I’m getting a little tired of The Mars Volta. For several years, they were every Alternative Rock magazine’s wet dream, and enjoyed a steady stream of positive press, despite their reportedly wretched live show and their penchant for undigestible filler in their albums. Even I have been a faithful listner, purchasing both of their albums and really digging it when they rock out, and usually fast-forwarding through the 5 and 6-minute “jam” sessions (read: either noise or ambient) between hooks.

The Mars Volta • AmputechtureBut I just don’t see as much to love in Amputechture, their new album. They’ve dropped the odd pretenses of Francis the Mute like cutting up their songs in curious ways, but they’ve kept their same familiar habit of dissonant jams that linger just a bit too long before they provide some musical meat for the listener again.

Oh, Amputechture‘s still classic Mars Volta, but maybe that’s the problem. Much of their earlier work suggested a unique band solidifying its sound, but I don’t feel as though they’ve grown at all as musicians or as an act—the same tricks that weren’t as impressive the first time, the same bullshit intellectualism (“In this song, I’m going to string together a long list of medical terms into nonsequiturs! In the next song, I’m going to do the same thing, but we’ll have six minutes of monotonous guitar jamming first!”), the same bone thrown to Omar’s hispanic heritage (there’s an obligatory one song per album that’s sung in Spanish), the same sloppy-cuz-it’s-cool approach to soloing to hide the fact that The Mars Volta aren’t very good musicians compared to their “progressive rock” brethren.

But I suppose my main objections to Amputechture are that it seems to be an album written out of obligation rather than true creative spirit. It plods along, using the same instrumental backdrops until they become white noise and the album sounds like Cedric shrieking his word salad a capella. I can’t recall, after listening to the disc several times, any parts to seek to, anything that popped at me or stood out in any way. I could not imagine that such a fucked-up (in a good way) album could be so incredibly boring, but it is. The Mars Volta’s grab bag of musical tricks strikes me as droll and little else.

The sad truth is Amputechture is a straightforward Mars Volta album. Prior to this, I thought such a thing was a contradiction in terms, but the boys have unfortunately proved otherwise.

§1307 · August 19, 2006 · Tags: , ·

19 Comments to “The Mars Volta • Amputechture”

  1. keser1ne says:

    i totaly DISagreeee with this piece of shit review and want to point out, if you were a true TMV listener you would have a fukin clue as to how this album is way moore elevated than the other 3.


    a TRUE MarsVolta FAN!

  2. Ben says:

    Lovely logic there, my friend.

    1. If I was a True Believer™, I would apprecate the album.

    2. If I appreciated the album, I would be a True Believer™

    What is it about The Mars Volta, exactly, would I “get” if I possessed this mystical quality that you do (hint: it’s not a gift for spelling)? It must not be anything like a generally good ear for music, or any other of those band-agnostic qualities. Maybe I just didn’t get my True Believer™ decoder ring that I can use to translate “Tetragrammaton” into its original Standard American English.

    So please: enlighten me. Share your special gift for musical appreciation and tell me why Amputechture is “elevated.” Maybe if you actually give me a coherent reason instead of the inarticulate jabbering you’ve produced so far, I’ll have a reason not to simply laugh at your miserable trolling.

    Thank you, and have a nice day.

  3. keser1ne says:

    Ok listen, there are two kinds of music in the world. Good music and Bad music.
    You dont have to be some articulate writer to know the difference between the two.
    To say the mars volta are not talented musicians is a fuckin insult to real musicians
    everywhere. Why the fuck should we give a shit what some dickless idiot ROBOT has
    to say about anything. Keep letting the media control you ROBOT. You fuckin SHEEP.
    Go give NICKELBACK a good review so all the other SHEEP will love YOU…Fuckin toy.

    Yours Truly,

    Mr. Nice Guy

  4. Ben says:

    Yes, I don’t like The Mars Volta’s new album. Therefore, you can logically conclude that I am a Nickelback fan and a dickless-idiot-robot. Fantastic work there, Skippy.

    By the way, I love how you act as though liking The Mars Volta suddenly makes you some sort of indie music buff, and the rest of us are tools, shackled to The Media (I think you mean ‘The Music Industry’) and forever married to the gruesome fate of mainstream music. The Mars Volta are a major band on a major label; they have music videos and MTV appearances and interviews in Rolling Stone. If you think that appreciating their music somehow makes you special, unique, or gifted, then you’re the one drinking the kool-aid. Do you also shop at Hot Topic?

