Music Review: The Mars Volta's sonic assault"The Bedlam in Goliath"

The Mars Volta, "The Bedlam in Goliath" (Universal)

Words do no justice to The Mars Volta.

Returning with another genre-bending concept piece on their fourth long-player, "The Bedlam in Goliath," The Mars Volta remain a testament to the idea that hearing is believing.

This is not so much a band as a creative trust between guitarist/arranger Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and lyricist/vocalist Cedric Bixler-Zavala, who team with an array of musicians, including Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante, to bring their collaborations to life.

On "The Bedlam in Goliath," the concept revolves around an Ouija-like spirit board the duo toyed with and began to cull ideas from for the record, including song titles, lyrics and the story arc of saints and sinners which takes on a life of its own.

You may scoff and shake your head at their muse " but the result is a sonic masterpiece.

The wildly prolific Rodriguez-Lopez is nothing if not a guitar wizard, churning out blazing riffs and space rock atmosphere while Bixler-Zavala brings his wonderfully artful and at times incomprehensible lyrics to life with scorching wails.

"Soothsayer," "Ilyena," "Goliath" and "Cavalettas" boast more ambition alone than most discs, and that only begins to scratch the surface of the complex arrangements that remain tightly harnessed.

Beneath the prog rock ambitions lies a true punk/hardcore spirit, making their diversions into odd time signatures, free form jazz, eastern and Latin grooves, funk and psychedelia exciting and energetic. Something fresh and unexpected lurks in every corner.

But, again, words do no justice to The Mars Volta.

Hearing is believing.

CHECK THIS OUT: There's no obvious intro to TMV's design " they need to be heard in full " but if I must then disc opener "Aberinkula" is it, with a slick riff and apocalyptic chorus that set the table for this incredible effort.


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