The Mars Volta
De-Loused in the Comatorium


4.0
excellent

Review

by DesolationRow USER (80 Reviews)
October 20th, 2005 | 17 replies


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist


The Mars Volta- De-loused in the Comatorium

When someone that suffers from epilepsy succumbs to a physical seizure, it is a rather unsettling sight to bear. The tremor subdues the person into violent gestures, and muscle coordination is completely lost. As disturbing as it may sound, epilepsy is untamable. The sonic equivalent to that of an epileptic convulsion would lay in the hands of psychedelic prog rockers, The Mars Volta. Having their music shift from down tempo, Latin grooves to jack hammering guitar solos is almost excruciating, let alone the change happening within five seconds. If there is only one word that would describe the Mars Volta's music, it would be only 'uncompromising'. Guitarist, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez settles for nothing in doing exactly what he hears inside his head, whether it be samba, classical arrangements, or tremblingly fast guitar solos. It is a little hard to believe, especially when you see only one name listed as the songwriter- Omar a Rodriguez Lopez. But the band is not simply one man. Between the funky basslines of Flea, and the guest guitar soloing of John Frusciante (both of the alternative powerhouse Red Hot Chili Peppers), Ikey Owens' jazzy keyboards, Jon Theodore's creative rhythmic manipulation, and Cedric Bixler- Zavala's high anxiety, shrieking voice make you feel as if you , yourself are in the middle of an epileptic fit.

It is almost completely inane to say that their debut album, "De-loused in the Comatorium" fits that bill almost perfectly. Contrasting from its counterpart, "Frances the Mute", "Deloused" is less ambient, with the exception of the random 12 minute opera, "Cicatriz Esp." And rather than a bi-polar freakout, like "Frances" which was either smolderingly fast, or too slow, "De-loused" spices up the tempos with much more than speed or miserably sluggish paces. And "De-loused" is a much easier listen, due to the fact that every song is separate. No broken up tracks or confusing sections to worry about here, just lengthy songs.

Musically, De-loused is just a rockier sound than what was on "Frances". However, in some aspects, this far surpasses FTM, while in others, sounds restrained. There are some mere ambient tracks that serve as introductions to far better suites. "Son Et Lumiere" and "Tira Me a las Aranas" epitomize that statement, being nothing more than random sounds for what may seem like three minutes, but only last a small ninety seconds. Contradicting the shorter songs, like "Inertiatic Esp." whose polyrhythmic sequencing is killer, and "This Apparatus Must Be Unearthed" which frantically speeds up the pace with a mind boggling tempo, is a suite which measures up to just over twelve and a half minutes, "Cicatriz Esp" is an ambient rock opera that combines so many different parts and changes in tempo, you'll forget that you are listening to one song. With John Frusciante on guitar, you can tell the two guitarists apart, stylistically and tonally. What ruins such a good song for me is the elongated ambient section, which covers almost 1/3 of the song. The ambience in "De-loused" is a bit more annoying compared to the ambient tracking on "Frances". On FTM, the ambience was enjoyable from time to time, but four minutes of random notes on a keyboard at a strenuously slow tempo is too much.

Apart from annoyingly overdubbed ambient tracking, there isn't much that I dislike about the album. From the syncopated polyrhythmic trade offs between Flea and Jon on "Eriatarka" to the guitar soloing rapidly on the same song. "Roulette Dares" is along the same guidelines as "Eriatarka", mixing in polyrhythms with Cedric's signature throaty voice. Every song sounds unique, but there is no denying that some borrow heavily from others. Alternatively, there are a handful of tracks that remain unlike anything the Mars Volta have ever written. "Televators" sounds like a hybrid between a folkish prog song and Red Hot Chili Peppers' "I Could Have Lied" and is probably the climax of the album. "Drunkship of Lanterns" brings the Latin percussion and the dirty vibe into play, and is another highlight. Of course every song has Omar's frantic guitar soloing wildly, but his tone can get very thin, and almost crunchy. Every player is on top form from start to finish, with a tight rhythm section pounding away at staccato blows, or Cedric's anxious voice, or spicy keyboard grooves, everyone makes their instrument all their own. On that note, there is one song in particular that makes this album entirely worthwhile. If there is one song that knows how to groove on this album, it's the finale, "Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt". This is definitely my favorite on the album, and for good reason. While the others just rock hard, this rocks hard, AND grooves. With the boomy bassline, and Jon Theodore's fancy offbeat drum work, Cedric's menacing vocals soar above one of the greatest songs ever. The bass is much more upfront in this song, and the polyrhythms are stunning. Omar endows a gut wrenching solo at a breakneck speed, and the song just rocks.