  5. Anonymous says:

    You idot ROBOT writers are all the same. You go to collage for four years to let some old, wrinkled, rich white fuck tell you that you can write, and all of a sudden your a writer.(bet daddy paid for collage to?…..Yea, thought so) Well let me tell what real talent is. Its taking a paint brush and some paint in your hands, and painting a fuckin masterpiece. Its picking up a guitar with no lessons, and writing a song so good that it makes your girlfriend cry. A third grader can pass judgement on another person by writing mean words on a piece of paper. Do you get what im sayin? Or is it not “articulate” enough for you? Fuckin Clown!

    Once again,

    Mr. Nice Guy

  6. Ben says:

    A third grader can pass judgement on another person by writing mean words on a piece of paper […] Fuckin Clown!

    Define “irony.”

    More to the point: am I to take it from your sloppy diatribe that I haven’t the right to dislike an album because I’m an IT major instead of a starving artist? Or perhaps I’m allowed to dislike the album, but not allowed to articulate why. Perhaps you would like to be the ultimate arbiter of which albums are good and which aren’t. By your own admission, you claim to ‘get it,’ so maybe you’re an idiot savant, incapable of rational thought or passable spelling, but possessing an ear for music and a passion for a populist approach to art that sends us haughty “collage” boys running for the hills.

    Further, I would agree with you that “real talent” is indeed “painting a masterpiece” or “writing a [good] song.” That is, more or less, the accepted definition of the word, but I thank you for correctly imparting to me your sole nugget of wisdom.

    And, because I can’t resist one last ad hominem attack:

    Its [sic] picking up a guitar with no lessons, and writing a song so good that it makes your girlfriend cry.

    Is that what you did? Does your girlfriend think you’re special? That’s sweet. I bet your mommy thinks you’re special, too.

  7. Ellen says:

    H –
    you really ought to realize just how very outclassed you are my Mr. Nice Guy. I mean – compare the advanced manner in which he puts his arguments versus your arguments. I mean – I bet you’re so limited you don’t quite get the distinction between “fukin” and “fuckin”, or understand why disagree needs 4 e’s. He has clearly worked much harder articulating a coherent view than you have, as any “true fan” would. Perhaps you need to reconsider reviewing music until you can obtain this elevated level of communication – as evidenced by his willingness to review work himself and give a review on his site and expose his reviews to the general public and such – I keep coming back to the term “advanced” -advanced scrutiny as he is willing to impart onto others.

    For shame!

  8. […] Even though one commenter thinks I’m an “idot” for not liking it, I have nothing good to say about the latest Mars Volta album. Certainly, I liked their first two albums, even though they had begun to indulge in their own excesses by the time Frances the Mute […]

  9. Brian says:

    keser1ne & Mr. Nice Guy:
    I’m embarassed that there are people like you that listen to one of my favorite bands.


    I used to share almost the exact same opinion with you regarding Amputechture, and to an extent still do. Upon more listening, though, I became more partial the album as a distinct creative product of The Mars Volta (it actually became my favorite album by them). I think being able to see all three albums as unique entities, and especially as albums independent from the other works of the band. This album is different from Frances the Mute, and that was different from Deloused in the Comatorium. There is a certain amount of deliberation that I still see in this album that prevents me from completely agreeing with you about it seeming too automated, but I will agree that the band should try harder with their next album to prevent their music from becoming cannabalized by their other work – made generic by, ironically, the genre they define.

  10. Brian says:

    I think being able to see all three albums as unique entities, and especially as albums independent from the other works of the band, is important*

    Whoops, I forgot to finish my statement there.

  11. klipothdenizen says:

    ok…. where there is no love there is no justice. Amputechure is not an album for those who Hath not ears to hear with or no eyes to see with. im sorry if u dont understand how spiritually hygenic and true to the Metaphyical life of the soul that this music is. poetry doesnt get any realer than the Volta in the history of all life on earth… and Bedlam in goliath… from the 4 songs i have heard is better still … please study occultism if u really wanna know what their music is about. ok… Tetragramaton… Metatron.. all the religious stuff take a hint. its a universal law that sometimes strange pain can make for very good art… challenges challenges… if Mars Volta had all hell unleashed on them by some MYSTERIOUS forces… like they claim then its that exact thing that made the album what it is…… a most holy scream in timelessness.. one of the greatest pieces of art ever made EVER in the history of life on earth. the metaphysical quagmire of existence and truth has caused the mars volta to expand their souls into infinity practically and who are YOU to say anything about this album or their next one…. how about this… if u could read their minds… then u would know what this album was. fair enough

  12. Ben says:

    So, what you’re saying to me is, “Mars Volta have, like, intellectual stuff” in their lyrics. Buddy, I could write completely indecipherable crap too, riddled with a bunch of occult references from Wikipedia. The only difference is, I don’t try to wail the nonsense to a crowd of easily-impressed fanboys.

