The Bedlam In Goliath Review

artist: The Mars Volta date: 02/07/2008 category: compact discs
The Mars Volta: The Bedlam In Goliath
Release Date: Jan 29, 2008
Label: Universal
Genres: Post-Hardcore, Punk Metal, Progressive Metal, Neo-Psychedelia, Thrash
Number Of Tracks: 12
The Bedlam In Goliath is simply loud-loud-loud, virtually every song played at maximum volume and tempo.
 Sound: 8.4
 Lyrics: 7.8
 Overall Impression: 8
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (11) 100 comments vote for this album:
overall: 9.3
The Bedlam In Goliath Featured review by: UG Team, on february 07, 2008
5 of 11 people found this review helpful

Sound: Wow. It's been less than 2 years since The Mars Volta, an offshoot of the highly influential but, sadly, forgotten band At the Drive-In. Cedric Bixler-Zavla and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, however, were not too quick to give up on the music scene. Rather, the two El Paso natives gathered a menagerie of misfit musicians to meddle in music. The Mars Volta, which officially contains 9 members, including John Frusciante, of Red Hot Chili Peppers fame, Thomas Pidgen, the winner of the Guitar Center Drum-Off at age 9 and youngest recipient of a Zildjian endorsement in the history of the company at age 10, and Isaiah "Ikey" Owens, a former member of Sublime, Reel Big Fish, and Long Beach Dub Allstars. Of course, this is the official count. The unofficial count would range from 15 to 25, meaning that there is obviously no shortage of manpower and technical prowess for the ensemble. This ragtag group, changing members as much as a football team changes players on the field (and having about the same number of players) produced two critically acclaimed albums in "De-Loused in the Comatorium", an album that played off Rodriguez-Lopez's and Bixler-Zavla's former work with At the Drive-In, and "Frances the Mute", a record that worked more with their latin roots and jazzy effects, along with a lot of ambiance that could've come right off a 1960s psychedelic record; they have also released the less successful "Amputechture", an altogether underwhelming experience when faced with the great music that The Mars Volta has made before.

Now, let's begin. "The Bedlam in Goliath" is a different monster of an album. Combining the fast attacks of "De-Loused" and the jazzy, latin sounds of "Frances the Mute", "Bedlam" is a highly energetic and, altogether, strange album, even for The Mars Volta. The songs range from 9 minutes to 2 minutes in length and are filled with tons of amazing soundscapes and powerful attacks that fans of "De-Loused" will find as a welcome return. As well, "Frances" fans won't be disappointed with the return of the lo-fi, almost steamy sections of songs. Overall, the sound of this album is incredible just because of the incorporation of a myriad of guitar, vocal, saxophone, electronic, and all other noises that are able to remind the listener of past TMV ventures yet keep them excited about the new sound. // 10

Lyrics: This is going to be a bit complicated to explain. Consider "Frances". It had the smooth, almost sultry sounds and then, on the other end of the spectrum, the distorted vocals that made you wonder who came up with such an idea. Well, get ready for more of both. Especially the latter. The distortion on the vocals is rampant throughout the album, with the first two songs making the singers seem like Alvin and the Chipmunks with sinus problems, while others will have Cedric singing along with what appears to be a recording of a demon. Obviously, this band's interest in technological editing is not gone yet. Of course, the distortion is not a bad thing at all, it just takes some acclimation on the listener's part. Don't worry, though, Cedric does find time to sing normally. Lyrically, the album is up to the The Mars Volta standards, writing songs about their favorite topics, none of which make any sense except to them. But TMV fans will have come to expect that. The rhythm of the lyrics change on this album, though. While many follow the patterns of past albums, with lyrics almost flowing over, some lyrics just seem out of place in the song rhythmically, though these occurrences are rare and, luckily, don't disrupt the song's flow. // 8

Overall Impression: Another milestone in the career of one the most innovative bands out there, "The Bedlam in Goliath" is the Mars Volta at their best, with sharp, powerful attacks riding on carefully calculated waves of musical prowess. In terms of accessibility, good luck. This album is laden with so many effects it's surprising they're able to reproduce the sound live (but they find a way). Some of the most impressive songs, in my opinion, are "Goliath", "Wax Simulacra", and "Metatron", although each song on the album has its place and makes for an excellent listen. Anyone who has enjoyed the first three albums from the Mars Volta will find this one just as exciting. // 10

