So, The Mars Volta's debut LP. From the ashes of El Paso emo/punk outfit At The Drive-In, Omar Rodriguez and Cedric Bixler (guitars and vocals) respectively, the duo have gone out of their way to make the album that they want, and have broken free from the pretty straightforward punk rock of ATD-I.
I was introduced to this band through several rave reviews in music magazines, which promised a classic album, paving the way for 21st Century rock and roll. As soon as I saw the album in HMV, I was struck by the amazing and surreal artwork, done by Storm Thurgeson. However, nothing could have prepared me for what happened as I put the disc into my CD player. My initial impressions were that this album would be too complicated for a mere mortal such as myself to comprehend, but several more plays revealed just how wrong I was.
At just under an hour, "Deloused in the Comatorium" is by no means easy listening. Songs change tempo and ideas so frequently that it's easy to lose track of what's going on. Cedric's voice is equally erratic, ranging from a sweet whisper to a demented scream. Omar's quitar melodies contrast strikingly with the lightning speed breakdowns of the group's drummer, Jon Theodore, formerly of dub band DeFacto. Cosmic guitar solos lift you up from the chains of reality and set you free from your mind's constraints, only for a thundering drum interruption like an asteroid colliding with Earth.
Special mention must also go to bassist Flea, who plays for popular funk-rockers The Red Hot Chili Peppers. His funky basslines contrast well with the otherwise quite prog rock sound of The Mars Volta. As a group, they have produced what is probably the finest album I have heard in all my 16 years, totally going against the concept of popular rock music to produce something which will hopefully set the standard for music in the 21st century. These songs, with titles like "Eriatarka" and "Inertiatic ESP", inspire a huge range of emotions, from anger to fear to loneliness and much more besides.
The bottom line is, if you consider yourself a fan of real music and have respect for musicianship, buy this album. It will change your world.
1. Son et Lumiere
2. Inertiatic ESP
3. Roulette Dares (The Haunt Of)
4. Tira Me a Las Aranas
5. Drunkship of Lanterns
7. Cicatriz ESP
8. This Apparatus Must Be Unearthed
10. Take The Veil Cerpin Taxt
11. (Bonus UK Track) Ambuletz