THE MARS VOLTA — De-Loused in the Comatorium

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THE MARS VOLTA - De-Loused in the Comatorium cover
4.50 | 5 ratings | 1 review
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Album · 2003

Tracklist

1. Son et lumière (1:35)
2. Inertiatic ESP (4:24)
3. Roulette Dares (The Haunt Of) (7:31)
4. Tira Me a Las Arañas (1:29)
5. Drunkship of Lanterns (6:20)
6. Eriatarka (7:06)
7. Cicatriz ESP (12:29)
8. This Apparatus Must Be Unearthed (4:58)
9. Televators (6:19)
10. Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt (8:42)

Total Time 60:53

Bonus track on 2003 UK edition:
11. Ambuletz (7:03)

Line-up/Musicians

- Cedric Bixler-Zavala / vocals
- Omar Rodriguez-Lopez / guitars, bass (11), co-producer
- Isaiah "Ikey" Owens / keyboards
- Flea / bass
- Jon Theodore / drums
- Jeremy Michael Ward / Fx & sounds

With:
- John Frusciante / guitar & synth programming (7)
- Justin Meldel Johnson / double bass (9)
- Lenny Castro / percussion

About this release

De-Loused in the Comatorium [p] 33 rpm, Colored Vinyl, Gatefold
2003 Vinyl LP GSL / GSL75 United States
De-Loused in the Comatorium
2003 CD Universal / 9860298 Australia
De-Loused in the Comatorium
2003 CD Universal / B000059302 Canada
De-Loused in the Comatorium
2003 CD Universal / 9860298 Argentina
De-Loused in the Comatorium Bonus Tracks
2003 CD Universal / UICU-1041 Japan
De-Loused in the Comatorium Bonus Tracks
2003 CD Universal / 986 046-0 United Kingdom
De-Loused in the Comatorium
2003 CD GSL / B0000593-02 Canada United States
De-Loused in the Comatorium
2003 CD Universal / 0602498602980 United Kingdom
De-Loused in the Comatorium [2x12"]
2004 Vinyl LP
De-Loused in the Comatorium [Australian Tour Edition] Bonus CD, Limited Edition
2004 CD Universal / 986 169-2 Australia
De-Loused in the Comatorium 180 gram, Colored Vinyl, Gatefold, Limited Edition, Numbered Edition
2014 Vinyl LP Music on Vinyl / MOVLP1115 United States
Deloused in the Comatorium Downloadable, Streaming
Digital File Universal / n/a

Expand all 12 issues

Thanks to silly puppy for the addition

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THE MARS VOLTA DE-LOUSED IN THE COMATORIUM reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

siLLy puPPy
In the world of progressive punk = pronk, perhaps nobody pulled it off better and more dramatically than THE MARS VOLTA. Sure the Cardiacs may have popularized the unthinkable fusional possibilities but at the heart of their sound was a zolo art pop approach that took catchy infectious melodies and nerded them out big time. THE MARS VOLTA on the other hand went for the prog jugular with highbrow concept albums and sprawling soundscapes that mixed post-hardcore, psychedelic rock, progressive electronica and even Latin jazz. The band seemed to have come from nowhere with its lauded debut DE-LOUSED IN THE COMATORIUM which despite almost no promotion still managed to make the top spot on favorite lists when it arrived in 2003 from its sheer boldness to take prog and punk to incredible new heights.

Riding the wave of the 90s prog revival that flourished, El Paso, TX based THE MARS VOLTA arose from the ashes of the up and coming post-hardcore band At The Drive-In, which was at the verge of crossing over into the mainstream but the bored duo of vocalist and lyricist Cedric Bixler-Zavala along with guitarist Omar Rodríguez-López grew tired of their bandmates unwillingness to experiment and instead opted to go it alone. THE MARS VOLTA spent the next 13 years releasing one mind-altering experimental album after another beginning with what many consider their best, the abstractly titled DE-LOUSED IN THE COMATORIUM. While this duo’s former bandmates would form the post-hardcore Sparta and dwell in the world of generic uninventiveness, Bixler-Zavala and Rodríguez-López were hell bent for leather to craft some of the most bizarre constructs of psychedelic post-hardcore enveloped in the reverie of classic 70s prog extremities.

