Scab Dates Review

artist: The Mars Volta date: 03/15/2006 category: compact discs
The Mars Volta: Scab Dates
Release Date: Nov 8, 2005
Label: Universal
Genres: Post-Hardcore, Post-Rock/Experimental, Neo-Psychedelia
Number Of Tracks: 12
These guys are masters at what they do and improvising most of their set like they do is something no one else can do.
 Sound: 8.3
 Lyrics: 9
 Overall Impression: 8.3
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reviews (3) 8 comments vote for this album:
overall: 8
Scab Dates Reviewed by: nineinch9, on october 28, 2005
26 of 40 people found this review helpful

Sound: The Mars Volta, without doubt, have shattered the boundaries of every genre and what music itself can do. Their first two studio albums are must own creations and are produced and executed so well and like no other band in music today, which also provides one of The Mars Volta's only flaws. Their albums being produced so well that they're almost impossible to replicate live. Such is the story of Scabdates, The Mars Volta's first live album. A brilliant band with an infinite amount of talent, forced to bounce around their own songs like they're afraid of them. Not to get me wrong, these guys are masters at what they do and improvising most of their set like they do is something no one else can do, but some of their improvising comes through as random noise rather then song, and names for their improvised tunes such as Gust Of Mutts sound like their was no effort put in at all and just stolen from Dr. Suess. Some will argue and of course none of their songs or their names are conventional by any means, but in the case of Scab Dates, they seem just a touch a lazy. // 8

Lyrics: Anyone whose listen to this band knows what to expect. The Mars Volta have always left a more or less fill in the blank feel to how you can aproach their songs. Scabdates is no exception. Mr. Zavala has no problem with the high notes in parts but in others, again, sound a little lazy. // 8

Overall Impression: Not to take away anything from The Mars Volta or anything they have done, but Scab Dates left me feeling just the slightest bit disappointed. Clearly one of the most talented bands around, and don't get me wrong with the negative points, Scab Dates is a good effort by them, it's just not perfect. Something a lot of people have to come to expect from a band that usually mixes and toils with their projects until they get absolutely what they want. Something in the names and how it was put together just seems like it was either rushed out of their hands and on to store shelves before it was ready. // 8

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overall: 8.7
Scab Dates Reviewed by: shotgunjoe, on march 15, 2006
3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Sound: 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. // 8

Lyrics: 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. // 10

Overall Impression: 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

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overall: 9
Scab Dates Reviewed by: rjc_15, on january 09, 2006
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: First of all, I'm a very big Mars Volta fan. Ever since a friend of mine turned me on to them I haven't really stopped listening. I always wanted to see them live, and well, due to lack of funds I haven't been able to. A live album was just what I needed, however it was nothing I expected. The sound of it was fairly good, although Omar left out a lot of riffs and solos. // 9

Lyrics: The lyrics, as with any Mars Volta CD, are very strange at best. However, once you get a grip on the tales being told, then it all seems to make sense in a strange sort of way. The lyrics on this record are all pretty much from songs already put out by the band, save the parts of "Take The Veil Cerpin Taxt", which include "Gust Of Mutts" and "And Ghousted Pouts." However Cedric is pretty good on this record, although I prefer him on the studio albums. He sometimes misses entire parts, or just sounds horrible, such as in the chorus of "Cicatiz ESP," which didn't quite fly over very well in my opinion. Still, Cedric has an awesome voice and he clearly showcases it. // 9

Overall Impression: This album, in my opinion, is the worst of The Mars Voltas' catalog. Simply because there are times of pretty much white noise, where you wonder if the album is over or not. On Frances The Mute, there was spaces, sure, but they were filled in with over-the-top noises and psychotropic background imagery. What I really liked was some of the guitar work on the album, but alas, I hated how they didn't end "Take The Veil Cerpin Taxt" the way it was ended on the album. That was my favorite part of the entire album, and it was left out. But still, I would buy it again if it was stolen, and I still recommend it to anyone who is a fan. // 9

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