The Mars Volta



by Hansel USER (4 Reviews)
October 1st, 2006 | 0 replies

Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

After recording in El Paso, TX, Los Angeles, CA and Melbourne, Australia, The Mars Volta have released their third full-length album titled Amputechture. I was a bit skeptical when first taking a listen to the new LP as I found Frances the Mute a little on the boring side and definitely a step down from De-Loused in the Comatorium. Even though Amputechture doesn’t top De-Loused in the Comatorium, and I don’t think they will ever be able to top that album, it has brought back my hope in this band.

The album doesn’t have a set plot unlike their previous full-lengths, but instead it is a compilation of stories and events. Amputechture, as described by Cedric Bixler-Zavala (vocals), is a ‘commentary about the fear of God instead of the love of God, which goes hand-in-hand with Catholicism’. Aside from the concept of the album, they have still managed to keep the album from getting boring or repetitive even though their sound has not changed. The songs aren’t as long compared to Frances the Mute, the longest being Tetragrammaton (16:43) and the shortest being Vermicide (4:17), but I don’t see that as a bad thing as the songs are still top-notch. They also appear to not be as long because they don’t have as many instrumental breaks as Frances the Mute and when they do, they don’t drag on for as long.

Cedric still continues to stump fans with what appear to be either ridiculously confusing metaphors or what could simply be inside jokes. For example, here are a few lines from the second track, Tetragrammaton:

”The kiosk in my temporal lobe is shaped like Rosalynn Carter. She says my map is home again, but torn face down. I have only but a million blemishes to tell you all about.”

I have tried to figure out if there is any meaning behind said line, but have failed to make any sense of it, and I’ve always been one to try and figure out the meaning of their lyrics. The vocal harmonies and effects put on Cedric’s voice are as usual, very well done. This is probably their best album to date, vocals wise. Aside from that, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (lead guitar) is still managing to write solid and original songs. A few songs have transitions that seem a bit sloppy, but the complex riffs and the way the songs are put together in general makes up for it. The second longest and second last song on the LP, “Day of the Baphomets”, kicks off with a highly entertaining bass riff composed by Juan Alderete. Nearing the end of the song, Omar’s brother Marcel will blow you away with an impressive bongo solo, a great build up to the ending of the song. I’m not much of a drummer myself, but focusing the attention to the drumming of the CD, Jon Theodore never fails to produce complex beats that I find are both confusing, and fitting at the same time. Various keyboards and organs throughout the record accompany the songs as usual, but again, they still manage to keep their songs original and entertaining. The CD also features almost a dozen different guest artists who really add to the sound.

To summarize, Amputechture is great. It’s all I’ve been listening to lately and I don’t see that changing any time soon. All aspects of the album are brilliant. Some tracks I recommend checking out:

Day of the Baphomets

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