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overall: 9.7
The Bedlam In Goliath Reviewed by: TJM2482, on february 07, 2008
3 of 6 people found this review helpful

Sound: The Bedlam In Goliath is The Mars Volta's follow up to 2006's 'Amputechture'. Hyped by it's fans, and criticized by skeptics as another TMV album coming too, is finally here. This album takes out a lot of the excess random ambient noise from past records, giving you a more meaty, full record. This album is apparently based off of the experiences the band had with an object similar to a Ouija board. And yes, you would be correct by that description, it is a trippy record. It has the franticness and salsa-influenced sounds you've come to expect, but instead of it being a few "busy" songs, every song is consistently active. If you were sick of all the ambient wankery in past albums, you'll probably be in for a joy with this album. This isn't an album for the close-minded, it's aggressive, progressive, trippy, all you would come to expect from The Mars Volta. // 10

Lyrics: I like Cedric's vocals, I've grown on them since I first heard "The Widow" back a few years ago on TV. He has a good voice for the music, it really matches the frantic guitar parts and up tempo drumming. The vocals, much like past TMV efforts, don't make much sense when taken on literally. It's catchy, much less "annoying" as some past songs, if you want to call it that. It's a lot like Deloused at the Comatorium in a sense, except without the slower, more calm songs like Televaors. If you liked his vocals before, you'll like him just as much if not more on this record. If you're critical of his vocals, you'll probably still dislike him, but this album really shortens up the list of complaints you could possibly have. His vocals in a word are "funky", the sound itself is pretty similar to Amputechture, which was probably one of my only likes about the album. This album brings the sweetness of Cedric, but this time over a better soundscape, and overall a better album. // 10

Overall Impression: I've only given it a couple listens, so the "OMG new Mars Volta" shock is still setting in. I've tried to adjust my review accordingly. It's a step forward after the misstep of Amputechture (even though many loyal TMV fans liked it). The album feels like one long journey of a song, considering it's a concept album. Because of this, it's hard to really pick a favorite song. They're all mostly catchy, dynamic, all that progressive good stuff you saw from them years ago. I love the up tempo salsa drumming, great guitar work, and the more polished vocals of Ceddy. My dislike is also one of my likes, the fact that it feels like one huge song. While this is great for a concept album, it makes it harder to pick out any real album-defining songs, and it also takes of some of the dynamics they have had in the first few albums, going from fast songs to slow. If I lost it, I'd probably be pissed considering I just got it, but I'd re-buy it not only because I'm a TMV fan, but because it's a great modern progressive rock album, that brings that TMV sound that is really missing from every other mainstream band today, as well as in recent years. // 9

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overall: 10
The Bedlam In Goliath Reviewed by: The Baphomets, on april 28, 2008
3 of 4 people found this review helpful

Sound: The latest album by The Mars Volta was interesting with Thomas Pridgen as their newest member on drums, giving the band a much quicker, louder, and stronger drum line. However, with the drumming so loud and so much going on in each song at the same time it made it difficult to identify the unique styles and sound of the instruments individual and instead turning it into a mash of constant loudness in such songs as Goliath or Cavalettas. I will admit I do enjoy the environmental and ambient image given by Soothsayer with the image in mind of Jerusalem. And off and on appealing melodies in songs like Agadez and Ilyena or Conjugal Burns are a large appeal to this album, but not letting go of their abstract roots which drew many to this band in the first place. // 10

Lyrics: Like most Mars Volta songs, Cedric Bixler-Zavala's singing accented and cooperated well with instrumentals. The one thing I noticed about the lyrics in this album was that, unlike past albums, not one song featured Spanish in it. A lot of the songs did however include Hebrew and Jewish roots to it, for example: Metatron. I noticed this transition into Judaism on the previous album Amputechture with the song Tetragrammaton and Vicarious Atonement. This album's lyrics may have been easier to write do to the fact that it is thematic because it is mostly a concept album. // 10

