6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
A breathtaking, impressive synthesis of past elements with innovation to spare,
This review is from: Noctourniquet (Audio CD)
Like many die-hard fans of this band, the anticipation of a new release from The Mars Volta is one of the most exciting experiences. With each album, it becomes a sort of game to predict what type of twist and turns Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Cedric Bixler-Zavala will take. So, we arrive at Noctourniquet, the 6th LP from the El Paso band. What do we get? Well, we get an extremely accomplished album, and for this fan, a massive sigh of relief and renewed excitement. See, The Mars Volta's last LP, Octahedron, was advertised to be a massive stripping down of their sound. For me, while it is certainly a decent record, it turned out to be rather hollow. The band wanted to slow down the in-your-face abrasive attack that quite frankly, peaked on The Bedlam in Goliath, but they did not have the songs to back it up. This record definitely succeeds where Octahedron somewhat failed. Not only does it have good songs, it has EXCELLENT songs. You also get a smorgasboard of past influences of the band, giving perhaps the most even album since Deloused in The Comatorium. Melody abounds everywhere, songs like Empty Vessels Make the Loudest Sound and In Absentia are major breakthroughs for this band, while songs like Aegis and Imago convey true heartbreaking emotion, something I haven't heard from this band in a long time. Restraint is the name of the game on this one, so if you need freak-out time signatures, constant key changes and the like, you may be disappointed. This album however does have the trademark quirkiness of the band and is certainly still a "progressive" album, songs like The Whip Hand and Dyslexicon will definitely bludgeon you with trademark Volta prog aggression. However, everything is condensed and somewhat user-friendly. I don't see this record havinng a major pop breakthrough, but the cohesion, flow and songwriting of this album is top notch. So, if you're a fan of the band, but perhaps thought their self-indulgence killed them for a while, try this one out. Great, inventive stuff.