Rating:
9.5
The Mars Volta - The Bedlam In Goliath
29 January 2008


01. Aberinkula
02. Metatron
03. Ilyena
04. Wax Simulacra
05. Goliath
06. Tourniquet Man
07. Cavalettas
08. Agadez
09. Askepios
10. Ouroborous
11. Soothsayer
12. Conjugal Burns


Bonus tracks and b-sides:

1. Back Up Against the Wall [Circle Jerks cover] [download]
2. Birthday [The Sugarcubes cover] [Japanese version / Best Buy download]
3. Candy And A Currant Bun [Pink Floyd cover] [UK, AUS and NZ bonus]
4. Pulled To Bits [Siouxsie & the Banshees cover] [Wax Simulacra single / Best Buy download]
5. Memories [Soft Machine cover] [Japanese version / iTunes bonus]
6. Things Behind The Sun [Nick Drake cover] [Japanese version / iTunes bonus]
7. Mr. Muggs [vinyl edition]


The Mars Volta are one of those weird anomalies in the music world who never really seem to follow any kind of formula but seem to get a considerably large semi-mainstream fan base. Sure they release very accessible radio singles to draw potential fans to buy their albums (but to be fair, some of the best metal bands of the 80's did this as well), but past the single, their music can be explained as somewhere between progressive and avant-garde with a twinge of psychedelia.

With their latest release "The Bedlam in Goliath," following their trend of having each album have a distinct sound to it, this time chose to make their heaviest album to date. Luckily they returned with another concept album based on a very strange story (unlike their last album Amputecture), this time based around a ouiji board called "The Soothsayer" and the strange events surrounding it.

As for the actual content of the album, within the first second we're blasted with a very atypical opener for the Mars Volta, which can be best described as a wall of sound, not like the kind you'd hear in Wintersun or any kind of black metal, but an intricate, highly structured yet free from any kind of rhythm. Outside of the overall heaviness, the other thing which becomes immediately noticeable is the gigantic bound in improvement of the drum work. Although the percussion was never actually bad in any prior album, it gets a whirlwind of fresh air from new talent Thomas Pridgen, who can best be described as a drumming super prodigy (he won the Guitar World Drum off competition when he was only 9!). This is admittedly probably the best thing of the whole album. He stays on rhythm but never seems to repeat the same drum pattern twice. He's kind of like Danny Carey of Tool, just far more energetic.

Juan and Omar do a pretty good job as well, showing a variety of styles without ever changing the song in the song's genre, as well as doing some of their most technical work to date. Whether it's the funky guitarwork of "Ilyena," the Opeth like opener and overall jazziness of "Cavalettas" (which is probably more coincidental than copy-catting) or the almost thrashy "Ouroborous," the string instrumentalists will keep you on your toes. There is even some keyboard work as well, but this album definitely relies more on the rhythm section than psychedelic effects, although "Cavalettas" has a section which can be best described as Cedric (the vocalist) competing against distortion which increases as he increases his own pitch.

Speaking of Cedric, he's probably the only one who stepped back a bit. He just doesn't seem to have the energy or prominence he seemed to have in prior albums. That and the fact that not all of the songs stick out from one another nor get stuck in your head could be this album's only pit falls.

With this album they've once again struck a new kind of gold, even if this is one of their least accessible albums. Give it a couple of listens though and you'll be able to digest it all.


 


written by Paradox0 | 15.02.2009


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.



Comments

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Elio - 21.02.2009 at 15:30  
This album is really good, the band plays a genre I can't explain but it's awesome. The review too is good but the rating too high.
Paradox0 - 21.02.2009 at 23:02  
Written by Elio on 21.02.2009 at 15:30

This album is really good, the band plays a genre I can't explain but it's awesome. The review too is good but the rating too high.

I would certainly put them in the 9+ category though. Perhaps a 9.2. If you found this mind blowing try deloused in the comatorium
Elio - 22.02.2009 at 13:15  
Written by Paradox0 on 21.02.2009 at 23:02

Written by Elio on 21.02.2009 at 15:30

This album is really good, the band plays a genre I can't explain but it's awesome. The review too is good but the rating too high.

I would certainly put them in the 9+ category though. Perhaps a 9.2. If you found this mind blowing try deloused in the comatorium


It is my favourite album by them
INÆRIS - 06.01.2010 at 06:46  
This album never clicked with me. I just can't get into it. I feel the Mars Volta have progressively gone downhill since De-Loused.
Paradox0 - 06.01.2010 at 08:12  
Written by INÆRIS on 06.01.2010 at 06:46

This album never clicked with me. I just can't get into it. I feel the Mars Volta have progressively gone downhill since De-Loused.

Don't feel out of the loop. If anything, Of the people who were fans of the band who've I've spoken to personally, none of them seemed to like this album. Granted this album really doesn't top De-loused (and not many albums really do honestly), I still loved it. By any chance have you listened to octehedron? Everyone is ranting on how great it is, but I can't get into that one.
INÆRIS - 15.01.2010 at 09:11  
Written by Paradox0 on 06.01.2010 at 08:12

Written by INÆRIS on 06.01.2010 at 06:46

This album never clicked with me. I just can't get into it. I feel the Mars Volta have progressively gone downhill since De-Loused.

Don't feel out of the loop. If anything, Of the people who were fans of the band who've I've spoken to personally, none of them seemed to like this album. Granted this album really doesn't top De-loused (and not many albums really do honestly), I still loved it. By any chance have you listened to octehedron? Everyone is ranting on how great it is, but I can't get into that one.


Yeah I have heard Octahedron and I agree with you there. It's definitely interesting like all their works are, but I just can't get comforatble with it the way I am with De-Loused.
spirit_inblack - 16.01.2010 at 02:24  
This album is good, yes, but not a 9.5 good. It's a step down from Amputechture imo. They decided to use more conventional rockish formulas than going all out proggy once again. I really love the art too, as with all the TMV albums that use art by Jeff Jordan.

Still, it's waaay better than Octahedron, which I think was rushed and assembled very poorly.
infernaldeath87 - 31.03.2012 at 02:23  
This album is brilliant!

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