Overall Impression: In comparison to other albums, I did enjoy The Bedlam in Goliath, but I would prefer Frances The Mute over it. It is certainly their most aggressive album yet and Thomas Pridgen is a fantastic drummer with many impressive achievements in his younger years. I found the speed of the drumming and the technique very impressive throughout the album and the progression is still their. If this CD was lost it would be an upset and I would probably re-buy it on iTunes. Overall The Mars Volta proved once again to be a valuable part of the prog/rock scene and I hope for more albums epic, diverse, and unique albums from them. // 10

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overall: 4
The Bedlam In Goliath Reviewed by: SeVeN 2 eLeVeN, on february 07, 2008
2 of 26 people found this review helpful

Sound: The mars volta I think, is one of the greatest bands alive today. But I feel this new album is deffinatly not there best. The band is so much better then this. I'll start by saying this, every song on the album sounds the same. Some people may butcher me and disagree, but everysong has a similar beat, and structure. Mars volta is known for there non-standard song structure, but most of the songs follow a verse-chorus-verse-chorus-instrumental-chorus structure (and very drawn out too). Cedrics singing is deffinatly not at his full potential. He is more talking then he is singing in this album. There are no epic vocal moments like in Frances the mute. Even the band I don't feel is at there full potential. There are no guitar riffs or standout, or amazing bass solos or great sax solos. The ones that are there just feel like they were thrown in there. Some may ask about the new drummer. He is a very very very very very good drummer, but I feel like, in all the songs, he is just blasting away the drum set really fast. I don't like the way the album is mixed either. It just sounds like, layer apon layer apon layer. // 4

Lyrics: Of coarse the lyrics are very abstract, typical mars volta. It actually seems like the song tittles are more abstract then the lyrics. But for those who don't know, the albums story is about, a quija board, called "soothsayer" that Omar gave to cedric as a gift from Israel. The band begins to mess around with the Quija baord but it seems like it brings them bad luck. Omars basement gets flooded, there engineer goes crazy, yada yada yada. That's pretty much what the album is about. You know what though, this may sound harsh, but I don't really care about the lyrics now. Cedric does not present the lyrics good. as Stated before, his singing is just not what it should be. // 4

Overall Impression: Please don't get me wrong, the mars volta is one of my favorite bands, I have evey album by them and know all about them. But this album is jsut a dissapointment. Which is ironic because this was probaly the most advertised album of them all (I've never even seen a commercial for amputechture). All and all, this album is just dull, and unexciting. // 4

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overall: 8.7
The Bedlam In Goliath Reviewed by: brad.kenny, on february 08, 2008
2 of 4 people found this review helpful

Sound: The Mars Volta have been around for a long time if you are looking at bands today. I've been wanting to get this album for about, since the last one came out. The music is so different then everyone else it immediately was out-of-this-world style. The sound on this particular album was especially different because of the introduction of the new drummer, Thomas Pridgen. You can clearly hear the drums are more intense from the start with the song, Aberinkula. The story behind this album was one of my favourite with the spirit that this album was based off of. It was one of intrest and disturbia, (Go play the Mars Volta online game). But since there were only a few songs on this album that I purely enjoyed I will only give this a 7-8, more or less a 8. // 8

Lyrics: This is a Mars Volta album, so you are going ot expect the lyrics that are always, "odd"? But what, Cedric has done here is put together a great piece of work, one of my favourite songs which is judged on the lyrical work is the song, Ilyena. I also enjoyed the video very much, especially with Omar playing his part. Cedric tried to keep the tempo of his lyrics with the tempo of the music which in today's world of no sense of music is a brilliant prefromance of it's own. If you like The Mars Volta and try to get as much little info as I do, you would learn the Cedric has the vocal ability to the highest note masculinly possible, and although he didn't do it here, his vocals should be put in the top ten. // 9

Overall Impression: The Mars Volta can only be compared to one other band. That is The MArs Volta itself, trying to compare The Mars Volta to any other band is just useless. Possible the most impressive song on this album is the average length 7:15 song, Goliath. What I love is the energy it emmits and the fact that it is one of the already classic Mars Volta songs like, Eriatarka, and The Widow. The only thing I do hate is that it goes to a solo pretty early. I would possible go into a mental breakdown if this was stolen. // 9

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overall: 10
The Bedlam In Goliath Reviewed by: laquerhead, on july 12, 2008
1 of 3 people found this review helpful

