The Mars Volta
Noctourniquet


4.0
excellent

Review

by Jacob Royal STAFF
May 2nd, 2012 | 45 replies | 3,823 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: And yes, Cedric actually sings about broken hearts.

Upon first glance, the 2012 Mars Volta release appears to be nothing new. Once again its name is the offspring of two already challenging English words (surprise!), not to even mention most of the tracks offered on the release bolster pretty showy titles. Upon a second glance, though, what replaces this initial concern is a more subtle sense of relief. After all, the album artwork soothes, and is no amalgamation of opposing images but instead a geometrically based cover. Since when has The Mars Volta, out of all god-almighty-pretentious art rock groups, been identifiable by their geometrically calculated album cover? While the quirkiness is still evident without even spinning the album, there’s an undeniable allure to the band tightening its sound, tautening a few of the slack screws it's infamous for leaving a bit looser than necessary.

And reflecting upon Noctourniquet makes one realize that Cedric, Omar and their musical minions have finally embraced maturity in about the most organic way possible. Octahedron was mature, absolutely, but the band often sounded bored with itself, as if the project was taken a little too seriously. The liveliest moments, such as “Cotopaxi”, came across as contrived and haphazardly placed on the album for the sake of sating the Frances nuts. And while its lulls were lovely, they meant less solely because there existed no counterpoint for them to build against. On Noctourniquet, however, we experience a multitude of musical hues, ranging from the splendor of ‘Empty Vessels’ to the vehemence of ‘Dyslexicon’ that’s reminiscent of only the best moments from the group’s last few efforts. It’s immediately evident how in control of itself the group is, especially in moments such as Rodriguez-Lopez’s gentle guitar strokes that help color ‘The Malkin Jewel’ into the ruby it was created to be. And only occasionally do they bite off more than they can chew instrumentally, which is a refreshing change. Inevitably, a few of the tracks flaunt unnecessarily complicated rhythms, and while it’s still frustrating to sit through it feels more significant than in the past. This is because of the emphasis on Cedric’s vocals that we witness on Noctourniquet. His croons and yelps are placed at the forefront, and the songs were written for this purpose rather than showcasing the riffs. It becomes more evident with each listen that this is how The Mars Volta thrives, and that perhaps the group’s music is meant to be as docile and domesticated as it appears on the group’s latest release.

The Mars Volta is known for stepping outside of the faux-prog-Baphometal genre rather frequently, and while Noctourniquet does get lost in itself rather often, what else did we expect? The high moments of this startlingly consistent release are monumental. There's ground tread on this release that's otherwise been dormant in the group for ages, and it mostly emerges from pure simplicity and straightforward elegance. They finally are starting to latch onto the idea that they don't need to wear their quirkiness on their sleeve to make a good song, and this realization will prove to be monumental in the forthcoming success of the Mars Volta. Because honestly, despite the already insane moments this band has had, the truth is that the most potent moments of the Mars Volta are only beginning to surface.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Omaha
Staff Reviewer
May 2nd 2012



9463 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9 | Sound Off

Meant to get to this forever ago...

...for Emma.

*facepalm*

Anyways. The best tracks here are Dyslexicon, Empty Vessels, Molochwalker, and Vedamalady.

Digging: Koan Sound - Dynasty

sehguh
May 2nd 2012



153 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

good review JACOB but I don't feel this TMV album. it's almost become a cliche to say, but they will
never beat Deloused/Frances imo.

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
May 2nd 2012



4334 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review Omaha. I honestly hated this album at first because i was hoping they would return to the lengthy Prog-Rock style, but I've been enjoying it more and more with each listen.
anyway, have a POS.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
May 2nd 2012



9463 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9 | Sound Off

Thank you REECE!

And I dug Frances, but De-Loused was meh. I definitely like the energy of Frances, but I love TMV most when they develop kind of a blueprint before they start writing their music haha. Otherwise they stick with the same ideas too long (why hello, Cassanra Gemini!)

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
May 2nd 2012



9463 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9 | Sound Off

And thanks Paperback! :] Yeah, it's definitely a grower. At first I was cautious but now I can't believe how much it's grown on me.

I feel like In Absentia, Noctourniquet and Zed are holding back my rating.

KeithStone582
May 2nd 2012



1480 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review. Still adjusting to the album, but most of the songs are pretty great.

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
May 2nd 2012



4334 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

You dont like Zed? That is one of my favorites. "Trinkets" i would say was my biggest disappointment, mainly because i was hoping it would sound like the live versions.

KeithStone582
May 2nd 2012



1480 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Zed is the closest they have come to coming back to Deloused in a long time.

carouse
May 2nd 2012



293 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

There's a few interesting tracks on here but most of it just feels like uninspired drivel. Nice review, though.

ThunderNeutral21
May 2nd 2012



3864 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

what do u mean by uninspired explain please

carouse
May 2nd 2012



293 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I've already posted a review. Feel free to read that if you'd like further explanation rather than me re-typing it here.

ThunderNeutral21
May 2nd 2012



3864 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

kk

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
May 2nd 2012



9463 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9 | Sound Off

"Zed is the closest they have come to coming back to Deloused in a long time."

Which is why it's one of my least favorites, tbh. The verses are so nice, but I just don't care for the Saint Christopher part
at all.

And thank you so much, guys ^_^

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
May 2nd 2012



9463 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9 | Sound Off

This guy knows where it's at.

KeithStone582
May 2nd 2012



1480 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

FRANCES THE MUTE.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
May 2nd 2012



9463 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9 | Sound Off

FRANCES IS ABOUT A 4 I'D SAY

ThunderNeutral21
May 2nd 2012



3864 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

francs is better

KeithStone582
May 2nd 2012



1480 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"FRANCES IS ABOUT A 4 I'D SAY"

If you insist.

ThunderNeutral21
May 2nd 2012



3864 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

faux-prog-Baphometal genre

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
May 2nd 2012



9463 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9 | Sound Off

I don't insist at all, my friend. Many say my taste towards the Mars Volta is strange, just because I have Octahedron close to the top.



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