Every band these days seems to have what I call the "we can't be arsed with this *** anymore" period, which I think was certaintly the case of Amputechture (don't maul me Amputechture fans...). With the Mars Volta never really showing what direction they're intending to go next, it's been hard to work out what to expect here or even more worryingly, hard to work out what you're actually listening to. Okay, without a doubt I was hoping for a more Comatorium style album, where there are actual songs rather than just 15 minutes of noise strung together and called a "song".
I downloaded the leak (don't worry, Omar says it's okay =P) ages a go and I have listened to this album for quite a while now and I think it takes a while to know exactly what you are listening to (it was hard for me to musically digest), but I have to say this album is somewhat a triumph. Although this may not have been the album I was expecting, with it being more towards a mixture of Omar's latest solo album being produced on Amputechture, which is exactly the case on the song 'Goliath'. Although this album undoubtedly pulls new inspiration, as much of it was inspired by Omar's trip to Israel and him returning a Ouiji board to Cedric which they took quite seriously and took loads of inspiration from for this new album, possibly more than just lyrically too.
Here are my album highlights:
Aberinkula/Metatron - With a somewhat explosive opening with pounding drums and instant vocals we begin to sink into Aberinkula, which begins so set the tone as Cedric's vocals now appear to be strongly manipulated and higher than ever before, Aberinkula I find as a very defining opening song, with the last two and a half minutes of the song breaking into a little free-form session which The Mars Volta would undoubtedly improvise with during a live show.
Metatron is something I consider as a second part to the song, with somewhat loud guitar active verses, unlike the quiet basic verses in Aberinkula, which I think is almost a 'supporting' song to Aberinkula.
Ilyena/Wax Simulcra/Goliath/Torniquet Man - Ilyena is probably my favourite track off of the whole record, with its somewhat almost funky and unique verses before reaching its guitar and drum driven chorus, this track's outro is pretty broken from the rest of the song and most people would assume it's another song.
Wax Simulcra was the choice for the first single, which I think was a bad choice as it's probably one of the worse songs off of the album in my fair opinion, which is probably what confused myself on what to expect on this album, it's short and somewhat unsatisfying.
Goliath. Goliath. Goliath the Soothsayer as The Volta would put it. Many of you may recognise this song, that's probably because it's just Rapid Fire Tollbooth from Omar's solo album but made faster and with extra effects, but the booming the chorus and verse melody make this a truely blooming song that I think would have worked best as their firsts single from the album, Omar's guitar work is truely well on par here. I felt that the outro "Never hard a man speak like this man before..." was well and truely just a rush ending to what was an awesome song, but despite that, still not bad overall.
Torniquet Man I felt is the true ending to Goliath with the calm being over lapped with Cedric's powerful voice singing "Let me a Torniquet Man" was somewhat a highlight of the album for me.
Soothsayer - with the interesting orchesteral opening it was a bit hard to come to terms as to what this song would be, but when the guitar kicks in, you realise this is classic Volta, with Cedric's voice opening it up with effects on it leading to the slow paced 'zoned-out' chorus. With it's epic 9 minutes time length and opening/ending orechesteral segments, I felt this would have fared better as the album's final track.
- It's new, fresh and inspired.
- A return to form in my opinion.
- Musically deep.
- Risk taking with care about the album than rather about how to play it live.
- Possibly too weird for some.
- The free-form sections of the music may not appeal to all.
- Many may feel it is too like Amputechture.
- Needs more down tuning, death metal vocals and headbanging =P