Review Summary: ....
"Octahedron" was the album that really moved "The Mars Volta" into a different sound, its a lot simpler, radio-friendly and divided the fan base. You either loved it or hated it.
If you did not like the easier listening "Octahedron" had to offer, the chances are you will not be won over here either. To put it in simple terms this album is the "Frances the Mute" of the new sound. What I mean by that is the last album saw them stripping the sound right down and creating a new thing that is easy to get your head round. "Noctourniquet" takes the "Octahedron" sound, but makes it a little harder to get into. There is a bit more to dig your ears into.
When I first listened to this album I was slightly more impressed with this over their last effort. New drummer, Deantoni Parks, adds new dimensions to the bands sound. To be frank the drumming is absolutely insane.
I was a little worried when Thomas Pridgen left, because I loved his balls-out style, which made the band sound very energetic. But Deantoni does a great job on this record.
The sound this time out is a lot more chilled, it's a turn the lights off, put your headphones on and relax kind of record. "Empty Vessels Makes The Loudest Sounds" in particular is such a great song and leaves you feeling very upbeat. And there are several other songs that have the same effect.
There are hardly any fast songs or songs that kick in right away, "Dyslexicon", "Malkin Jewel" and "Malochwalker" are the only tracks that really go right in. For the most part it's slow and steady build-ups.
But that is what this album does best. You will come across songs were not a lot seems to happen, but then when the song does kick in it's mind-blowingly effective. "In Absentia" - My favourite song on this album - is a perfect example: a very slow distorted seven and a half minute track that leaves you hanging on right till the last two and a half-minutes where everything kicks and Cedric has his vocals clean. It's done in such an effective way that it blew me away.
I am a long time fan of the Volta and while the last album did not really do a lot for me, this new album is an interesting twist on what they created from Octahedron. In my opinion, when a band has been around as long as these guys, you kinda have to change your sound a bit to keep things interesting. And they've certainly done that with this.