amputechture (Audio CD)
The Mars Volta's third album was somewhat of a departure from the first two, more slow burning and considered, less crazy and on the whole very pleasant to listen to, while still being able to rock when necessary. The band toned down the unusual samples, slowed down the drum rolls and produced the album rather differently than before. The end result is altogether pleasing.

Beginning with a haunting slow burning intro and ending with a similar outro the album flows really well, and is filled with some of the band's most concise yet still progressive songs, which are well structured and that (more or less) don't feel like an angry jam session where they're not supposed to.

The only problem, however is that on first listen, the album doesn't seem to have the same energy that the first two Mars Volta album had. The production helps the album greatly in some areas, but in certain areas it would've been a lot better if the edge that I know the songs have, could've came across more on record, maybe louder drums and more distorted guitar would make the difference ?

This minor flaw aside, Amputecture is a wonderful album, with fantastic songs, ace keyboards and a 'whole,' feeling;
Special mention must go to 'Meccamputecture,' and big time to 'Day of the Baphomets,' which are two of the band's finest works to date.

The Mars Volta do have some fantastic albums and If you like even one song by them I'd recommend that you buy all three albums... and be patient, they're flawed but ultimately worth it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars another masterpiece, 18 Sep 2006
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This review is from: Amputechture (Audio CD)
For the realist in me, Frances the Mute really is impossible to follow, but the sideways move to Amputechture is as good as it could have got. I did get a sinking feeling though as my enjoyment of the many parts of the capricious 16 minute "Tetragrammation" was continually hijacked by the seemingly random way they are spliced together.

What follows though is a set of excellent individual numbers, in which Omar continues to develop his skill of producing brilliant atmospheric musical textures, like a prog rock Ravel! Vermicide and Meccampatechure are both very strong tracks, the former more atmospheric the other another extended opus, very jazzy with some magical improvised sax and keys, Asilos Magdelena calms it down, this is a beautifully rendered folorn acoustic ballad - a surprise and a sheer delight.

The brilliant riff based Viscera Eyes then leads into another extended roving caprice, Day of the Baphomets - yet this is far more coherent and ultimately more satisfying than Tetragrammation.

The work is bookended by less accessible tracks, which I may or may not grow to like, but with boundary pushing artistes that is always bound to happen.

In Amputechture (does this mean "the design of limb removal") TMV use more repetition than ever before, but the clever multilayered textures are still there, and there is some great tunesmithing mixed in with some exciting jazz-fusion sections. Ohhh yes and that King Crimson influence is still unashamedly there. Its always fun translating the Spanish lyrics - they always make more sense than the English ones: "Promitiste tu Sangre" - I think we got it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not the best Mars Volta, 28 Aug 2011
By 
N. Pereira (Lisbon, Portugal) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Amputechture (Audio CD)
Hi,

Big fan of Mars Volta, this isn't my favourite album from these great prog gods. Still a great album.

Cheers.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Addictive Album, 17 Feb 2010
By 
G. Billam - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Amputechture (Audio CD)
Just To start off, i own all the The Mars Volta's albums and enjoy all of them for different reasons, but this album is the best. I listen a wide range of music like Jazz fusion, Prog, Physceldelia, Electronica and lots of others. This album has Omar Rodriguez Lopez on guitars, Cedric BIxler Zavala on vocals, Juan Alderete on bass, Jon Theodore on drums, Ikey Owens on keyboards, Marcel Rodriguez Lopez on percussion and Adrian Gonzalez on Woodwinds.

TRACK1- Vicarious Atonement- A starter to the album has a early Pink Floyd feel to it with effects and keyboards dominating this track

TRACK 2- Tetragrammaton- One of the highlights of the album despite being 16 miniutes long. It doesn't feel like it at all, Remindes of King Crimson. Jon Theodore paticulay stands out on this track

TRACK 3- Vermicide- A short track, Not the greatest track but goes well with the album.

TRACK 4- Meccamputechture- A track charachterised by a great organ solo at the end and saxaphone.

TRACK 5-Asilos Magdalena- This Track goes Back to Omar's cuban roots with spanish vocals and acoustic guitar.

TRACK 6- Viscera Eyes-Probally the most likelly to be known with its catchy chorus and simple but effective crunching sounding guitar.

TRACK 7- Day Of The Baphomets- Possibly my favorite TMV track. Great opening with bass playing Jaco Pastorius would of been proud of, leading into a fury of guitars and saxaphone. The saxaphone is dominante with the guitar, And them having a duel midway through. The track ends on a high to with a beautiful bongo solo.

TRACK 8- El Ciervo Vulvenerado- A nice conclusion to the album, ending the album on a high.

I Hope you enjoy this album as much as I did.
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Amputechture
Amputechture by The Mars Volta (Audio CD - 2006)
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