  13. klipothdenizen says:

    yeah im not defending them as people. but i love their music to me their obscure sense of poetry and theatrics fits the bill for my taste like no other… its not relatable unless u yourself are very very weird and intelligent. its very Jungian archetypal and the world needs more deep intellectuals like the Volta.. im sorry if u cant see anything to what they’re saying but they are saying something. if its your style to sit around and do math then theyre saying something. but i will say this…what a bunch of rowdy little children messing with the occult its hilarious. its just like Alister Crowley kinda. it does tell a story and we should read between the lines to everything we see and examine closely everything we defend. Cedric vocals Omar guitar.. yeah it is a brand name and im not a true believer trade mark Being… but well the catchiness is infectious. it is an immensely powerful ghost trap in essence just look at all the fans…sucks their fans right in. trying to believe that the mars volta are somehow more alive than them its just funny … its become a cult… its replaced god.. is that what the mars volta were trying to do i dunno.. but somehow they did and are responsible for it. its like trying to get off of hard drugs its that hard for me cause dammit theyre too good musicians. i think mars volta are super Gifted. perhaps there is somewhere over the rainbow where these contradictions and restrictions will no longer mystifiy me. and bring on the spanish by the way LOL. i mean a band playing for their Life… thats a pretty hilarious story of being way out of out of their depth. or are we who like it out of our depth? but we shouldnt think that they somehow arent ignorant fools like how everyone tries to act like they arent.. that would just be assumption. i am not some slave to other ppl for my soul and i take responsibility for everything… but mars volta arent know it alls.. or else they would have been able to seen the curse coming from a mile away and stopped it if they were for real. their jackass fans say stuff like if i dont make it to the show part of my soul will be gone. what an ignoramus. these short sighted cyclic witches like the mars volta make me sick and yet entertained at the same time. and they are the satanism peddlers that they speak so passionately out against when they speak of things as omg they burned witches.. well maybe the witches deserved it take a hint evildoers (mars volta if something happened to you how are u not responsible.. and dont be liars and perpetraitors thats just rude)…. and do u even know what the hell your talking about mars volta? you take the lords name yet you get cursed by something other? what the fuck. and hell yeah this does piss me off. they should just tell the truth. mars volta are egotistical pricks just like everyone… and evidently quite shitty even though they try and peddle this holier than thou crap. whatever unpleasant things happened to them their weakness landed them right in that spot.. i am not sincerely impressed with their antics like i could just die though i have been before like some of their fans but im catching on to what all this is.. which is why im not totally impressed anymore. cause its like u said indecipherable crap to the average person… who the mars volta is always pulling one over on without making any clear relevant goodhearted statements to try and help out on a regular basis other than purplehaze. and well they should take some responsibility for that. but that doesn’t mean their albums poetry in its essence is entirely existentially unpalatable. but i will say this…. if there is a Jesus Christ in heaven and a buddha and all this. I think he would send some messengers to symbolically kick their ass and put them in their place for being arrogant enough to take the lords name Tetragrammaton and use it for a song title which they are so stylishly mysterious about as if it were a joke and acting like foolish satanists etc. they are real wolves in martyrs clothing and so is all of humanity so yeah .. all these ppl stuck in this paradigm can just parish in my book. if you are going to try and be occult then dont be cursed u just look stupid! they can be ripped to shreds in the underworld and die a painful death if they keep this up im serious. if they are liars they deserve to get their asses kicked case closed. life is not a thing to be lived for the stupid or blind or vampires like the mars volta essentially are in this timeline… they are a silly contradiction and i theorize so is everyone because thats that what the test results have spoken to me. the question is how to cut the shit but no one really tries. ppl just need to act right and stop being shitty little small minded idiot parrots with no heart or decent thought in their souls other than empty cages of conditioning and survivalism. the album brings light to this issue it is really really great story "the story of the mars volta.. the story of life" but only if u can read between the lines.. the mars volta are a myth and people are a myth. too many easily impressed fanboys like u said. the mars volta do need to repent their foolish paranoid misconstrued sense of reality and get a grip cause its pretty pathetic. they’re snake oil salesmen.. and that is not respectable. a lesson of stability for the mars volta.. pun intended. forces of nature take down their studio! their Gold Standard lab was put to rest. they arent fooling me for one second. if this was what really fucking happened to them they deserved it for being weak bitch assholes. does that mean i hate the mars volta. does that mean i want them to be cursed no. it just means be honest. same goes to everyone else out there.. what assholes they are and they deserved all the shit if it happened to them. for being well… you know… weak little bitch-ass-holes.. not that i am not or anything but.. really yeah i hope they work on the fact that the only thing ever do is come off as clowns trying to be bad asses! what big charade.. humans piss me off. that goes out to every rock band in existence. and every person i have ever known including myself. God bless. does anyone know what im saying? does anyone hear a fucking word im saying… oh god i listened the mars voltas music and now im cursed omg hahahaha its funny but its not… snakeoil they are very unclear and rude. same goes to everyone else who lives in a sharded world of half forgotton rosey word vomit.. get straight you dumbasses… but i wouldnt bet my life on it that the mars volta is gonna help u with that shit.. doesnt look that way with this whole Satanic Panic ghost buster rock…. go get crushed if makes u so fucking happy