Sound: Wow the sounds on this album are explosive. Great music to listen to anytime for me or anyone who likes fast paced music. It drops right into fast hard hitting music from the beginning of the CD to the end. But not all the songs are completly fast paced, some have acoustic intro and lower end-of-the-scale speed on them. It also has a very latin feel to it in some songs and mixes other genres and styles in others. The Mars Volta really hit it off with this CD. // 10

Lyrics: The lyrics are impressive too. If you've listened to the other Albums by The Mars Volta you'll know that the lyrics are composed of very confusing and complex words sometimes mixed with Spanish phrases. I'd say that Omar has a very complex vocabulary. The vocal range of Omar's voice is amazing. His style is very complicated and strange without the effects! // 10

Overall Impression: This album is amazing, so amazing that I would very well buy another one to replace it. I love the fact that this album has so many variating styles, effects, and sounds. If you like music with crazy changing sounds and styles then this is the album for you; or if you just flat out like The Mars Volta then you would already know what I'm talking about and already have this CD! Impressive tracks: Goliath, Aberinkula, Metatron, Wax Simulacra, and Agadez. These are the hooking tracks on the album (to me anyway). They all have hooks all throughout the songs and will drag you into the song. These songs have tons of emotion and feeling in them. For lack of a better word this album is great. // 10

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overall: 9
The Bedlam In Goliath Reviewed by: unregistered, on march 10, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: 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. // 9

Lyrics: 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. // 9

Overall Impression: 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. // 9

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overall: 6.3
The Bedlam In Goliath Reviewed by: jefffelker40, on june 10, 2008
0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: The sound of this album is not as aggressive as the band would like you to think, the concept of this album is hard to get into the band used an evil ouija board to summon an evil spirit or something like that, it kind of loses me there, because I have a hard time caring about people that purposefully put themselves in the way of danger to get attention, I can't see how the album theme is different. Ignoring all that, this is a good album, the guitar work is innovative and how couldn't it be with john helping the guys out. // 7

Lyrics: The lyrics are good. I am a fan of the lyrics, just not of the concept, I don't see them being aggressive, not really, fast paced, along with the music, and exciting and upbeat most of the time. It doesn't drag you down like Francis the mute. On the other hand it's a really hard listen, not something you could easily listen to all the way through. // 7

Overall Impression: It compares with other Mars volta songs I think, ouroborous is my favorite, most of the songs seem old and dated and I don't know why, it will grow on you, but it will take a really long time, it lacks emotionally some how as well, I have really mixed feelings about this album, in a way it feels rushed, like they felt they just had to make something to have something made. // 5

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overall: 9.3
The Bedlam In Goliath Reviewed by: salamander121, on august 13, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: Ah yes, the progressive, psychedelic, funk, rock group return again with what must be there best album so far. The Mars Volta, always seen by there two front-men the whiney vocalist Cedric Bixler-Zavala and the eccentric lead guitarist Omar Rodrguez-Lpez, have brought us nothing but the best of mind-blowingly good music. This time, with "The Bedlam In Goliath", inspired by Cedric's Ouija board, and the mysterious 'Soothsayer', you practically tell it's going to be complete chaos or complete chaos. Also an extra attachment was new drummer Thomas Pridgen, who I have to say when seen live, is amazing and really is another great asset to the band. But anyway, first looks at their newest album, it seems could be the best I have seen all year. // 10

Lyrics: Cedric, in my own view, has a very individual sounding voice. Especially good at hitting those really high notes that I don't any other band I know could. So he really provides some special to the band. As for the lyrics, the key thing about Mars Volta is that they are very hard to decipher, sometimes I'm not even sure they're making any sense whatsoever. But this can also be used to an advantage as whether it's a song about love or hate or flying pigs, he can sing it in anyway he wants and it still wouldn't sound like it's wrong. With crazy music comes crazy vocals, as fans know from the previous albums. // 8

Overall Impression: You can't really compare this to many other albums as it has so many genres, some of which I can't even hear in the music but then again, I'm still learning many music concepts every day and I might pick them up sometime. The most impressive songs have to be 'Aberinkula' simply because it's a great intro to the album and the other would be 'Goliath' because it rips through the main song, getting to a slow part, builds up and blows you down. However, there are some things I have to dislike about this album and with some of the other Mars Volta records would be the amount of 'noodling' in some songs. basically, the parts where Omar just plays odd riffs over and over, tweaking them. It can sometimes sound like he's jamming and not working properly as a musician, but he has formed his own quintet full of the stuff if you do enjoy it. To finish up, if you were a fan of the previous work, then you will not be disappointed by their latest works. // 10

