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THE MARS VOLTA - De-Loused In the Comatorium


AT THE DRIVE-IN’s untimely demise was not much of a loss at all. In fact, some (including myself) would argue that the break-up has given us something far more special in THE MARS VOLTA. Spearheaded by AT THE DRIVE-IN’s big-haired tag-team of Omar Rodriguez (guitars) and Cedric Bixler (vocals), THE MARS VOLTA lay to waste everything in its path with some of recent memory’s most compelling music. De-Loused In the Comatorium is the band’s debut full-length (having previously released the three-song Tremulant EP) and their first for Universal Music. But don’t let that fool you. De-Loused In the Comatorium is anything but tame. THE MARS VOLTA infuse tricked out electronic weirdness and psychedelic rock into an explosive free-jazz firecracker. Imagine an intellectual collision between RADIOHEAD and DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN with the rock sensibilities of everything LED ZEPPELIN and SANTANA once brought to the table. Rodriguez’s guitars are a mish-mash of dissonant noodling, spaced-out melodies, and rock-solid riffing, fastened together by a wickedly tight rhythm section courtesy of Jon Theodore’s hard-hitting progressive drumming and Flea’s all-star bass mastery. Keyboardist Ikey Owens adds psychedelic warmth with his retro keyboard work while Jeremy Michael Ward interjects forward-thinking experimental flavor with his flip-switching and knob-twisting. The music is cut and paste but THE MARS VOLTA make it groove with intensity and float with control that the music sounds fresh and spontaneous. On top of that, Bixler’s piercing yet soulful vocals vibrate with passion in way that only Robert Plant can match. “You should have seen the curse the flew right by you,” sings Bixler on the album’s lone ballad, “Televators.” He bares down with such conviction, you can actually feel the confusion and chaos of their lost friend whom De-Loused is dedicated to. Together, both music and voice, THE MARS VOLTA have painted an other-worldly musical canvas so vivid, one listen and you won’t remember which way is up. It simply doesn’t get any better than this. (Universal/Gold Standard Labs)