61 of 62 people found the following review helpful
on August 17, 2004
The Mars Volta are one of those bands that defy categorization. The band features two ex-At the Drive in members as well as Flea contributing bass to some parts (don't know which ones, it doesn't say). Don't expect At the Drive-in, pt. 2 however. This is something pretty different. I don't know ATDI too well(though I own "Vaya" and I like it, so I plan on getting more), but from what I've heard, this doesn't sound a whole lot like them. It's more abstract and progressive, and a little harder to appreciate. I guess the music could loosely be described as progressive-punk-jazz-indie-whatever. It really doesn't matter. It's something really original and good.
"Inertiatic ESP" is the first real song (the first track just being an intro to it), and it starts the album off in a rocking fashion, with Cedric yelling "Now, I'm lost" over some speedy riffs and drumming. Cedric's vocals may be kinda hard to get into, but I loved them the first time I heard them. I dunno. He's kinda wail-y at times, but it's cool. "Roulette Dares (the haunt of)" is one of my favorites on the album, mixing speedier sections with catchy vocals with softer, prettier passages of guitar explorations (and one almost free-jazz-esque part that's really amazing). There's definitely some King Crimson influence in this one. "Cicatrez ESP" is another highlight, a 12 minute long piece with a long synth interlude and lots of cool guitary stuff. "Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt" has some of the coolest guitar playing on the album in it's second half; it really must be heard. It's like Crimson-jazz.
This album will probably take a few listens to sink in if you even like it at all, but I give it a high recommendation to those looking for something original and progressive. Don't expect "prog" however...As Cedric said on their website, it's progressive, but has much more of a punk aesthetic to it.
89 of 96 people found the following review helpful
on May 17, 2004
I just got this CD and have not been able to tear myself away from it. Work and sleep are now merely times I can not listen to "De-Loused."
This album definitely takes some patience and some getting used to, but isn't that true of all your favorite albums? A lot of the songs have some strange bridges and tempo shifts, but then shots of amazing melody that makes the whole song make sense...if that makes any sense. I'm still having a hard time with track 5 (sorry, don't know names). I instantly liked Track 2, still my favorite track. Tracks 3, 6, and 10 are also standouts, although it's really hard to find a bad track on this album. I'm sure eventually I'll even dig Track 5
If you're like me, you're constantly in the market for new music, and are constantly being disappointed...but this is hard rock, prog rock, whatever you want to call it at its very best. It's loud, smart, unique, melodic....just BUY IT.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on September 24, 2003
Guys, RELAX. The singer DOES sound SLIGHTLY like Geddy Lee. The similarities between RUSH and THE MARS VOLTA are more in the complex and non-traditional song structure (no simple verse-chorus-verse here!), the tempo changes, and the dynamic contrasts. The way this band can stop and start on a dime reminds me of THE MINUTEMEN. The rhythm section is stupendously tight and powerful, really amazing, as is the guitar playing. I really liked AT THE DRIVE-IN, but this is in another league.
"De-Loused ..." is focused and powerful. Let me reiterate: it is powerful without being overly "heavy." The drumming and bass playing isn't slow, plodding and methodical (i.e, BORING) like many hard rock bands. I would call it "athletic" or explosive. Wait until you hear it ...
"De-Loused ..." is a masterpiece that gets better with every listen. This is definitely an album that takes a few listens to totally grasp, (and I liked it on the very first spin) but don't let that last statement put you off: it is easy to listen to and enjoy, while at the same time, it is challenging. You just can't get a handle on the entire package in one listen.
The sound on this album is amazing. I'm an audiophile and have been very dismayed at the recent trend to "turn up the volume" (i.e., record at a higher average level) of most new CDs, which simply DESTROYS the dynamic range and ultimately the fidelity of the recording. Most of the (modern) music that I love sounds [terrible] on a great stereo. This - on the other hand - sounds absolutely wonderful. You can easily follow each and every one of the complex, interweaving musical lines in this mix. This clarity allows you to really hear what the artists want to convey. I just keep turning this up louder and louder and it sounds better and better.
So far, this is the best and most adventuresome album of the year.
BUY THIS NOW!!! SUPPORT GREAT MUSIC!!!
