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on 12 November 2012
The Mars Volta's live sets tend to divide fans, with some preferring the more focussed and polished nature of their albums, while others claim that they ARE a live band. Personally, I normally find myself somewhere in the middle, but Scabdates was exactly what I was looking for at a time when I was revisiting TMV. It completely delivers in terms of overall musicianship and the high energy that most TMV fans have come to expect. I've read about Scabdates being dismissed for several reasons, more often than not for being overindulgent - a criticism that's unfounded and slightly ironic. For me this is a fun record, that's it. The only detraction for me is the final track, which seems to break the momentum that the rest of the album built up magnificently. It's a pity that I tend to switch off by the time "Cicatriz Pt 4" rolls around, because the first 50 minutes absolutely fly by and definitely make the album more than worthwhile.
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on 8 November 2005
A live Mars Volta CD? I was a little apprehensive at first, however, this really manages to capture the essential features of a Mars Volta show. Assembled from archives between May 2004 and May 2005 and with a few studio additions, the 6 track (essentially 3 songs - Take The Veil Cerpin Taxt, Concertine and Cicatriz ESP), 72 minute epic is jaw-dropping.
The surreal soundscapes of each tracks introduction (Abasions Mount the Timani, Haruspex etc) work perfectly in aiding to the climatic effect of each song. Take The Veil is played with sheer precision with subtle additions that weren't there on the studio recording. The innovation and predominance of the keys (something which, for me, defined the sound of 'Deloused...') add to the near perfection of this album.
Concertina is has the greatest similarity to the studio version, albeit some jazz additions working in synch with Omar's guitar, which - given so much innovation on one record - adds a perfect amount familiarity of songs and equilibrium between the original recordings and innovation.
The band shine best on Cicatriz - a 12 minute studio track clocking in live at approximaely 45 minutes. The ear-shattering and dexterous guitar work blends in perfectly and compliments the sounds of the jazz, bass and percussion. It sounds so perfectly crafted and this is where you can see a band who are, let's admit it, are a little pompous but are truly passionate about what they do. The final section of Cicatriz is something which needs patience - as anyone knows, TMV don't offer 'easy listenings'. At 20 minutes, large sections of which leave you feeling a little dissatisfied, it certainly isn't something which can be lisened to in passing.
'Scabdates' was never going to have the spontaneity and surprise of a new studio album, but what it does offer is an accurate and honest representation of what TMV do best - live performances. A truly inspiring and innovative piece of work.
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on 6 November 2005
I got this in Ireland on the 3rd of Nov, and it is a great CD.
As most of you will know, The Mars Volta really shine when they play live, and are comparable to Led Zeppelin the way they take liberties wth track lengths - a 13 minute studio track can be played for over half an hour live. I have most of their bootleg live recordings and the sound quality on this album is much much better than anything you will download. Not to mention the quality of their live jamming.
If you own a studio album by them, you MUST buy this album to see how far they can push their live performances. It's like listening to rock-opera!
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on 30 July 2007
This album is a nightmare! At the same time though it is one the most individualistic, brilliant pieces of live recording you will ever hear. I bought this album before the tour and could not take to it at all. After watching the band play a 3 hour, no break, set in Birmingham things changed! The album is almost mesmerising in the correct atmosphere, however it can send even the most sane person over the edge. The experimentalist nature of guitarist Omar Rodriguez can be clearly experienced and it fully immerses the listener in the world of one of the craziest bands on the planet.
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on 10 November 2005
The album contains three stretched songs capturing the unique experience of The Mars Volta live performances. Their songs never sound the same! I haven't heard such a band since Led Zeppelin. The most of today's bands try to reproduce the studio versions of their songs as close as possible. This band does the opposite and the effect is stunning! And beware! This is not a fast food music! Linkin' Park fans keep away! And don't write reviews!
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on 10 November 2005
I am in love with this album, the format of three extended songs with instrumentals/random vocals in between is pure class! However, while this is an amazing album, and truely an great introduction to the TMV live experiance, I have one critisism. I feel that the 9-or-so minutes of track twelve taken up by random mixing of songs/talking/random sounds presumably all from the tours is a bit much. It is cool at first, but I can't help but think it just goes on way too long!
Apart from that though, a worthy purchase - but as the other bloke said it is really for current fans only; those new to The Mars Volta should definatly check out 'De-loused in the Commatorim' first, as I feel this is the better of the two albums, and the vast majority of the Scab Dates recordings are taken from song off that first album.
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on 29 October 2005
Didnt know what to expect from this album. On first impressions it doesnt dissapoint. Consisting of only three extended songs; take the veil, concertina and cicatriz, the volta have more than done the source material justice but the real meat in the album is the structured jams that dominate their live shows. Several points of the album made me stop what i was doing and really pay attention with riffs and certain sections on a par with much of the material on the 2 studio albums. It all flows along very nicely despite being a kind of 'collage' of the last 2 years of touring, with different shows pasted together. The playing is remarkable and much of this must be credited to the rhythm section of jon and juan. Ikey and omar also have their shining moments as does cedric although his vocals sometimes falls a little flat. That being one of my only problems with the album along with the sampling and sound manipulation, which ive never enjoyed by the volta, although it isnt as pervasive as it was on frances the mute. If your a mars volta fan this is essential. If your not, your better off starting with deloused in the comatorium. Theyre my favourite band i wasnt dissapointed and if your like me you wont be either
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on 10 June 2006
having heard the mars voltas first two albums and loving them intensly i leap at the chance to hear a live album by them. This desire to hear them live was particularly strong because of the fact i had missed them on a support tour with SOAD. Scab dates is a great album that seems to go beyond live and to a place even better. A must have for all fans.
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on 22 January 2016
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