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The Bedlam in Goliath
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 28 January 2008
TMV's music is always going to be a trip for mind and heart. "The bedlam in Goliath" is no different. As I write this I am listening to TMV's latest offering for the third straight time through. A musical maelstrom, going for a few rounds with your favorite merciless boxer, come up with your own adjectives and superlatives ... but nothing can deny that TMV still have it and are in fact continuing to explore and develop it with their 4th studio release.
The music is violently articulate: all instruments scream at the listener, grabs her attention and shake her head clear of whatever activity she might be wanting to engage in. TMV will not be background music, nor rest easy playing little ditties in the background. They demand, and deserve it is true, to be listened to at centre stage.
Drawing from a rich well-spring of free-jazz, improvisation and heavy prog (think King Crimson's break outs in "21st century", for example, or Van der Graaf Generator's chaos during "Lighthouse Keeper's" or PH's own "Black Room") TMV flaunt their amazing musical prowess, even turning a Syd Barrett song into something from out of his most ambitious punk-psychedelia dream-states.
Listening to this aural banquet I can see closer links emerging between "The bedlam in Goliath" and the raw, uncompromising exploitation of instrumentation, soundscapes, and time signatures one would expect to hear from the 5uu's or even the Thinking Plague and some of their RIO peers, such as Etron Fou Leloublan or even a more manic NeBelNest. These share the same kind of willingness to throw musical forms out of the window in favor of pursuing musical functionality - saying what they want to first and foremost and then allowing the musical forms to blossom around that expressive function. As a hard-core fan of RIO I just really find myself grooving to "The bedlam in Goliath", and as with previous TMV releases, one finds greater levels of intensity nestled within the musical syntax itself ... peel back the layers and discover a universe waiting within. One can select a strand and follow it through the intricate progressions. For example, at first the horns aren't as in your face as in "Amputechture", but that doesn't mean that they are not there - they are, though this time one must peel back the layers of guitar or vox to create the space within which the saxophone becomes more of a lead instrument. And that is the key I think to a lot of RIO and TMV music: each instrument is playing a lead relative to the musical expression, and it is by wrapping itself in the formality of musical expression in a western "rock" idiom that these different leads are gathered together, forming a musically dense and very rich sound-scape.

Many won't like it I am sure. But I am also sure that TMV would probably retort that it wasn't for them anyway. Blow your mind, clean out the cobwebs, buy/borrow/download/rip the album, put on decent headphones on a decent sound system, clear your calendar for 90 minutes, grab a beverage and anything else you might want, turn the lights down and the volume up and let TMV take you on a syncopated trip as only they and very few others can.
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on 7 April 2008
I first heard Mars several years ago after I borrowed 'Deloused..' from a friend - it was amazing. Admittedly, I wanted to listen to them because Flea played bass on that album, but it was a sonic treat and was unlike anything I'd heard. Personally, I didnt enjoy Frances and Amputechture as much - but I will be definately going back and spending more time with them.

Listening to the videos the band put together for the pre-release of Bedlam didnt strike me as particularly grand, but after a bit of time something ravaged my audio tastebuds in a way I haven't experienced since, well, listening to Deloused for the first time I think!!

Since buying the album the day after release, and receiving it the day after (result!), there hasn't been many days passed when I havent listened to this album. I didnt think an album would have such an effect on me (and was secretly dubious and jealous of people who experienced such musical addictions!)

SUMMARY (sorry for the long one, but this album is a modern classic)
even if you have a passing interest in Mars, this album is well worth buying. Check out the videos for the songs on youtube, and spend some time with them...

and oh yeah, Thomas Pridgen is a marvellous addition to the band, Jon Theodore is incredible, but I think Thomas has given the band a lift with his presence (and I think Omar has mentioned this too in an interview)
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on 19 January 2016
Love The Mars Volta, if you get a chance to see them live, even better. They do what few musicians are able to pull off.
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on 1 March 2011
The album has lets say a unique beginning, I dont want to spoil it for you but you will certainly register it. Its a non-stop expertly put together wall of noise. Bedlam is the word-but in a nice way ( if thats possible !! ). I knew what I was letting myself in for when I purchased this.. you do too.. go on I dare you.
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on 21 June 2015
Great LP
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on 26 January 2017
Unparalleled.
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on 2 October 2014
just buy the damn thing!!
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on 15 October 2014
Awesome lp!!
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on 12 March 2008
The Bedlam In Goliath sees The Mars Volta in full on, pedal to the floor mode. This is a very different record to Amputecture & The band seem re-invigourated with the addition of T. Pridgen on drums. It's all about layers of sound creating a dense, chaotic atmosphere & the album title gives a strong hint of what you'll hear. There are none of the extended 'soundscape' sections & most songs are very short by Mars Volta standards. Esentially The Bedlam in Goliath is a far more focussed release than anything they've put out before. However, it's not the most accessible album in the world. My first couple of listens were quite testing because this is a real onslaught & it takes time for everything to sink in. Someone else mentioned that it's like having 3 radios on different Rock stations playing at once. That's a very accurate description, they hate the album, I love it. I've always liked their fusion of styles & there are some meaty Funk grooves alongside the usual Jazz, Rock, Latin, Punk. Also, the production is far superior to the poor sound of Amputecture. The many layers are structured so that there is a wall of sound but without losing too much definition of individual instruments.

I only have 2 issues with The Bedlam In Goliath. The biggest problem is 'Tourniquet Man'. It's a horrible, half arsed, ballad-thing & probably the worst track they've ever recorded. Secondly, The vocals sound too slick & poppy in parts. Don't get me wrong, this is possibly Cedric's best performance on record but there are a few too many vocal harmonies & the pitching is overly perfect for a storming rock record.

Despite the criticisms above, this deserves 5 stars. The Mars Volta are one of the few fearlessly creative bands around & they put out quality albums with satisfying regularity.
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on 3 April 2008
I can't believe it's only £8.98! I paid more but I don't care because it is worth it. This album is a departure from the first two albums but there is no doubting that it is a follow up to Amputechture. Gone are the days when they were a band formed from At The Drive In, they have forged their own music genre and it is justified by this album. Why isn't it 5 stars? There are a few weaker tracks, which obviously didn't make it to their live show, that let the album down. But absolute storming tunes Ouroborous, Agadez and Metatron are alone worth the value of the album (if you wish to test the water download the former). The live shows are fantastic and unfortunately with The Mars Volta it doesn't always translate!
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