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on November 21, 2003
The Mars Volta, as I'm sure you already know, contains 1/2 of ATDI's members. According to Cedric, he left because he felt they had reached somewhat of a musical stalemate and they would keep making "the same album". "De-Loused in the Comatorium" is definitely not that. Although there are numerous comparisons (although somewhat well-founded) to ATDI's work, this music is all around different. There are, however, elements of ATDI's trademark post-hardcore sound, especially on tracks like "Inertiatic Esp" and to an extent in "Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt". Not to say that this is a bad thing. "Inertiatic Esp" is one of my favorite tracks.
More prevalent than the former musical elements are the inclusion on a somewhat more psychadelic approach. In areas the music is reminiscent of Led Zepplin and Cedric sounding like Geddy Lee.
But The Mars Volta puts a much more modern twist on it. Combing frenetic sampler beats and distortion as well as almost Doors-esque jazz.
And of course, there is the brilliant, yet often inexplicable, lyrics. Self-admittedly selfish, Cedric lyrics cater to his own sensibilities with an attitude of "If we get it, somebody else will". Knowing that the album is dedicated and based upon the life of Julio Venegas helps to act as a loose guide in decrypting some of the lyrics. Even those that one isn't able to annunciate the meaning of still have their own way of touching you in a very personal way. A way that couldn't have been put better. In these sense the abstract, occasionally disjointed nature of the lyrics acts simultaneously to both generalize and specify a particular emotion or event to the listener.
All-in-all it is a brilliant album. It magneticly pulls the listener throughout the sonic landscapes they have created. And I loved it, every step of the way.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on October 20, 2003
The second band to rise from the ashes of At The Drive-In, the Mars Volta was formed by Cedric Bixler (vocals) and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (guitars) in 2001, months after At The Drive In's breakup. The Mars Volta focuses on ATDI's experimental side, by adding hits of progressive rock, free jazz and Latin music to the aggressive blend of emo and punk. Bixler and Rodriguez-Lopez are joined by Ikey Owens, Jeremy Michael Ward (who died of an overdose a month before the album's release), and John Theodore. Flea and John Frusciante of the Red Hot Chili Peppers also collaborate on the album.
De-loused in the Comatorium was inspired by the life of Julio Venegas, a childhood friend of some of the members in the band. Venegas, an artist in the El Paso region, slipped into a coma for a week after a drug overdose, and experienced a series of dreams, and battles between the good and bad aspects of the human conscience. He emerged from the coma in the end, but ultimately decided to take his own life. De-loused in the Comatorium narrates the internal struggle of Venegas, his addiction, his fearlessness and his thoughts while comatose until his life came to self-inflicted end. Yet the lyrics are very abstract, which probably represent the psychological and subconscious battle. Yet abstractions have been constant with Cedric Bixler ever since his days fronting At The Drive-In.
Musically, however, Comatorium is eclectic, bizarre, bewildering, and mesmerizing. Comparisons to art rock legends Rush are frequent, yet this is a lot more intense and complex than anything ever put out by Rush. Yes, Bixler's vocals are high-pitched, like Rush frontman/bassist Geddy Lee's, yet they are a lot more hostile and urgent. The guitars aren't also as carefully composed as those of Rush, and the drumming isn't nearly as multifaceted or virtuosic. However, the songs on Comatorium are long, sprawling and interesting, usually going through several phases before its conclusion. This is a throwback to progressive rock. It is indulgent, ambitious and bombastic, much like prog-rock bands that have come and gone in the past, but yet The Mars Volta always keeps the music exciting. They also have a sense of direction on where the music needs to go, something a band like Rush was very good, at as opposed to past albums by Yes or Dream Theater, which insisted on the band members aimlessly noodling or overexploiting their musical talents. The band members started out playing in bands where raw emotion was the fundamental constituent of the songs they created, and did not rely on classically trained instrumentation. In fact, most of this album sounds like ATDI with longer songs with elements of old Santana, Pink Floyd's Meddle and Miles Davis circa 1969.
