De-Loused in the Comatorium by The Mars Volta

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De-Loused in the Comatorium by The Mars Volta
De-Loused in the Comatorium by The Mars Volta

Album Released: 2003

De-Loused in the Comatorium ::: Artwork

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1.Son Et Lumière1:35
2.Inertiatic ESP4:23
3.Roulette Dares (The Haunt Of)7:30
4.Tira Me A Las Arañas1:28
5.Drunkship Of Lanterns7:05
7.Cicatriz ESP12:28
8.This Apparatus Must Be Unearthed4:57
10.Take The Veil Cerpin Taxt8:41


Where their previous band 'At the Drive-In' favoured concise post-punk songs with clearly defined verse-chorus structures, spin-off band The Mars Volta favour lengthy and intense epics, stretching into 8- or 12-minute songs with loosely defined structures and plenty of instrumental sections.

Other features of The Mars Volta sound include a more fluid lineup - apart from vocalist Cedric Bixler Zavaka and guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, the rest of the band is less settled, though Flea is the bassist for this entire record. Also, the sound here comes closer to betraying the group's Hispanic origins, with plenty of percussion.

This album's produced by Rick Rubin, who - what with 80's rap albums, Johnny Cash, and plenty of rock luminaries already under his belt - must be gunning for some sort of eclectic resume award. Deloused in the Comatorium features lots of texture, lots of angst vocals, lots of interesting rhythms, and lots of loud-soft dynamics. To my mind however, it's somewhat short on diversity, or vocal and instrumental melodies and hooks - all things their parent band had in abundance.

So The Mars Volta are a love it or hate it band, not surprising since they're not aiming at 3-minute pop hits here, and lines are clearly divided. On one hand they have a groundswell of popular support that allows them to headline music festivals, and on the other a wave of critical negativity, led by Pitchfork. They're an example of a muso band rather than a critic's darling - the opposite of the White Stripes - guitarists and drummers will marvel at The Mars Volta's admittedly awe-inducing technique, while critics will be happy to overlook Meg White's distinct lack of virtuosity in light of that group's charisma and conceptual intelligence.

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by Reviewer: Fyfeopedia (blogging at Fyfeopedia [Defunct])

Despite the myriad accolades heaped upon their final album Relationship of Command, that massively laudatory reception couldn't prevent the underground rock outfit At The Drive-In from disbanding shortly after the album's release.

In the wake of the band's dissolution, two new groups were formed - Sparta and The Mars Volta - and, due to the former's inherently conservative nature, it was the more ambitious latter band that became the recipient of effusive praise from critics.

That's actually somewhat surprising, as The Mars Volta transparently embrace the trappings of the much-maligned prog/rock genre. Whereas most musical forms follow trends, and pass in and out of favor with alarming regularity, prog/rock has retained the stigma it inherited through the contempt and disdain of the antithetical punk rock movement decades ago. Ergo given that most prog/rock acts are still derided as pompous bombastic dinosaurs, it's surprising that a band that so religiously adheres to the tenets of the despised genre could win over a vast segment of the critical establishment.

By the time of The Mars Volta's first full-length release, De-Loused in the Comatorium, the band had already cultivated something of a cult following, thanks to the underground success of the EP Tremulant, along with a rather impressive live reputation. Needless to say the band's previous pedigree was also instrumental in attracting a new audience, as At The Drive-In loyalists were quick to support Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Cedric Bixler Zavala in their latest endeavor.

Given its status as a neo-prog album, it goes without saying that De-Loused In the Comatorium features complex instrumentation, but the album's ambitions extend well beyond dexterous musicianship. The concept underlying it was inspired by the overdose of a childhood friend, though in all honesty the elegant seamless transitions between songs account for far more of the album's cohesive feel than any obscure storytelling.

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by Reviewer: Evan Lublinski (blogging at Evan Lublinski's Album Reviews)

Some listeners refer to this album as 'prog/rock for the noughties', though the only charactersitics it has in common with the original 70's-style prog is that the album includes some lengthy tracks with lashings of fiddly / complicated playing.

A substantial portion of the 13-minute "Roulette Dares" sounds exactly like an extract from Santana's 1972 album Caravanserai, not altogether surprising perhaps, given that the band members in both Santana and The Mars Volta are Latinos.

That's about as good as it ever gets though, for - unlike Caravanserai - De-Loused in the Comatorium is an otherwise tuneless affair, made up of vast swathes of multi-layered guitar jamming and masses of clattering percussion, all overlaid with incomprehensible lyrics, at times delivered by thin whining vocals, else very loud shouty vocals, both of which are quite devoid of melodic content.

At a stretch this album could perhaps be called *ahem* 'interesting', in that it comes across as very 'intense'. Really though, it's nothing more than a rapid-fire noisy and highly calamitous racket. To the extent that the prog/rock label is even appropiate, De-Loused in the Comatorium exhibits all the worst aspects of prog, without such excesses being offset by even a single one of the genre's more redeeming features.

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by Reviewer: bluemoon