Album Reviews


The Mars Volta

The Bedlam in Goliath  Hear it Now

RS: 4of 5 Stars Average User Rating: 4.5of 5 Stars


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"I'm starting to feel a miscarriage coming on," Cedric Bixler-Zavala announces in a tremulous bark in "Goliath," well into the crowded cerebral-metal violence of the Mars Volta's fourth studio album. It is late warning. Torsos already fly as thick and fast as the wasp-army guitars and rock-slide drumming in the first track, "Aberinkula." Bixler-Zavala and guitarist-producer Omar Rodriguez-Lopez work furiously to achieve prog-rock transgression: compressing dissected time signatures and stammering riffs into seizures that sound like three Mars Voltas going off at once, splashed with the non-sequitur gore of Bixler-Zavala's singing in tongues (inspired this time, the band swears, by lethal spirits conjured on a Ouija board Rodriguez-Lopez found in Jerusalem). Parts of Bedlam seem indistinguishable from the frenzy on 2005's Frances the Mute, and it gets precariously close to nonsense. At one point in "Metatron," Bixler-Zavala appears to be in a different key and headspace from the rest of the Volta. But there is a great leap in the songwriting — closer to classic hard-rock force and melodic drama — that, in "Goliath," "Cavaletta" and the Holy City atmospheres of "Soothsayer," is even more jolting than the weirdness. It doesn't help you get any sense from a lyric like "I am a deaf con of Angora goats." But as Bixler-Zavala crows in "Cavaletta," "If you came here/For semantics/It's only a matter of folding/Time and space/Before I become your epidemic."


(Posted: Feb 7, 2008)


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Review 1 of 7

AshTrey1 writes:

5of 5 Stars

This is an excellent record. I find it interesting and entertaining to know the story behind the album while listening to it, it makes it more of a story and in terms of concept albums done by the Volta this is the best next to De-Loused. I'm kinda of tired of that comparison that people make of new Volta records against De-Loused. A great album don't get me wrong but I think the reason people love it so much is because it was so fresh and new to them at that time and now they expect the Volta to wow them with another new sound from record to record which is obviously difficult to do which is why we have this rehash bullshit being pumped through the radio waves. The Bedlam in Goliath has so much energy, maybe derived from their new and phenomenal drummer Thomas Pridgen or the fact that Omar said he nearly disbanded the group because of that demonic Ouija board. Whatever it is it sounds great and in my first listen without even knowing the concept of the album you could feel the transformation and felt as though you were seeing the story taking place. This record is very loud and you will discover that after the first track. I think this is the first album the have totally nailed next to De-Loused. In fact it is no my favorite of the Volta. If you love the Mars Volta your gonna love this one, in fact you probably already have it.

Feb 7, 2008 11:39:08

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Review 2 of 7

nowaybac123 writes:

4of 5 Stars

i felt the album was very solid if u ask me. i loved the fact that is was a funky album deffently going to the roots of the P-funk. and the rythem section, thoumas blasting ponding drum beats and fills are memerizing and juans amazing bass riffs where on the dot. but what i relly loved about this album was how it wasent all about omar uselly in volta albums the guitar deffently rise above the rest of the band. not bashing on omar he is probly the best thing since robert fripp i just liked the fact he clamed down and was more focused on persession and the rythem in this album and the band blending together as a whole. but omar stil has crazy riffs and amazing jazz fusion solos that bring u to the heavens and down to earth. and with cedric high pitched vocals and use of crazy effects on his voice it reminds me of the braineacks and with cedric amazing lyicrs and rymeing reminds me of syd barrit. and for thoes of you that only listin to de loced and france the mute open up ur mind and start cheaking out outher artisit like king crimson, bjorke. blonde redhead ,larry harlow. jhon coltrain even dub king lee perry all these artest deffently had a major impact on the volta and the musicget of your ass and stop lisiting to the widow over and over again cause the volta is more then that. and if your still craving sum volta cheak out there dub outfit de facto an amzing mixture of ambient sounds jazz and dub that only cedric, omar ikey owens and jermy ward can make.

Feb 6, 2008 19:17:33

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Review 3 of 7

Zeplike writes:

4of 5 Stars

I personally felt it was a great departure from their last two albums.This album seemed to get right to the music without any real interruptions or filler, which was a strong presence in Francis the Mute and Amputechture. By all means, this is not music for the faint of heart. There are a lot of things going on in the music; your 'average' music listener wouldn't nessessairily be attracted to the sound, at least by first listen. Although it is nowhere near De Loused (I doubt they will get there again) but I feels its a really solid album, and a welcome break from the past 2 releases.

Feb 2, 2008 13:08:30

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Review 4 of 7

TattooVampire writes:

1of 5 Stars

Too bad, I had such high hopes. They blew it man, and big time. Unintelligible gibbrish. The free form isn't free, it's a mess.

Feb 1, 2008 15:14:54

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Review 5 of 7

hennia writes:

3of 5 Stars

If you want to get into The Mars Volta, DO NOT start with this album. Start with De-loused and Frances the Mute, listen to each at least 5 times, then move on to this one; it's not as good as those two, but it's still good.

Jan 31, 2008 10:49:43

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Review 6 of 7

Shirdeutch writes:

2of 5 Stars

The release of The Mars Volta's fourth studio album, The Bedlam in Goliath, is further proof to the fact that while Deloused was an amazing achievement, it appears that it stunned even the members of the Mars Volta themselves. They really have no idea how it happened, and have been trying to recreate this success time and time again, in a variety of unlikely methods. When it comes down to it, it wasn't the guitar blips and churns that made De-loused at the Comatorium a great album. It also wasn't Omar's guitar technique of "hitting every possible note until something sounds right" nor was it Cedrix's distinguished high frequency vocals. It was the way all of those things were wrapped together with excellent melodies and efficient songwriting. The compositions were complicated, the arrangements were packed, it had so many features that under other circumstances would be irritating rather than beautiful, but it all fit together perfectly, delivering a complete artistic message. Every song had a beginning, an end, and a whole lot of unpredictable middle between them. But the songs were clear. They served their purpose perfectly... Read the rest of the review on the Solstice Coil site:

Jan 31, 2008 08:10:24

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Review 7 of 7

waldodio writes:

Not Rated

This sounds to me like a cross between Red Hot Chili Peppers and Rush on crystal meth. Not my cup of tea, but I can see the young-tattoed-facial-hair-covered-wearing-a-rasta-hat-for-no-real-reason-other-than-trying-to-look-bohemian crowd digging it.

Jan 30, 2008 10:35:03

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