The Mars Volta
Amputechture


5.0
classic

Review

by Sebastian Major USER (2 Reviews)
March 20th, 2007 | 26 replies | 4,377 views


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The mars Volta are back with another album full of craziness, albeit a different type of craziness. With two of the greatest rock albums ever produced under their collective belts, can we they top Frances the Mute, considered by many to be a classic?

From the ashes of the departed At the Drive-In, to some the seminal Post-Hardcore band. came Sparta and The Mars Volta. Where Sparta headed further down the road of critical acclaim coupled with mainstream acceptability, The Mars Volta took some of the Prog influences that were hidden in the seams of At the Drive-in’s last album “Relationship of Command” and pushed them to a new maximum. With their latest album “Amputecture,” The Mars Volta continue to push boundaries. But this is album is a very different beast from Deloused in the Comatorium and Frances the mute. Both those albums had a common theme, a story running through them, Amputecture contains no solid theme running throughout. This gives Cedric and Omar an even wider scope to play with, not limited to lyrics that would fit in with their cryptic story. Now they are free to rampage through the languages of Spanish and English like angry horseman, ravishing verbs, nouns and adverbs with gay abandon. “The kiosk in my temporal lobe is shaped like Rosalyn Carter?” Sure! “Fondling with pitchforks in a cattle prodded sea?” Why not? Erm... “En la lluvia me prometistes tu sangre?” I guess so. On first glance the new album seems to have gone overboard, cramming too many lyrical ideas into one album. Have The Mars Volta lucked out? Is the game up for Cedric and Omar?

In a word: no. Through all wailing, vocal gymnastics and synth dubbed vocals, you can barely make out what Cedric is singing allot of the time, but what you’re left with is picking out fractured sentences and little bits that you can pick up on. Unless you’re sitting with the lyrics in front of you, you’re not going to pick up on some of the more unusual sentences. Most of the time you will be sitting back in awe, listening to the frantic and frenetic guitar and bass work. From the opening sparks of “Vicarious Atonement,” to the dying chords of “El Ciervo Vulnerado,” the guitar work fizzles with pure energy, particularly on the standout track “Tetragrammaton.” Clocking in at just less than seventeen minutes, Tetagrammaton seems like half the album in one movement. But what a movement it is. Fizzling, jumping, crackly guitars sparking across the track, insane frantic, blasting percussion, (this time provided by Thomas Pridgen) and a fantastic three minute-odd breakdown with Cedric’s trademark vocals splashed across them, Tetragrammaton is a joy to listen to. All sixteen minutes and forty-one seconds of it.

There is one track however The Volta mellow out, for the first time ever on the album. Yes, “Asilos Magdalena” is acoustic, and yes, it does sound out of place when you first hear it, but then you realize it’s just another layer to this deep and complex album. Sung in entirely in Spanish, the track could easily be a traditional Spanish folk song, albeit minus the mind bending effects at the beginning and towards the end.
The tracks on this album seem to come in pairs. “Vicarious Atonement,” and “El Ciervo Vulnerado,” moody, quiet and atmospheric. “Tetragrammton” and “Day of the Baphomets” long, weird, and jazzy. The two radio friendly(ish) tracks on the album are “Vermicide,” and “Viscera Eyes.” Both contain deadly sharp guitar work, spliced with insanely high and piercing vocals and yet, “Viscera Eyes” contains the album’s most singable line, in the form of “Come on and give it to me, come on and die.” I expect commercial radio to be playing it soon. (I think not.)

Trying to review this album is a tough job, not half because it’s just so damn complicated and well structured that trying to pick holes in it seems just plain wrong. So I won’t even try. I never said this was going to be a balanced review, but I digress. The Mars Volta have pulled off a superb album here, better than anything they have done before, whilst being completely different at the same time. It’s still Volta, but it’s not the Volta we used to know; now it’s a Volta who understands the sound they are trying achieve in every track. The album just bursts with creativity and spark. They have found their sound in this album, a pure form of rock fusion, the jazzy notes more present then ever before. Amputechture may well serve the test of time as one of the best albums ever made.


user ratings (1904)
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3.6
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
IsItLuck?
Emeritus
March 20th 2007


4927 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

before I start reading this review, fix your grammar, since you spelled heights wrong in the summary.

iarescientists
March 20th 2007


5863 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

That was a terrific review, espically for a first.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
March 20th 2007


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

goooooooood review

The Door Mouse
March 20th 2007


2092 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Very good review.

711
March 20th 2007


1341 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Awsome first review.
I love this album, but it just cant compare to their other two. It just drags on a bit too long. Still great though, El Ciervo Vulnerado always creeps me out.

pizzapie88
March 20th 2007


30 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

“Come on and give it to me, come on and die.” is from Viscera Eyes, not Vermicide.

Two-Headed Boy
March 20th 2007


4527 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Great work budinsky. You're off to a supoib start.

This album's a'ight. A bit too theatric.

Intransit
March 20th 2007


2797 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Before I read this...

Those recomendations are soooooo off.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
March 20th 2007


16088 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1 | Sound Off

Coheed yes, the others not really. I suppose if you like System you can get into TMV easy.
Okay review, he doesnt scream on this record at all though?...

superfascist
March 20th 2007


118 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I agree with Iluvatar, I don't understand where you're hearing all this screaming from on this album.

I didn't really like this review too much. It seemed pretty incoherent at times.

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
March 20th 2007


4927 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

seriously superfascist..I thought I was the only one who was thinking that...

sgrevs
March 20th 2007


698 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I don't think its screaming so much as squealing on the album. Decent review though.

rockstar18
March 21st 2007


741 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great first review!

Stalusk
March 21st 2007


90 Comments


Decent review. These guys certainly push the envelope.

Doppelganger
March 21st 2007


3124 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This review is pretty great for a first, but merely decent otherwise. I like this album on an off. At times I really dig it, at others I merely look at the title of Meccamputechture and cry. Song's awful.

Syncratic
March 21st 2007


756 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The first sentence makes no sense at all.

slep
March 21st 2007


1604 Comments


I understand what he is trying to say, but it's just poorly worded. Aside from that good first review.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
March 21st 2007


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yes it does. He just missed a comma.

"From the ashes of the departed At the Drive-In, to some the seminal Post-Hardcore band, came Sparta and The Mars Volta.

CheckersOnMyShoesYo
March 21st 2007


215 Comments


This review makes very little sense to me, but perhaps its because i'm retarded and can't read English.

There is no screaming on this album. Just pure Cedric awesomeness.

Syncratic
March 21st 2007


756 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Oh, I get it now....that happens to me every so often when I read stuff.

Good review, though.



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