Whether or not you have heard the acclaimed "Frances the Mute" or not is entirely irrelevant to the quality of "Deloused". While Frances is more popular and intense, "Deloused" is creative and differentiated. Between every member of the band, and the elusive songwriting qualities found on this raw album, The Mars Volta outdid themselves with a spectacular debut album, and continued that blazing path for the next years to come. Which album wins the battle is the only question which intrigues me. Combining all the aspects of prog, good and bad, with a modern psycedelic hard rock vibe, the Mars Volta prove to be one of the most perplexing, yet inventive bands of the new decade. And they deserve it, too.



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user ratings (4493)
Chart.
4.4
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Comments:Add a Comment 
masada
October 20th 2005


2733 Comments


Nice.

pulseczar
October 20th 2005


2385 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

good review, i like this more than FTM



one thing though, why do you put the title of the album at the top of your review when it's in big ass letters a teeny bit above?

DesolationRow
October 20th 2005


833 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Galapogos, it's just instinctive for me, i guess. I do it on every review. :p





Killtacular
October 20th 2005


1314 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is good, but not quite a four. I really don't like Cicatriz very much. Eriatarka owns, as does Take the Veil and the wonderful Televators. Then there's Roulette Dares, which is so so. It's a very hit-miss album.



Frances also owns it.

Where are the guest solos from John? Sure you didn't mix it with Frances? And you mentioned Flea in the intro 'graph like he was a member of the band. That's sort of.. something you should reword.

Oh yeah, great review. Thumb for you.

:thumb:This Message Edited On 10.20.05

Storm In A Teacup
October 20th 2005


24068 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Wonderfull review as always Twist.

Kid A
October 20th 2005


261 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Your review kicked my ass

marsvolta
October 20th 2005


64 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I actually like this better than Frances. Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt is one of the best songs in rock in the past couple years, hands down.

DesolationRow
October 20th 2005


833 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Scruples: John plays guitar on Cicatriz Esp., not just soloing.



And Flea was a member at this point in the band as the bassist.





Killtacular
October 20th 2005


1314 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I was unaware of John's presence. Flea was a session musician.



I bought this offa eBay, but it didn't come with the case/notes.



Jawaharal
October 20th 2005


1832 Comments


Entwistle makes my reviews look like poop on stick. :upset:

pulseczar
October 20th 2005


2385 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

first my reviews make yours look like regurgitated jello, now this? come on cheeto you're better than that. You even have a higher ranking than me.

DesolationRow
October 20th 2005


833 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Don't fret, Cheeto, it's not smelly poop.



Scruples: Someone who's as super hero cool as you should know that CD's without liners are BAD.

Killtacular
October 20th 2005


1314 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I do know that, but I didn't realize it was sans case and notes until after I got it. Made me sad.



Damrod
Moderator
November 9th 2005


1093 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Great review :thumb:



I started listening to this album again a couple of days ago, I quite forgot how good it is. I must say though, as it was stated already, it's somewhat of a hit and miss record. I really like some of the songs (opener duo "Son et Lumiere"/"Inertiatic Esp" for example), but others are good, but not excellent.



So, 3.5/5 from me

AtTheDriveIn198d
November 9th 2005


158 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i persoanlly thought most of the album was a hit, unlike frances the mure but thats a whole other album.

Mr0
August 17th 2008


24 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Personally I thought the entire album was, at worst, listenable. Nice twist you put on there at the beginning, with the whole 'audio seizure' thing. It might just be one of the most insulting things I've read about the Mars Volta.

Eclectic
February 13th 2010


3302 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I fucking love "Drunkship of Lanterns", and the rest of the album is just as good.



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