De-loused in a Comatorium is not an album; it's an encounter. It reflects a tragedy so musically and so abrasively. It is not mainstream in the slightest, so don't expect a 12-minute jamfest like "Cicatriz ESP," or even a short 4 minute song like "Inertiatic ESP" to come on the radio anytime soon. It's full of enigmas, questions, emotions and reflections. Whether the Mars Volta is your style of music or not, De-loused in the Comatorium is probably the most interesting and uncompromising album released this year.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on June 7, 2005
When I first heard of this album, and this band, I didn't know what to expect. But I picked it up anyway, and popped it in my stereo like a good music fan. After I finished listening to it all the way through, I had no idea of what to make of 'Deloused'. But I felt compelled to keep listening, so then I listened to it for some more hours, on repeat, all the way through each time.
Hours turned to days.
Days turned to weeks.
Before I knew it, 'Deloused in the Comatorium' was the recipient of two weeks of almost exclusive airtime. And no CD monopolizes my means of music production like that. Really great CDs usually get about 4 or 5 days with me. But Mars Volta was setting a dangerous precedent: I feared that I would soon learn to forget music, and only understand this. Except I still didn't know what the heck it was.
At about that time that I realized that I could not live without this CD. That was two months ago. It still owns the majority of my listening time, and yes, I still don't understand what the heck it is. But does that matter?
Just hear for yourself.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on November 16, 2005
I got SOAD tickets and noticed that two bands: Hella, Hella and The Mars Volta were the opening acts. I'd never heard of either so I browsed the internet and found The Mars Volta. I tripped around their site, listened to a couple of the tracks and though there were some odd effects and bridges there was a quality in the nuances that made it very appealing. When I arrived at the concert and saw them play I was blown away. They were so $^~#!#% unbelievable live that I knew I was really hearing and watching my new favorite band for the first time and it was live and LOUD and I was loving it. They ROCKED! SOAD was awesome too, but this band just blind sided my synapses. I immediately ran out to get everything I could and began to wrap my head around De-Loused in the Comatorium. The music is so completely unique and different than anything I've ever heard. Unbelievably talented musicianship and songwriting make this album an undisputed new rock "Masterpiece" from my perspective. This album contains a seemless blending of different musical genre, haunting, melodic hooks that keep drawing you back in for more, along with odd, yet appropriate sound effects that tie transitions together. Absolutely remarkable quality. The guitarist Omar is truly gifted, and Cedric's voice is explosive, even Flea appears on the album and has some very awesome and unforgettable bass riffs, especially on track 10 Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt. Some of the standout tracks to me are track 9 Televators (haunting), Track 10, Track 7 Cicatriz ESP and the blend of 4 Tira Me a Las Aranas with 5 Drunkship of Lanterns but I love the whole album. A truly talented group of musicians that hopefully will collaborate for years to come. If you are starving for some quality and gifted talent this album is a MUST that will satisfy your appetite. A MUST for any music aficionado. 5 out of 5 stars all the way.
27 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 2003
At the Drive-In went prog? If you were an avid listener of ATDI throughout their run you probably noticed that Relationship of Command was their first album that started shifting from Indie rock to a more experimental fusion of many genres. And when I heard the band had split into two different camps, I knew TMV was going to be the better half by far.
So Tremulant comes and goes, and while it was a brilliant EP, I knew it was just TMV's warm up. De-loused in the Comatorium confirms that in every way.
Containing a sound more akin to Led Zeppelin, Yes, King Crimson, early Santana, and Syd Barret era Pink Floyd mixed together, then the post hardcore of ATDI; it's hard not to label it as a mass fusion of what made the 70's the best period in music history. But instead of ripping off all of their different influences, the band has created one of the most original styles I've ever heard.
The prog/salsa of Drunkship of Lanterns is the best potrayal of the bands sound, a grooving bass line, both trippy and driving guitars, and incredibly tight drumming, not to mention Cedric wailing his lungs out. Words cannot express just how much Omar and Cedric have both improved. Omar has become the single most inspiring guitarist since Jimmy Page, and Cedric has changed his vocals from an energetic rap/shout to beautiful wailing that can only be described as being akin to Robert Plant in his prime.
In true prog fashion the album follows the storyline inspired by a childhood friend of Omar and Cedric's, Cerpin Taxt's story is one of sorrow but the music for the most part is incredibly upbeat and lyrically the William Burroughs inspired stories create imagery that brings the songs to life.
