The Mars Volta — De-loused in the Comatorium
(Universal B0000593-02, 2003, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2003-12-01The Mars Volta, on their full-length debut, joins Radiohead as a relatively high profile “alternative rock” group to flirt with progressive elements, and in fact does Radiohead one better (to the prog fan at least) by heading more in the direction of instrumental and thematic complexity rather than ambient experimentalism. De-Loused is a concept album in the classic mode of The Lamb Lies down on Broadway or Tales from Topographic Oceans in that there is undeniably a theme running through the music, but (like both of those examples) discerning the concept is not an easy task. Musically there is little of the grand themes of Yes or the surreal melodicism of Genesis, but the intense musical brew contains elements of classic big-riff rock, Floydian space-trip effects, latin percussion, and ambient interludes. complex rhythms and dense arrangements feature in many of the tunes, held together tightly by the drummer and guest bassist Flea (of the Red Hot Chili Peppers). Keyboards include classic organ sounds and Mellotron as well as samples and other digital tricks. On the whole, though, guitars dominate, from aggressive rhythm parts to multitracked harmonies to solos with lots of echo and wah-wah. Think of it as Porcupine Tree on amphetamines instead of acid. On second thought, keep the acid – the lyrics are if anything even more cryptic than Jon Anderson’s (the title “Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt” is representative of the words in general).
Related artist(s): The Mars Volta
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more