Sound — 9
Very energetic, powerful rock music. This album is what the last one should have been. This album is good as the band is able to once again make music that sounds different from their previous stuff, yet sounds like the Volta. The new drummer is really great and they obviously focused on making the drums sound very powerful as they are loud and fast throughout the whole album. This is more a good thing, but sometimes can be overwhelming. Personally I love crazy drums, so I really enjoy it, but it does get crazy. One thing they have improved on is having the "strange-sound" interludes, but not letting them last too long, as the transitions are very good on this album compared to the the previous ones. But lets be honest, The Mars Volta is for a certain kind of music lover, one who likes is sick of boring mainsteam sounds and someone with an adventurous open mind, and sophisitcated musical palette. This album will feed this kind of person sufficiently.
Lyrics — 9
Typical Cedric-type lyrics, mysterious yet pointing toward a certain feeling or notion. There are actually some catchy parts, such as one Goliath "never heard a man speak like this man before." this is a very cool and powerful part of the song, which may be the best on the album. I suppose the lyrics are focused on spiritual/religious ideas as flows from the Jerusalem-inspired concept and is shown through the religious content of the artwork. The overall feel is one of troublesome occurances and deep, powerful, transcending revelations. Not Cedric at his best (frances the mute was cedric at his best) but nonetheless he matches the band perfectly.
Overall Impression — 9
It would have been a much better thing for TMV to have combined the best from this album with the best from last album, that way they would have continued their string of fantastic albums instead of misstepping on Amputechture and putting out a "better" album with Bedlam. But I am pleased with this album because it really does grab you and take you through some pretty incredible musical episodes. There are not any bands that compare, and no other band with satisfy those musical cravings you had after you heard Deloused and Frances. I love that they decided to go balls out and rock hard. But I hate that it's still not as good as Deloused and Frances. It's as if those first two albums were meant to happen, and now they have to try too hard to create their music. This album is great, but even more than the first two, it's music that is more appreciated by someone listing to it my themselves then playing it for other uninitiatd listeners.