The Mars Volta
Noctourniquet


4.0
excellent

Review

by ThyCrossAwaits USER (46 Reviews)
March 21st, 2012 | 18 replies | 3,855 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The REAL reason there's no ATDI album.

6 of 8 thought this review was well written

Omar and Cedric have built up quite a rapport for themselves. Simultaneously spearheading not one but two bands that prog rock fanatics instantly go phallic for is not an easy tier to ascend to. That being said, with workload and high bars to live up to (classic dyad Frances the Mute and De-Loused In the Comatorium), there are bound to be pitfalls that The Mars Volta are guilty of slipping into occasionally, as with 2008’s Octahedron which came plummeting to earth with a resounding “Meh”. However, the group hasn’t run out of mutant-pun album titles, and with Noctourniquet craft something bizarrely unexpected and distinctly Mars Volta.

Early works of the El Paso outfit were speckled with Latin influence, but no more of the days of Spaniard spazz-jazz timbre. The band have tripped into some pocket dimension of dreamy-cum-trippy hypno-art rock full of Twilight Zone pinball spacey-synths. Imagine being in a dim, neon-lit 80s arcade after a quick hit of ecstasy. The subtle electronic marinade is boosted by a majority of the tracks opening with odd 5-10 second blips of synth-sound effects: an amalgam of 1990s landline ringtones, metallic grinding, crevasse-rumbles, lasers, and things that sound oddly like remixes of Pac-Man and the intro to “Baba O’Riley”. Bubbling beep whiplashes plague “Imago”, which buried beneath the electric façade is a folksy ballad with a lofty chorus.

Despite the gentle sentiment of “Imago”, all those fools blathering about how The Mars Volta are “prog metal” can feel some sort of moronic satisfaction in opener ‘The Whip Hand’s industro-electrocution buzz-riffs under Cedric’s falsetto-bawls of “That’s when I disconnect from you!”. Also in the doomy cavernous entrance of ‘In Absentia’, which is eventually broken by Cedric’s wobblified vocals and the track becomes an overly-layered swirling mindfuck, complete with a rubbing bassline and belltone synths that morph and bleed until almost indistinguishable from a cathedral choir. It’s rather a cascading mess. Experimentation is better gently placed in the vocals, as Cedric twists his already distinctive voice into lightly-tweaked branches, higher whining wails and throaty Mike Patton whispers, as well as Lennon-nasally on “The Malkin Jewel”, a track which can be best described as Mars Volta gone Sgt. Pepper’s with “I Want You” bluesiness, going acid-carny with Omar playing eerie ringleader tripping balls.

Nay, have no fear. The Volta are still quite spunky-punky. Every Mars Volta album has that quintessential lyric every fan will be screaming in capslock on their Tumblr for weeks after the leak to DepositFiles. Most will latch onto the immediate answer “I’M A LANDMINE” from ‘The Whip Hand’, but the best the Volta made you wait for, the punchline in album closer ‘Zed and Two Naughts’ -- “SAINT CHRISTOPHER”. Track nueve “Molochwalker” starts as the humming waka-waka syncopation of old, before evolving into 90s alt rock with a riff that seems almost Orientally pentatonic.

Noctourniquet lacks that certain full punch of jazzy wank from the Frances days, or the speedy wheedly-deedling of De-Loused. It’s The Mars Volta tweak-twerking and bleep-blooping and generally giving the fuzzy-buzzy finger to the formulaic. Rather than nesting in their comfortable and popularly familiar sound, they synth it out and add a Speak & Spell or two. It’s pretty different, verging on self-indulgent...and it’s damn catchy, señor.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
ThyCrossAwaits
March 21st 2012



3039 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Man I had this just sitting, waiting for the release date and a contrib beat me to the punch. Merde.

taxidermist
March 21st 2012



7195 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

And it’s damn catchy, senor.

*señor :p

both Omar (Rodriguez-Lopez) and Cedric (Bixler-Zavala) are of Hispanic ethnicity. Thus early Mars Volta works were quite obviously Latin influenced

That hurts man, that hurts...jk lol.


figure337
March 21st 2012



420 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Feels a bit awkward to read and this does come off a bit fanboyish. Not bad though.

ThyCrossAwaits
March 21st 2012



3039 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

*señor :p

Yeah I know...but it just causes a syntax blip if I put it in the review.

EDIT: Nevermind, I lied.

Detritivore
March 21st 2012



267 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

Overestimated at maximum

Xenophanes
Emeritus
March 21st 2012



10584 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Overall a pretty good review, but...

" both Omar (Rodriguez-Lopez) and Cedric (Bixler-Zavala) are of Hispanic ethnicity. Thus early Mars Volta works were quite obviously Latin influenced"

...this is kind of retarded.

Digging: United Nations - The Next Four Years

ThyCrossAwaits
March 21st 2012



3039 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Needed a quick revamping, shouldn't have edited at 4 a.m.

Hopefully better.

Yazz_Flute
March 21st 2012



18764 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah it was a marginally sloppy but some of your descriptions are absolutely golden.

Digging: Cormorant - Dwellings

ThroneOfAgony
March 21st 2012



3485 Comments


Frances the Mute will always be their best

NeutralThunder12
March 21st 2012



8742 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

octa came out in 09

but u got the meh part right

willfellmarsy
March 22nd 2012



3849 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I haven't pos'd a review in literal years, but I pos'd this one...I love the mars volta too homey...

ThyCrossAwaits
March 22nd 2012



3039 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Word bro.

nikotine9
March 22nd 2012



33 Comments


did bill cosby review this?

ThyCrossAwaits
March 22nd 2012



3039 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The Mars Bars Vocation shplibbity boo-bah

Taxt
March 23rd 2012



607 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm sorry, but I have to:
http://marscosby.ytmnd.com/

LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO SPUTNIK, ARE YOU HAPPY NOW

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
March 23rd 2012



9960 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9 | Sound Off

"Most will latch onto the immediate answer “I’M A LANDMINE” from ‘The Whip Hand’, but the best the Volta made you wait for, the punchline in album closer ‘Zed and Two Naughts’ -- “SAINT CHRISTOPHER”. "

Noooooo that line is so much worse than I'M A LANDMINE :[

Digging: Deniro Farrar - Rebirth

ThyCrossAwaits
March 23rd 2012



3039 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Zed and Two Naughts" is the best song though. Then "Whip Hand", then "Empty Vessels" then "Malkin".

iRox
July 22nd 2012



11 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review, I really enjoyed this album. I'd say it's better than their last two releases.



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