The Mars Volta
Amputechture


1.5
very poor

Review

by UncalledFor USER (5 Reviews)
September 30th, 2007 | 55 replies


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "What's new?"

"What's new?"

A question I might have liked an answer to before ascending into a series of highly improvisational rock suites by cult heroes The Mars Volta. "Not much" would have to be an understatement of the severe shape they are in here. Where is this "progressiveness" I keep hearing so much about? How is 17 minutes of scales that don't actually go together (Tetragrammaton) going to amount to any progression in the world we call music? That's merely a gimmick. Béla Bartók was miles ahead of that nearly a century ago.
In order to be progressive, you've got to know what you're up against. Zappa & Mothers, Voivod, Mr. Bungle, The Beatles, The Jesus lizard, Radiohead, Led Zeppellin and Meshuggah are just a few of many bands that pushed boundaries in rock/funk/metal, and in comparison, Mars Volta's experiments are kept cautiously close to familiar grounds far too often. Most of their fabled jams are in a comfortable 4/4 or 6/8 and based off a perfectly tonal chord sequence. It doesn't take musicians of this caliber to hit dissonant notes at a steady rate in such an environment. The result is vanity, musicians showing off the cool stuff they can do, without connecting anything to anything.

Particularly embarrassing is El ciervo vulnerado, 9 minutes of NOTHING. Melody? Riffage? Some chords perhaps? Nope, none are present, just dicking around with synths and tepid guitar licks to create some sort of soundscape. Background music. I guess I should follow the vocals then - that Cedric sounds pretty serious and passionate about his stuff.
Quote:
Originally Posted by El ciervo vulnerado
if you consume me i will not let you go
if you walk right through me
my voice will taint your throat
blessed be the wrong i've done
Who the heck buys that? I'm not going to look for any hidden meaning in what is obviously a load of crap. If you're going to just randomly throw lyrics together, at least have the dignity to apply a sense of humour into the performance. But Cedric so firmly believes in his crusade against using "humans as ornaments" (Meccamputechture), it's gullible - not a good kind of funny to be.

I'll freely admit that there is one jam they didn't wank to shreds, which is Day of the Baphomets. I like how it goes from Dave Brubeckiness to a total rockfest that really packs a punch. That stuff is excellent, yeah, THAT stuff is! Why is this kind of intensity so damn rare here? Do they have their heads too far up their bums to say "fellows, that jam session kinda blew" every once in a while?

Some rays of hope are Vermicide a decent ballad with a pretty convincingly psycho interlude, and anthemic outro - all this in a modest 4m 15s, and Asilos Magdalena which features some beautiful flamenco ditties, and an actually nuancated performance from Cedric. Of course some ambienty synth strings had to be added in case someone hadn't noticed it was supposed to be the "sad song" of the album. Viscera eyes literally taunts me - so at least mr. Omar didn't actually LOSE his talent of writing an excellent guitar-drum duet with intelligent and catchy hooks (see Eriatarka off De-Loused in the comatorium for a very fine example). There are some gorgeous riffs and leads on this track, the vocal lines are as dramatically Carmina Burana-like as ever though. FINALLY some enticing drums! Then Omar going Satriani for three boring minutes, and it builds up to an awkward implosion.

A 1.5/5 for this album is pretty fair, considering over 90% of it is a poor excuse for prog rock, and of the 10% more or less memorable bits of music, 8% gets overshadowed by that 90%, which leaves 2% of good music, amounting to a 0.4/5. I rounded up. If you are reading this, Omar: smoke some of the stuff that makes your buddy write about girls with guts for eyes, and put that kind of silly whackiness into the friggin' music!


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Comments:Add a Comment 
mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
September 30th 2007


17944 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Meccamputechture, Day of the Baphomets, Vermicide are awesome but rest are pretty ugh.This Message Edited On 09.30.07

Yyy
September 30th 2007


289 Comments


Most of their fabled jams are in a comfortable 4/4 or 6/8 and based off a perfectly tonal chord sequence.
What fags!

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
September 30th 2007


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1 | Sound Off

NIGGERFAGGOTEXPLOSIONOFCUMALLOVERYOURFACEBITCHASSPIECEOFSHITMOTHERDIEOFCANCER This Message Edited On 09.30.07

Thor
September 30th 2007


10202 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You can't say the n-word.

UncalledFor
September 30th 2007


100 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Silly me, I overcalculated.

Intransit
September 30th 2007


2797 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Are you gay?

Acre
September 30th 2007


847 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

Way to tell it like it is, homes.

Though I have started to appreciate some of the songs here in a new light (Viscera Eyes is one of my new favorites), songs like El Ciervo Vulnerado and Meccamputechture's last half are just unexcusable.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
September 30th 2007


17944 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Meccamputechture rules guys.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
September 30th 2007


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1 | Sound Off

It rules for 6-7 minutes,

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
September 30th 2007


17944 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

stfu

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
September 30th 2007


4927 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

2nd'ed

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
September 30th 2007


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1 | Sound Off

I refer both of you to my first post.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
September 30th 2007


17944 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I refer you to my grundle.

Intransit
September 30th 2007


2797 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

lol grundle

DerMond
September 30th 2007


126 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

this review delivers.

cometuesday
October 1st 2007


959 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm not going to look for any hidden meaning in what is obviously a load of crap.

I'd nix this if you haven't already read up on the album's concept.
Placing my personal opinion aside, the structure of the review is a little awkward and a lot of times it seems like you're just bashing the album for the sake of doing so.
I'm not going to argue with you for rating it as a 1.5, but if you're going to rate it that low you really have to defend your opinion a little better. Maybe work on your paragraphs and spread some content, maybe throw in a better conclusion and I will still disagree with you but I will respect the review. :P

AtavanHalen
October 1st 2007


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Your username fits this review perfectly.

Skyler
October 1st 2007


1084 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This album is good for a few minutes here and there.

any14doomsday
October 1st 2007


679 Comments


your rating is a little low, but I agree with you 100%, only I feel that way about everything they have done.

This band is just noisy technical playing, all for the sake of noisy technical playing.

Confessed2005
October 1st 2007


3314 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This was a disappointing release but it does redeem itself on a couple of tracks, particularly Day of the Baphomets.



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