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Firstly, the band have been known in the past for having somewhat exacting standards of quality and timing and so if they aren't happy with something it doesn't come out under their name. This has lead to a live album and at least two full studio albums being scrapped or put on hold so far. During their previous album Octahedron's cycle the band claimed that the follow up album was already recorded, but soon after they decided to make this yet newer album instead. Now however it is unclear whether they actually did or not.
It is also interesting that the band would put out a new studio album so close to when the At The Drive In reunion is going on, almost like either the band or the record company don't want fans to forget about The Mars Volta.
Finally, the line-up has seen a change; Isaiah Ikey Owens is absent from the keyboard position for the first time, John Frusciante doesn't contribute any guitar and Deantoni Parks makes his studio debut as the band's new drummer. Interestingly; despite the album being made without their long time keys player Owens, Noctourniquet seems to be driven primarily by Synths. Of course, The Mars Volta have always made use of keys and synths but this album features them even more than usual.Read more ›
The focus here tends to be on more laid-back pieces. But that is not to say sappy ballads. No, the disturbingly eerie atmosphere keeps the listener glued. Granted, some tracks are hard to grasp until you listen to them a few times, but doesn't that tend to be true of most great music? There's also more electronica influence, and this is a turn-off for some who feel Omar's virtuosity on guitar obligates him to do nothing but jam. But both of this outfit's leaders are extremely creative and proficient musicians overall, and their genius is best left unrestrained to any box the masses would want to keep them in.
The abstract, sometimes humorous lyrics are there once again; how can you not chuckle at the psychotic line "And the traps in the cellar go clickity-clack 'cause you know I always set them for you"? Absolutely delicious.
If you're just hearing this album for the first time, please wait until you've listened to it several times as I did before forming an opinion. What's great about it is it takes a spin or to to truly relish.
Take opener "The Whip Hand", for instance. Absent Cedric's distinctive voice, this track could easily find itself a home on a Nine Inch Nails album. Progressive rock meets industrial rock and the results are exhilarating. "Aegis" follows, which opens with a Radiohead-esque guitar intro (think "Creep") and active percussion not too far removed from Radiohead's more recent endeavors. In fact, several tracks on the album- "Empty Vessels Make the Loudest Sound", "In Absentia", "Zed and Two Naughts"- are laced with healthy doses of electronica that result in what sounds like a collaboration between The Mars Volta and Reznor, Yorke, possibly even Jourgensen and Ministry. The title track even throws in some '80s sounding synth that evokes images of cheesy dance moves and bad hair, while "Lapochka" throws in some sweet Beach Boy sounding harmonies. Still, throughout it all, the music is undoubtedly The Mars Volta, full of unexpected time signatures and enigmatic lyrics.
Several tracks stand-out as some of the best this band has done. "The Malkin Jewel" could be a Meat Puppets song as covered by Modest Mouse- quirky, jammy, loose, and weird in a manner TMV does not normally do.Read more ›
Having stated the motivation behind Octahedron to be a need for a change in dynamic, what was unveiled instead was more or less usual Mars Volta fare stripped of dynamics. Stiff, flat compositions performed with seemingly minimal enthusiasm. It had its moments, but it was altogether disappointing. Moreover, Bixler-Zavala's work in both the lyrical and melodic departments seemed to be extremely lacking, and at times even dispassionate. I felt more than a little vindicated in these impressions when Mr. Zavala revealed in a recent interview that he is not too fond of the album himself. In fact, Cedric has opened up about quite a few things in the inner world of The Mars Volta that have served to put a lot of these developments (or lack thereof) in perspective. For instance, he attributes the aforementioned decline in quality to an oppressive work pace set by his partner-in-crime and erstwhile-musical-dictator, Mr. Lopez.
Which brings us to Noctourniquet. Having "put Omar in his place", so to speak, Cedric took the better part of 2 years crafting the vocal landscape of the album. And the payoff is great. This is by far, in all respects, the band's most consistent and rewarding release since "Frances the Mute".Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
In some respects this marks the best Volta release to date. It is uncharacteristically concise and simple in form. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Ernest Geist
Given how unorthodox, spontaneous and diverse the Mars Volta are, there's no way I can possibly give Noctourniquet a low rating! Read morePublished 12 months ago by Bryan
I havent purchased a cd in so long, but i had to own this copy. I am a huge mars volta fan and love everything they have ever released. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Alina Chang
Absolutely amazing! Noctourniquet has stood the test of time. I have been a fan since ATDI days... and after many years listening to all of TMV and ATDI catalogs, I must say that... Read morePublished 14 months ago by R. K. Adams