The Mars Volta
De-Loused in the Comatorium


5.0
classic

Review

by Simon STAFF
March 2nd, 2017 | 39 replies


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A shelve of pig smotherd cries.

Back in 2001, it came as a massive surprise when the members of At The Drive-In pulled the plug on the band, just as they were at the peak of their fame and causing even bigger waves, caused by their exceptional third record, Relationship of Command. It was something no one expected, but inside the group relationships were waning, as well as cliché problems, such as drugs, being another factor of the break-up. However, an even bigger surprise came from the rebound Cedric and Omar made with their next project: The Mars Volta; a progressive rock band, that melded spacey jams, intricate riffs and fantastic vocal work -- supported by a flawless, airtight rhythm section. Though I would debate on De-Loused in the Comatorium being their finest hour, many will agree it is their finest work, and there are so many reasons why.

At this stage in the band’s career, Juan had not yet joined the band as their official bass player, hiring Red Hot Chili Peppers Flea to hold down the low-end of the album. This pits Flea and one, Jon Theodor, in delivering the groove; a rhythm section at a Richter Scale of 11. For those that don’t know Jon Theodor, he is a phenomenal drummer who is better known these days for playing in Queens of the Stone Age, and one that, coupled with Flea, creates a duo at the same calibre of Bonham and Jones. Retrospectively Theodor’s departure after Frances the Mute was the coffin nail in the band in terms of groove; the band limped on for the rest of their career hiring very different drummers, which sometimes worked for them, other times it didn’t quite stick. From start to finish, every single aspect of the rhythm section on De-Loused in the Comatorium is excellent: “Roulette Dares”, “Eria Tarka” and “Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt” are real stand-out moments where Flea and Jon gel perfectly, but taking the highlights out of the equation, even the low moments are exceptionally high. It isn’t even about musical ability -- which is in abundance -- it’s more their balance of skill flexing and mood making, as a lot of the tracks here have moments for respite; creating a certain mood before shifting into a high-octane finisher.

Another rather appealing quality about this album is its awareness for being concise. The music, while some tracks are lengthy, don’t overstay their welcome, and have a point to the mood-building they set. Omar’s effects lathed guitar passages are captivating, impressive and most importantly: catchy. The squeals at the interlude section of “Intertiatic E.S.P”, shifting into tremolo picking and then finally hitting those last couple of staccato notes before going back into one of the most accessible Volta choruses you’ll hear from their career, is something that stays with you. There are so many great moments that come from Omar, but the likes of “Roulette Dares” and “Drunkship of Lanterns” showcase a guitarist at his absolute best; managing to be both interesting and accessible for long periods of time, which, as the band will find out in later days, isn’t easy to maintain. Equally, Cedric is also in his absolute prime on here; while his lyrics have an intricacy to them, they don’t feel as overly pompous as they do on latter day records, telling his tales in an unusually clear way by Cedric's standards. But it’s the vocal melodies that have the home run on here: irresistibly catchy, poppy, and impressive. Once again, the track “Roulette Dares”, when it hits the vocal highs at its end section of the song, creates goosebumps; “Cicatriz E.S.P” holds a melancholy that will want you to sit through it until the end; and “Intertiatic E.S.P” shows an energetic At The Drive-In tinge to his singing.

If you’ve never listened to the band before, there really is no better place to start than here. De-Loused in the Comatorium operates on nothing but lean tissue, and even though songs like the 12 minute epic “Cicatriz E.S.P”appear daunting, they whiz past you before you even realise they’ve finished. Though Octahedron takes the title for being the band's most accessible album, this one makes a run for its money, with unfathomable amounts of excitment attached.

Classic.

EDITIONS: CD/V̶I̶N̶Y̶L̶/M̶P̶3̶

PACKAGING: Standard jewel case.

SPECIAL EDITION: N/A



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Comments:Add a Comment 
DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
March 2nd 2017


15511 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I've been hammering the Volta's discog the last couple of weeks, and I'm actually preferring this to Frances these days. Such a great record.



As always, constructive criticsm welcome.

Digging: Slipknot - We Are Not Your Kind

Gyromania
March 2nd 2017


28184 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

horribly overrated album. personally think frances and bedlam destroy this.



great review though

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
March 2nd 2017


15511 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Cheers man. Love Frances, bedlam is their worst imo though

onionbubs
March 2nd 2017


11700 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

wish i could get into this. or anything project of theirs besides frances tbh including at the drive in

Digging: Ghost Atlas - All Is In Sync, and There's Nothing Left to Sing

FullOfSounds
March 2nd 2017


15772 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I need to try this album again

Demon of the Fall
March 2nd 2017


11908 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is superb, Frances very good (although they could've cut it down a little) & Bedlam was a fun listen.



I can't stomach their other releases apart from the odd decent track.

Digging: Fever Ray - Live At Troxy

Demon of the Fall
March 2nd 2017


11908 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

For fun, Omar & Cedric top 5...



This

Relationship of Command

In/Casino/Out

Frances

Bedlam

Ryus
March 2nd 2017


17775 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

"I need to try this album again"



the more i tried this, the more i despised it

FullOfSounds
March 2nd 2017


15772 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

yeah it's always been pretty meh to me

FullOfSounds
March 2nd 2017


15772 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

the first song rules tho, can't say the same for the rest as it's just tiresome

Shadowmire
March 2nd 2017


5118 Comments


it's brilliant

LepreCon
March 2nd 2017


5459 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The only good album they ever made.



Fight me, fckerz

LambsBreadCrumbs
March 2nd 2017


26 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

One of the few albums that actually deserves a 5. This album has such incredible soundscapes that I'm just now really starting to appreciate. Like the one at the end of drunkship of lanterns for example. I heard jermey ward was responsible for a lot of the soundscapes and weird effects in this album. Perhaps that's why they couldn't touch this album again?

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
March 2nd 2017


15511 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Amputecture >>>>> everything else tbh. But the first three are all near perfect imo.

LambsBreadCrumbs
March 2nd 2017


26 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Tetragrammaton and day of the baphomets are some of their best songs.

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
March 2nd 2017


15511 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Can't argue with that! That kick in to Baphomets is unreal.

Rigma
March 2nd 2017


852 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"The only good album they ever made.



Fight me, fckerz"



frances and bedlam exist

schoonda
March 2nd 2017


1711 Comments


love at the drive in but I really couldn't get into this, probably need to give it another shot at some point.

pjorn
March 2nd 2017


4403 Comments


The only good album they ever made. [2]

StickFeit
March 2nd 2017


1022 Comments


This slays for days.
But At The Drive-In has more replay value imo.



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