The Mars Volta – ‘The Mars Volta’ assessment: astounding and masterful

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After 10 years away, information of The Mars Volta’s reformation stuffed many a fan’s coronary heart with giddy anticipation. Because the architects of dense prog-punk monoliths comparable to fiery 2003 debut ‘De-Loused within the Comatorium’ and 2005’s sprawling ‘Frances the Mute’, vocalist Cedric Bixler-Zavala and guitarist Omar Rodríguez-López’s return to The Mars Volta fold rounded out a very fraught decade. Private spats and, most just lately, the on-again-off-again resurrection of the pair’s authentic post-hardcore outfit, At The Drive In, undoubtedly solid a shadow over the prospect of the Volta’s re-sparking. Fortunately, the celebrities aligned.

The Mars Volta’s self-titled new report, quietly labored on by the reconciled pair since 2019, pulses with an vitality which may not be instantly recognisable to those that primarily affiliate the band with raucous explosions of guitar and swerving, rhythmic shifts. Opening with the pair of singles that heralded the comeback, ‘Blacklight Shine’ and ‘Graveyard Love’, it’s apparent that the band’s aural palette has been considerably stretched. As emphasised by the dual music movies, which have a good time the folks of Puerto Rico, The Mars Volta’s undulating Latin and Caribbean rhythms nonetheless kind the bedrock of their sound, however now exist inside a denser soup of laddering synths, trance-like counter-guitar riffs and soul-touching organ.

Whereas anger and hysteria was by no means removed from the floor all through the band’s earlier work, right here gleaming magnificence takes priority. From the luxurious R&B of ‘Shore Story’, the affecting, haunting lament ‘Tourmaline’ and the album’s excessive watermark, ‘Palm Filled with Crux’, Bixler-Zavala and Rodríguez-López concoct an emotive, hook-soaked listening expertise. These worrying that this shift may sign a dilution of the drama that coursed via their abrasive classics ought to concern not; Cedric’s streaming phrases nonetheless circulation like rivers of magma, although now bristle with the kind of mortality-conscious, weathered expertise that solely age can deliver.

There are reminders of the Volta’s extra ragged incarnation, from the snarling ‘No Case Achieve’ to nearer ‘The Requisition’s shift from jangly, New Order-leaning textures right into a frenzied after-image of all the things the band have ever seemed like. ‘The Mars Volta’ is a report that seizes the eye immediately, peppered as it’s with arresting top-lines. But it surely additionally calls for – and handsomely rewards – repeated listens, by advantage of its meticulously assembled preparations (simply bathe your ears in shining third single ‘Vigil”s luxuriant combine).

This isn’t only a hanging return for one of the crucial particular person bands of the final 20 years; it’s, musically, an astounding masterpiece. Their most interesting hour? Fairly probably.

Particulars

Launch date: September 16

Document label: Clouds Hill

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