It may take a few listens to sink in, but once it does, it'll be the only cd you'll listen to for months. Easily one of the best albums ever created.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on August 30, 2005
The Mars Volta... even the name is solipsistic. It has meaning to the band members and no one else. To others, it is only a suggestion, and that is exactly what this album is as well; it is a suggestion of a story, a collage of emotional music, cryptic lyrics, and grotesque imagery that eventually builds to form a pseudo-coherent picture of a man in pain and a life ended. "De-loused..." is one of those albums that you either get or you don't; it's like "The Velvet Underground & Nico", or Sonic Youth's "Daydream Nation". However, you only have to dig this album; you don't really have to understand it in a traditional sense to enjoy it.
The story, as such, is one of a man who attempts suicide and ends up in a coma, travels through his own consciousness and, eventually, wakes up and rejects the physical world in favor of death. That is the official story; as far as the story the album communicates, one can only guess what Cedric Bixler means when he wails "Now I'm lost..." on the song "Inertiatic ESP". The songs themselves are brimming with dark and sick imagery- ecto-mimed bison, boxcar cadavers, pink-eyed fountains, hooks picking scabs. They are meant to communicate anything that the listener can decipher from them; whatever you feel that they mean, that is what they mean. Emotional context is the only lyrical guide.
Musically, the Mars Volta is a difficult listen; they are very difficult to decipher and deconstruct on the first listen. Many also find the Mars Volta difficult to share with other people for this reason. They are heavily layered and drowned in tightly-produced waves of sound. However, they are also one of the most rewarding bands to get into.
This album packs together all of the disparate talents and wild styles of the band members into a cohesive whole. Each of the musicians have their moments to shine. Free-jazz improv pieces and blistering solos provide ample space for guitarist Rodriguez; softer songs allow emotional depth for vocalist Bixler; a bizarre bass break for guest bassist Flea comes off as incredibly funky and fun. Almost every song becomes a fevered workout for drummer Jon Theodore and keyboardist Jeremy Ward as they weave their sound into every inch of the album; they are truly two of the greatest backing players I've heard. I also really dug the dueling guitar breakdown in Cicatriz with guest guitarist John Frusciante.
The differing styles offer great appeal as well. The blistering riffs, lightning-fast drumming, and chiming flow of the keyboards will please fans of rock and metal; jazzy guitar breaks, downplayed beats, and bass-keyboard segments will jive with funk and jazz fans; strange thrashing distended grooves between songs will catch the interest of electronica and techno listeners. Each song offers something new.
A new genre is born with this release, and it contains only one band- The Mars Volta. A novel release that comes across as an album for no one ends up having something to offer everyone, if it is only given the chance to shine.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2003
De-Loused In The Comatorium (loused: confused, not infestation of lice)is an hour-long story based on the life of Julio Venegas, a childhood friend of some of the band members. The main character is Cerpin Taxt. In the first track, Cerpin attempts suicide but fails and slips into a coma. Over the next eight tracks, Cerpin explores the worlds of his subconscious, wonderful and horrible. In the final track, he awakes from his coma only to commit suicide.
De-Loused In The Comatorium is a work of art. One enjoys the CD on two levels: liking the loud, brash music and vocals, and fully understanding the symbolism of each track. Upon hearing De-Loused for the first time, I have to admit that I did not enjoy it entirely. But there was something there that pushed me to listen to it again and understand. The second listen I became very intrigued and began to understand what some of it meant. And the third time I listened, I became engulfed in the state of mind that is De-Loused. Ever since then, every time I hear even a portion of a song I again slip into that realm.
I will not reveal all of the meaning of De-Loused, not only because that is part of the joy of listening to the CD regularly but because I figure out even more each listen and still do not understand it all. But I will get you started:
The first track, "son et lumiere", is a short, almost techno based track. The lyrics reference the use of rat poison by Julio and teh scars on his body from his suicidal tendencies.
The second track, "inertiatic esp", is Cerpin Taxt's realization of his comatose state and acknowledgement that he is confused ("Now I'm loused")
Not all of what I know, but enough to get you started.