The Mars Volta
Octahedron


3.0
good

Review

by tollanddrummer USER (2 Reviews)
August 3rd, 2009 | 18 replies | 3,185 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: While I believe that change is good, The Mars Volta should just stick to what they do best.

1 of 1 thought this review was well written

Octahedron, the so called "acoustic album", really translates to a much more laid-back type of band. While the album isn't completely acoustic, it also isn't a sequel to De-Loused in the Comatorium. Instead, The Mars Volta have found a middle ground where there are both acoustic pieces and prog-epics.

Where Octahedron really differs from other Mars Volta albums is the lack of Adrián Terrazas-González. This comes as a disappointment, considering Terrazas-González gives The Mars Volta that unique jazz/latin sound that is found on Frances the Mute, Amputechture, and The Bedlam in Goliath. The lack of this important sound plays with the acoustic idea. Instead of the tenor sax or bass clarinet, you are treated to a synthesizer. Here's where it gets annoying. Although the synth has some important moments on the album, the majority of the time it is held down to create a constant organ-like sound, which serves as the interlude and outro to almost half the songs on the album. Although an interesting move on the bands part, the effect gets repetitive, and really does no justice at all.

As for the rest of the band, it's really more of the same. This isn't bad by any means; You still have Omar Rodriguez-Lopez's quirky and epic guitar riffs, Thomas Pridgen's brilliant technical drumming (which comes out as much more controlled than on Bedlam), Juan Alderete's masterful bass, and Isiah "Ikey" Owens...who, as usual, is barely heard through the course of the album. Cedric Bixler-Zavala is definitely worth mentioning here. It seems like he has made an improvement on every album, and, Octahedron is no step back. You can really tell his range is improving even more, and if there is one high praise I have for this album, it's the absolutely fantastic vocals delivered by Bixler-Zavala.

Looking at the tracklist, there really are two different types of songs on Octahedron. "Since We've Been Wrong", "With Twilight As My Guide" and "Copernicus" are the slower acoustic songs which calmly drone on in slight ascension. On the other side, "Cotopaxi" and "Luciforms" show the bands normal chaotic side. Ironically enough, those are probably the two most enjoyable songs on the album.

Here's the deal: I am not hating on the whole acoustic approach. I really don't mind "Since We've Been Wrong" and "With Twilight As My Guide"; however, when I am listening to The Mars Volta, I expect my head to explode at various moments during the albums play through. The overarching problem with Octahedron is that some parts are, well, boring. Yeah, as ridiculous as it sounds, I find a band that relies on strobe lights and feverish breakdowns boring. When you put an up-tempo song like "Cotopaxi" next to a dreary bore like "Copernicus", the difference is largely noticeable. On one hand, you have classic Mars Volta. Fast paced drums, soaring vocals, and superb guitar work. On the other hand, you have a 7 minute long acoustic guitar piece that climaxes during 10 seconds of last-minute tacked on electronic drums.

Octahedron is the answer to the much thought about question, whether or not The Mars Volta would be able to play a different style of music and still manage to create top quality music. The answer is, mostly no. Let me explain; While Octahedron isn't a bad album by any means, it does have long stretches of dull acoustic moments. In the end, instead of enjoying the album thoroughly, I found myself anticipating the climactic moments more than anything. Instead of taking the album for what it was, a stab at a different type of sound, I tried to make the older Mars Volta out of it. There are still some great moments to this album, and while there are some boring stretches, there are entertaining moments that certainly contradict lesser ones. In short, Octahedron serves as an album that will sit on your computer and will amass a handful of listens; However, when it comes down to it, it can't really compare to the band's previous works.


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Comments:Add a Comment 
Fapper
August 3rd 2009



649 Comments


Is the fifth time the charm?

PanasonicYouth
August 3rd 2009



7411 Comments


someone just hurry up and write a 1 review jeez

Fapper
August 3rd 2009



649 Comments


They might get banned from Sputnik

PuddlesPuddles
August 4th 2009



4763 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

^Coolest avatar I've ever seen

PanasonicYouth
August 4th 2009



7411 Comments


yeah, fapper, that's pretty effing awesome. haha.

willfellmarsy
August 4th 2009



3849 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

gay, good review...Copernicus is amazing tho so imma neg...

Fapper
August 4th 2009



649 Comments


He's very a legitimate companion.

Prophet178
August 4th 2009



6397 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

He's probably fapping right now that fapping fapper.

Fapper
August 4th 2009



649 Comments


But of course

ninjuice
August 4th 2009



6759 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Gay review is gay

Digging: Robin Skouteris - The King of ArtPOP

Gyromania
August 4th 2009



15165 Comments


Boring album

tollanddrummer
August 4th 2009



3 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

fappity fappity fap fap

shindip
August 4th 2009



3536 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

FAP FAP FAP

ScorpionStan
August 4th 2009



1807 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

would the Mars Volta be able to play a different style of music and still manage to create top quality music? The answer is, mostly no.


false.

Waior
August 4th 2009



11425 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Let the wheels burn, let the wheels burn...

ScorpionStan
August 4th 2009



1807 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

STACK THE TIRES TO THE NECK

WITH A BODY INSIIIIIIIIIIIDE


very likely the best moment on the album

Gyromania
August 4th 2009



15165 Comments


Since We've Been Wrong FTW!

willfellmarsy
August 4th 2009



3849 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

best moment on the album is being told cedric's the mast-yer, i will never lose...



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