The Mars Volta

Record review

Texas Platters

The Mars Volta

Amputechture (Universal/Gold Standard Labs)

There's a delicate balance between beauty and insanity. Especially in prog. El Paso's Mars Volta has dived head first into the abyss of self-indulgent, brain-fried wankery, but this you already knew. Like 2003 debut De-Loused in the Comatorium and last year's Frances the Mute, third studio LP Amputechture takes a long, exhausting drive down the dusty roads of West Texas druggy boredom, this time with Chili Pepper guitarist John Frusciante sitting shotgun. Unlike Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Cedric Bixler-Zavala's previous two concept albums, Amputechture finds the acid dabbledry taking priority over any listening enjoyment. Instead, the 17-minute "Tetragrammaton" and 11-minute "Meccamputechture" are sweaty workouts aimed at guitar supergeeks and molded around a spastic live jam. Opener "Vicarious Atonement" is a slow candlelit serenade, Bixler-Zavala crooning in Spanish/English verse and leaning heavily toward cheese. Spanish ballad "Asilos Magdalena" has a moment of loving clarity, and even the maddening "Viscera Eyes" – clocking in at only 9:27 – has singular minutes of thrash and roll, but Amputechture is more a series of events than a complete experience. It's as though the Mars Volta is simply seeing what they can get away with.

**

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
Metallurgy
Fates Warning
Theories of Flight (Record Review)

Michael Toland, Aug. 19, 2016

Metallurgy
Gojira
Magma (Record Review)

Michael Toland, Aug. 19, 2016

More by Darcie Stevens
Phases & Stages
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
It's Blitz! (Record Review)

April 3, 2009

Spotlight: The Wooden Birds
Spotlight: The Wooden Birds
9pm, the Parish

March 20, 2009

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)