This is one of those albums that has just as bizarre of a story behind it as the music presented. While the song titles, lyrics and overall themes are just as abstract and surreal as the album cover art, the album’s concept revolves around the tale of Cerpin Taxt, a man who enters a week-long coma after overdosing on a mixture of morphine and rat poison and is indirectly dedicated to the death of Bixler-Zavala’s friend Julio Venegas who was an El Paso artist. Ironically the album coincided with the death of another close friend and collaborator Jeremy Michael Ward who was a founding member of THE MARS VOLTA as the sound manipulator that gave the band that extra edge over the competition much in the vein of other production rich artists like Porcupine Tree and Riverside. Ward was found dead after a heroin overdose which was the moment when the due of Bixler-Zavala and Rodríguez-López took a cold hard look at their own drug habits and went cold turkey. The duo henceforth put its energy into crafting material for THE MARS VOLTA which apparently paid off.

While Bixler-Zavala and Rodríguez-López would be the only two consistent members and main creative contributors to THE MARS VOLTA, this debut showcases what was truly a band effort with Jon Theodore on drums, Isaiah Owens on keyboards, a guest appearance of Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers on bass and is the only album to feature the now deceased Jeremy Michael Ward who produced the myriad effects and sound manipulations. The album also found extra help from Lenny Castro providing the Latin jazz percussion, John Frusicante also of the Red Hot Chili Peppers contributing additional guitar parts and synthesizers and acoustic bass parts from Justin Meldal-Johnson. The album also attracted a ridiculous amount of producers mixing and mastering personal as well as the legendary Rick Rubin joining Rodríguez-López in the producer’s seat. In other words, there was a LOT of effort put into this densely packed hour’s run of fine-crafted musical output and the efforts were quite triumphant in their delivery.

Although the simplified formula of THE MARS VOLTA is to juxtapose brash post-hardcore guitar riffs, bantering bass grooves and a tumultuous percussive drive that sat equidistantly between metal and punk, the band excelled at filling the connective tissue of transitions with extremely psychedelic and surreal electronic motifs that completely broke free from Earth’s gravitational pull and took a trip into the spaced out world of artists such as Tangerine Dream and Klaus Schulze. While sonically oft tied to the post-hardcore of At The Drive-In, the lay out of the composiitons was much more akin to the heavyweights of 1970s progressive rock thus earning THE MARS VOLTA as one of the best newer prog bands to usher in the 21st century for its innovative approach that actually suited the oft abused term “progressive.” Add to that the emo bellowing wails of Bixler-Zavala’s vocal style and you’re in for one unique musical experience.

While the above mentioned formula straddles the album’s hour long run, the 12 minute plus “Cicatriz E.S.P.” takes things even further as the opening proggy post-hardcore beginning morphs into one of the most surreal electronic free floats into the astral plane outside of that famous deleted scene from Avatar. This truly is one of the most unique albums of the 21st century that runs the gamut from highly pyroclastic displays of post-hardcore orotundity to the saucerful of secrets escape from reality that takes a ride on the astral side and craft some of the trippiest electronic sequences since the early Krautrock and progressive electronic scenes of decades prior. THE MARS VOLTA was by no means an easy band for me to get into. Bixler-Zavala’s vocal style is very much an acquired taste and although the music has always resonated especially in the complex compositional approach, the vocals took me a lot longer to jive with but after the proper acclimation i find they actually serve the music quite well and keep it in the world of totally unique and idiosyncratic. True that DE-LOUSED IN THE COMATORIUM may seem weird for the sake of weirdness but after considerable attention paid to the details, i can only glean a inexplicable admiration for the amount of detail to every single second of this album’s run. In other words, this is a utterly brilliant!

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