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overall: 7.7
The Bedlam In Goliath Reviewed by: jibran, on october 24, 2008
0 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sound: Like a psychedelic boar, the salvador Dali's of music, The Mars Volta return the scene with their fourth major effort 'The Bedlam in Goliath' and prove that you cannot always do the same thing over and over and over and over again. The Octet which mutated out of the ashes of post-hardcore ovelords 'At the drive-in', are known for their funkadelic fusion of progressive hardcore and Jazz and proved themsleves quite the rock act. But this time around, they seem to lack the punch which their previous records featured. The album explodes from the violent 'Aberinkula', which is quite the opener which should impress even the haters with the dynamics featured within. 'Aberinkula' is a template which most of the songs are based on of the album and should provide the listener a good idea of what they are in for. Guitarist/Arranger/Frank Zappa-man Omar A. Rodriguez Lopez as always shines on this record, his loopy and acidic leads are quite exciting but feel somewhat recycled after the 356th jazz breakdown. Bass player and Racer X alumini, Juan Alderete is truly the anchor the band; who keeps most songs on form even if the guitars and keyboards stray from tangent. The musical prowess on this record is awe-inpiring. But a question does come up: 'technical for the sake of technical? ', maybe so but at least they do not go the levels of other bands; for God's sake, they're not 'Behold... the arctopus'. On the note of technical skills, the newly recruited drummer Thomas Pridgen is quite notable. The young man is an organic drum-machine, but as always there is a catch; he is nothing creatively on former drummer Jon Theodore who of now is jamming with Zach Dela Rocha. // 9

Lyrics: Vocalist and lyricist Cedric Bixler Zavala, claims upon his soul that this album is cursed; TBIG is apparently the product of a malicious Ouja board which had not only almost broke up the band, but also ruined the album. The lyrics are highly metaphorical almost at at the level of being nonsenical. Truly, if you intend to decipher this album, good luck. You have lost yourself many years. There is some disgusting yet beautiful imagery on this record which should not be ignored. Bixler-Zavala has traded in his soaring old style of vocals for an exasperated high snarl, the old Robert Plant emulations are still present, but not as much as the masses would want as the snarls get on the nerves. // 7

Overall Impression: Sigh. If the Rodriguez-Lopez and Bixler-Zavala still consider themselves 'highly progressive', they have became figures of walking irony. The album does not expand on anthing new, it is not as bombastic or exciting as the first two records, ad surprisingly it seems like the technical skill has lowered from their last effort. While Rodriguez-Lopez's solo work constantly gains momentum, his main project is slowly growing musical fungus. While we wait for TMV's new album in hope of rediscovered brilliance, this one reviewer is going to listen to some Mastodon... // 7

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overall: 4.7
The Bedlam In Goliath Reviewed by: GoToSleep, on december 03, 2008
0 of 4 people found this review helpful

Sound: This is their worst album to date. I think you will either get it or not, love it or hate it, for the most part. It's all over the place. It rocks in some places and the guitar is good as always, but even that doesn't compare with previous releases. The production isn't as good either. I think they tried too hard on this one, it just leaves you empty wanting something else. There is traces of their past albums, but no new sound really, nothing that grabs you like past albums. // 5

Lyrics: Crazy lyrics as usual. Nothing new here. I don't have a problem with the lyrics, but I do have a major problem with Cedric's singing. I don't understand why they put all of those effects on his voice. It ruins his voice and he now sings even higher than before and I cringed listening to him throughout the whole cd. It started with Amputechture, and while it worked with that and could be overlooked, it just doesn't work here. He now sounds like a robotic chipmunk. Very disappointing because I love his normal singing voice. // 4

Overall Impression: Like I said, it is their absolute worst release yet. While I love their unusual ideas with concepts and lyrics, the music fails this time around. The only worthy tracks on here are Soothsayer, although very pompous and overproduced, like much of the album, and Conjugal Burns. Don't buy it. // 5

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