Amputechture review by The Mars Volta

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  • Released: Aug 22, 2006
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.9 (275 votes)
The Mars Volta: Amputechture
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Sound — 8
Anyone who has heard the Mars Volta will probably understand that it is quite difficult to define their musical "style" or to fit them into a particular genre. The two founders of the band, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Cedric Bixler-Zavala initially split from their original band "At The Drive-In" to go in new directions with their music, something which they have certainly done with great success in the years since then. This album is the follow up to their last studio album, Frances the Mute. The band has taken yet another direction with their music. Tracks on this album range from Acoustic songs to Progressive Rock. Previous Mars Volta albums have been criticised for Omar's guitar parts, which although impressive, have at times dominated over the other instruments. This album offers a fairer perspective of the talents of all members of the band. Bass and percussion solos exist on a number of tracks. There is far less ambient noise included in songs and in between tracks compared with Frances the Mute. I would say that this album is far similar to De-Loused in The Comatorium (the bands debut album) that it is to their previous release (Frances The Mute).

Lyrics — 9
The lyrics to songs on all of the bands albums have been cryptic and enigmatic compositions of metaphors. This album offers no change. There does not appear to be a central concept to the album, although each song obviously a story or meaning, and Cedric has mentioned his influences in interviews, I have been unable to find anything linking all of the songs together. Vocalist Cedric often alternates between singing in Spanish and English, something which has been done on previous releases and which offers a welcome change for those seeking something new. Cedric seems to have surpassed himself this time, even the Spanish lyrics have proved to be memorable to myself and friends (none of us speak Spanish). I must emphasise that this is not an album for those who enjoy catchy lyrics or something which can be easily sung along to. The structure of the songs is often free-verse, with no familiar chorus. They often resemble one long story.

Overall Impression — 8
The first track, Vicarious Atonement, provides an excellent opening. It serves to introduce the listener to the album. The synthesized sounds at the start, panning left and right, followed by Omars improvisation on guitar instantly grabs the listeners attention. The lyrics are enigmatic but certain lines touch the listener. The backing vocals (also sung by Cedric) consisting of gentle humming and singing of notes are excellent. The hauntingly beautiful 'Asilos Magdalena' stood out the first time I listened to the album all the way through. Sung completely in spanish, it puts an incredible focus on Cedrics voice, the guitar accompaniment perfectly accentuates the emotion of the song and the changes in tempo between the verses and the chorus work very well. No translation is needed, if one were provided then the lyrics would probably be just as cryptic as the other songs, the real beauty of the song is the emotional way in which it is sung. Each song has it's own individual feel, reflecting the theme or concept that it is attempting to express. There is definitely nothing monotonous or boring about this album, each person should be able to find a track that appeals to them in particular, I say this to emphasize the diverse nature of this album. I would say that this album, when compared to other Mars Volta releases, ranks above 'Frances the Mute'. It is slightly below, or on a par with 'De-Loused In The Comatorium', depending on the listeners taste in music. 'De-Loused' would deserve a 9 rating in my opinion, so I am giving this one an 8 just to distinguish that there is a difference, although only a very slight one!

16 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Hi9
    Man, I hate when people get all super angry about people hearing the album early... I heard both Deloused and Frances before they came out, and it didn't ruin the experience or keep me from buying the albums and supporting the band. Even got a couple of vinyls. They're one of my favorites, I've been a fan and supporter of Cedric and Omar since ATDI. And honestly, when I downloaded Deloused, I didn't even know it wasn't out yet... I'd just heard a rumor that Cedric and Omar were doin somethin new and looked to see what I could find. Loved it, went to see if I could find the cd, turns out wasn't out yet. Oops. And then, when Frances was coming out, I found the leak, listened to it, and immediately pre-ordered it. I'm definately not preordering this time, though... I took like 2 weeks for me to get Frances. I'll just be at walmart at midnight this time. I just hate being accused of being a thief is all. I mean, really, I'm the craziest kind of audiophile. I can't stand having pauses between the tracks and low bitrate. I even get the vinyls of my favorites when I have the money. So there's no way I could stand having just mp3 copies of albums, especially not the mars volta.
    theused101
    dude. who gives a shit about leaked music, if they didnt want it to happen they wouldnt have john frusciante and flea on their albums, and isnt it expected with a band like tmv? they do FUCKING rock. nobody can touch omar when it comes to style and cedric with vocals. so.....help the cause and qiut bitching guys. atdi forever.
    cubedeathk
    Hey guys I dont know what you are talking about it being leaked early you can already buy it in other countries
    Kopperhead91
    its funny cuz they fully support the leaked music stuff. i heard them say it themselves. they said it right after they released Scabdates
    erotic sweaters
    cubedeathk is right, if you'll look on amazon you can buy amputecture already, but if you're in the U.S. it costs about twice as much as it does to preorder it.
    theguitarist
    Checked/Deleted. Cut the talk about music downloading, and calm it down in general please.
    Per_Killer
    I agree. What the hell..? I'm sure Mars Volta (like any other group of people in 2006) is well aware of the fact that people download music, for free! I'm sure they are cool about big sites like UG, openly doing it when they promote their album with a great review like this. Personally, I never had much interest in music before I got my first 28.8 modem and could download and listen to all kind of music. I have certain bands that I wish to support by buying their releases, or I just want their CD. Mars Volta is definiately one of them. I am downloading their album now, but on the release-date I will be waiting in line to buy it aswell. So calm the **** down ;p
    Mandible
    Anyway, enough about downloading..more about amputechture. I absolutly love the guitar on viscrea eyes at 7.38 mins. I recon it sounds like frusciante who proves in this case that he's pretty f***in good. everyone...go and listen to it. I've been listening to this album for a bit over 2 weeks now and i'd have to say Viscera's probably the best track. I love the fact that it completely changes in the middle and doest go back to the first section... it 'evloves'. I recon amputechture sort of links de-loused and Frances in that other than obvious similarities, the first two albums were pretty different. Amputechture had a bit of both yet also brings a new quality. I love The Mars Volta
    Per_Killer
    Agreed. And my favorite part so far is between 5-6 minutes into 'Meccamputechture'. The bass is incredibly groovy alltrough this song, and when it gets 'unwrapped' and singled out around 5:30 I just get goosebumps.. The same feeling I get when the bass take over for a brief moment 5 and a half minute into 'Cassandra Geminni' on 'Frances the Mute'. I join you Mandible. I love The Mars Volta aswell
    iliveincoto
    blasting Meccamputechture is crazy. no matter what mood im in, if i put that song on and turn the volume to full i immediately get all excited. i just realized today that people look at me funny when i pull up to stop lights. meccamputechture is my favorite song.
    Mandible
    WOAH... Per_Killer I have to agree with you about mecca at 5:30... I forgot that bit ...its awesome. Those Brass stabs really sit nicely with that wicked bass grove.
    steezy
    I take my hat off to Omar, not frusciante, He wrote all the music.
    iliveincoto
    HAHA picked up the cd today, even though i already had the leak and have listened to it just about everyday for that past 2 and a half months. Looking at the lyrics in the little booklet i realized how off i was in trying to interpret the album. good stuff.