Scab Dates review by The Mars Volta

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  • Released: Nov 8, 2005
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.1 (137 votes)
The Mars Volta: Scab Dates

Sound — 8
I love The Mars Volta. Their sound is one of the most unique around, with a lot of what would seem like just pointless noise but when you look deeper it really makes the song complete. On Scab Dates however, it just seems like filler. Don't get me wrong, it does sound good in some places, but when they try to recreate a lot of the noise that sounds so good on the studio versions, well, it doesn't really transfer well. But anyway, with the music its pretty great, a lot of improvisation which is the Mars Volta style which is cool. Omar is absolutely amazing on guitar, and he shows this on the CD. He uses a lot of effects really well which really add to the song. Cedric's vocals can be quite lazy in places, but in other places he adds some nice touches, such as in "Take The Veil Cerpin Taxt" at the first bit when he goes "Knife me in, Hobbeling" he adds a nice little extension on the hobbeling part, which may not seem like much but it sounds really cool. A lot of the songs are improvised such as Gust Of Mutts And Ghosted Pouts, which are cool, but I would have rather had some more well songs. 01. Abrasions Mount The Timpani - what can I say? Just 5 minutes of noise. If this were done on a studio version I think it would have translated more easily, this just doesn't really do it for me. 02. Take The Veil Cerpin Taxt - good version, played well, Cedric's vocals can be a bit lazy but the rest of the band make up for this. a) Gust Of Mutts - cool effect. Just kinda two minutes of the same riff over and over again. Cedric's vocals are quite cool, even though he doesn't appear that much. b) And Ghosted Pouts - starts with the same kind of effect as Gust Of Mutts the song then explodes and goes into the same riff as Gust Of Mutts except with a more promenant drum beat. Vocals are good. Also goes back into the end of Take The Veil, but without the killer bass solo which sucks. Good nonetheless. 03. Caviglia - a lot of noise, while Cedric whispers the lyrics to Concertina. Alright. 04. Concertina - one of the coolest Mars Volta songs ever, great guitar riff and lyrics, vocals great, best on the album by far. Also liked the trumpets in the bridge. I actually think this is the only case where the live version sounds better than the studio version. 05. Haruspex - starts off with just noise then dissonant guitar and drums come in with no real sense of beat, slows down then speeds up, reeat to fade. 06. Cicatriz - another very cool studio song, Cedric's vocals let it down in the live version though. Guitars and the rest of the band are great though. a) Pt. 1 - cool, slightly slwer jazzy riff which is great. Lyrics aren't exactly brilliant, but what the hey, its a great song, gradually speeds up. b) Pt. 2 - amazing guitar riff, just proves Omar is the coolest cat around. Cedrics vocals are great too, sounds a bit like a woman at parts, but it's okay 'cause it's Cedric. Drums come in and makes the song complete. c) Pt. 3 - goes back to the same kinda thing as Pt. 1, which is cool. It has a grat guitar solo which is absolutely brilliant when place with the keyboard, they sound awesome. d) Pt. 4 - well, just bout 18 minutes of noise, at points reflecting with phrases from the performance. Then in the last two minutes goes into the closing riff of Cicatriz which is cool, more music preferable however. Overall a good effort, but the studio work is better. I don't think its justified to say on the cover "Over 70 minutes of live music!" About half of that is noise. Literally. When there is music its great music, hell some is even better than the studio. Its just that some of it doesn't really transfer well to live versions, its not the same unless you're there. I'd love to see these guys live, and if anything this album has strenghthened that just to see if its any better live. But I sounds pretty good anyway.

Lyrics — 10
Lyrics with The Mars Volta are always left to interperatation, and this hasn't changed, even though some of the lyrics do in live performances. Brilliant lyrics.

Overall Impression — 8
Overall this album is only for hardcore Volta fans. It does grow on you, it takes time however. A lot of noise, more music would have been preferable. If you are just getting into The Mars Volta then get De-Loused In The Comatorium as it is brilliant. This however, I'm guessing, is no match to actually seeing them live.

8 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Do the Mars Volta have any hard bass lines? I just wanted to know that,and good review,I saw them open for System but I showed up late,and I couldnt really hear anything [$25 seats] but from what I saw he had tons of pedals,is they?re bassist anygood?
    JUan Alderte is flippin sweet. Imagine tim comerford and cliff burton mixed together.
    yeah, Juan's the man... he pulls of the stuff Flea did for the Volta off without a hitch too.
    You're right about the pedals Will-eh. He has over 89 effects on two separate pedal boards. He feeds usually a fretted, sometimes frettetd, fender Jazz or P bass into his effects, then send the signal into two Ampeg SVT's (one with a regular 8x10 cab, one into a custom made plywood 8x10 cabinet) and then sends that singnal into a 2x18 cab. Yeah and he's an amazing bassist too, very Geezer Butler esque, but with a more experimental approach to his playing. And compliments to the writers of the reviews, very good.
    grr these poeple need to give it a better listen!!! lol i love it i dont think its noise. what i say is go and buy the album(if you already know the mars volta and are used to them) and sit down and just listen. it really is brilliant!!
    Mr Pringle
    for me this isn't actually a live album I think of this as a completely different album altogether because it pretty much separates itself from any other live album i have.
    Will-eh wrote: Do the Mars Volta have any hard bass lines? I just wanted to know that,and good review,I saw them open for System but I showed up late,and I couldnt really hear anything [$25 seats] but from what I saw he had tons of pedals,is they?re bassist anygood?
    Their bassist is f'n 'licious ha i play them all the time.