Another prog band that insists that it's NOT a progband!
It's getting lots of comparisons to all manner of old-timey hard rock bands like Zeppelin, Santana and Rush in the press. I hear all those bands in here along with stuff like Bends era Radiohead and even some new-metal hardcore noise. It creates a hodge-podge sound that is too hectic and disjointed and just kinda ugly. The songs sound like the titles of the songs read. "Cicatriz ESP"? "Inertiatic ESP"? Inconprehensible and pointless.
There's a lot of spacy effects sections in the long songs sandwiched between lots of heavy metal punch. No question, the thing rawks and rawks hard, but none of it really makes sense or fits together. Just because you can build a 45 second trippy swirl of space synths for every six minutes of other music doesn't mean that you can just stick it anyplace. These guys don't understand that these trippy sections HAVE TO serve the musical parts of the song. The writing is just plain weak, forgoing any melodic sense for the big and nasty sounding guitar grind, VERY typical of hard modern rock.
I'm surprised to see it's getting so much press and to see it actually charting. I bought the new Grandaddy album Sumday that same afternoon and have been playing that one constantly. Sumday is also receiving a lot of press and charting. It too has some very proggy moments on it as well, but is more melodic and thought provoking than MV. But the fact that EITHER band is getting noticed by the mainstream is heartening. Perhaps this is indicative of listeners simply BEGGING to be challenged musically? Seems to me that the public may finally be swinging away from the bland and obvious junk it's being force fed. This COULD be the time for new prog-bands to make their mark . . . so long as they don't call themselves "prog-bands".
I don't dig De Loused. It's just not this old geezer's bag. But I bet there's a lot of 25 years olds out there that WILL. There's a whole lot better music out there that falls under "challenging" and "artful" that deserves this band's press.
A big step in the current music industry is being taken by the burnt ashes of At the Drive-in. Thank God this band broke up, or we would have never seen TMV in action. With influences ranging from Bill Bruford, Santana, Rush, and King Crimson....among others.
They get labeled as prog on first listen, which the band will deny, but only because they know nothing about music theory or notes and such. They refer to their music as just progressive, but with this being said a lot of prog fans don't see the pearls that lie in this band. What people think are useless synth effects are actually important for the band, because they use these live so they will be able to improve during those moments, stretching their songs to an 8 min song to 12 mins. Another thing that prog fans don't understand is that the album does flow together, it's a story of a friend of the singers, who attempted suicide but instead put instead put himself in a coma. The album tells the story of what happened while in the coma, the characters name is Cerpin Taxt.
I hope prog fans will give this album another chance because it really deserves it. They're a great band that has a lot of promising talent to show to the world.
(All Album Reviews by Epilepticgibbon)
This was certainly one of the most talked-about albums of 2003, gaining rave reviews from many music magazines and ending up fairly the near the top of many peopleís albums of the year.
The Mars Volta is basically the brainchild of a couple of members of the now defunct group At The Drive-In. Iím not that familiar with the At The Drive-In sound but Iím fairly confident that they didnít sound much like The Mars Volta.
And what do The Mars Volta sound like? Well, many people are lumping them in with the so-called nu-prog sound, making comparisons with the likes of Muse, Tool, Cave In and Radiohead.
Thereís certainly a strong progressive rock edge to the album: for starters itís a concept album, and seven of the eleven tracks on this special edition version of De-lousedÖ are over six minutes in length, with one of them reaching a respectable prog track length of 12-and-a-half minutes. Of course, as many women will confirm, length isnít everything, but thereís enough musical complexity and epic status to many of these tracks that calling them prog rock would not be without justification. If I had to pick reference points or influences Iíd mention Yes, Rush, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Santana and Jimi Hendrix, to name but a few, though that might imply that the album has a very dated sound or that itís in some way derivative of those artists, both of which would be unfair, I think. Itís actually a very modern sounding album, slickly produced and with guitar styles more a product of the post-grunge-era than the early 1970s.
But do I like it? Well, yes. After the first listen I was decidedly unimpressed but then itís hardly an immediate album, rather it requires at least a few listens just so you can get where itís coming from. Iím sure that there are further insights and subtleties to be gleaned from yet further plays.
My second reservation about the album was that it was another Origin of Symmetry by Muse, i.e. a grandiose display of technical virtuosity just for the sake of it, with each track trying to out-do the previous one for sheer preposterousness and pomposity. Thankfully The Mars Volta have more soul and creativity than Muse so De-lousedÖ stays just the right side of pretentious.
But despite all that, Iím still not as impressed with the album as many other people seem to be. My feeling is that, good though this album is, itís not as good or as groundbreaking as the best of the other so-called nu-prog stuff (e.g. Radioheadís OK Computer), nor is it as good as many of the current wave of less trendy prog rock bands (e.g. Ritual, Spockís Beard, Porcupine Tree, Echolyn, After Crying), let alone any of the classic prog bands in their prime (e.g. Genesis or Yes).
This debut album is surprisingly fresh, experimental and inventive, and itís growing on me with every listen, but I think time will tell if itís got the class and longevity that some people are already ascribing to it.
Best tracks: ďDrunkship of LanternsĒ, ďEriatarkaĒ, ďCicatriz EspĒ, ďTelevatorsí, ďAmbuletzĒ.