  14. klipothdenizen says:

    when i said i liked their taste i meant of chewing them up and spitting them out. theyre satanists. thats all santaria is. figure it out people. if you dont know you that you have been duped! this is the age of machine people. and ill fight you sick fuckers to the death you phantomimes. the mars volta has marketed your soul and sold you to Satan. as well as Marylin Manson and NIN and all these other bands. figure it out… they dont care about you and are robots themselves! study black magic you stupid stupid people… the bands are locusts and feed off your energy to be self important and make u confused. this whole world is a confusing trap and there is no salvation for the unwise HIVEMINDS. The Jesus and buddha were the real revolutationaries and they werent giving u the advice to be righteous as an option.. but as a curtosy that u dont even deserve if you cant understand it and your own mental hygene. please listen to the mars voltas lyrics they are trying to brain wash you and someone pissed them off very bad because someone figured them out. fuck you stupid black magic poser pussy user vampire bitches.. too the abyss and burn you shall go if you cannot see the patterns of your mind you poor trapped souls. this world is hell there is no reward here except pain and misery no matter where you turn. all of you fake stupid cyclic mother fuckers.. i mean almost every person u will ever meet. theyre liars and you should not give a damn about pathetic unreal people who cant do shit. oh you will say man hey u are unreal man.. and i will say so are u! you dont understand the quantum mind and i do better than you anyway. u stupid potsmoking barnyard animal.. the elites dont care about u but i do thats why im telling u what you are right now and saying you are a slave to your short sighted ideas of what you think is the truth. are machines and pathetic and deserve the pit of fire.

  15. Ben says:

    Good lord, are you serious?

    I’m trying to decide whether you fall under the category of “obnoxious troll” or just “eccentric and annoying fanboi.” Maybe there isn’t a difference.

  16. klipothdenizen says:

    Yes and I am an obnoxious troll.. a real life superdome gnome. and too eccentric to be called a fanboi. i have a very complex relationship with reality and i dont like no one. haa

  17. klipothdenizen says:

    I flamed the mars voltas Myspace. and i am a girl (X_X) i am sorry you dont know any other mind-readers or black magicians.. but they can be real plotty self-serving pricks kinda like David Plain and Piss Angel hahaa and well you ALL are ignorant to the secret hidden mindworlds.. study this quantum bitch reality man.. see the contents.. i see em and i dont appreciate the monotony of all these Scorcerers aka bots and a certain amount of elite musicians who have black hearts calling themselves spiritual… yeah too tight pants cutting off the mars voltas temporal lobe thats it.. too much artistic jacking off and we are supposed to love it.. the only thing i love it for is opening my eyes to what sick fucks everyone is. i have multiple personalities but I side with the one who isnt a fangirl.. infact i side with my inner spirit who is everything and nothing and i dont have to defend… there are no words man there are no words for the brainwashing i have seen man.. I am a Saturnian grim reaper. the mars volta are toys but so was I to like them and elliot smith.. now i see they were tarded as well as all mars voltas fanbase and their friends who got them self kizzled… shape up or ship out down into the pit .. read Dante’s Inferno… get over ur whiney emo bitch ass egocentric emotional problems, cause u know im REAALLY tired of listening to it being held high as some kinda bitch banner all you Hiveminds of every type fuck off. The only good music is classical. rock n roll and rap is bad for your health.. loook at the statistics LMAO Just cause I dont appreciate it doesnt mean my heart is full of hatred nesscerily.. only condemnation Jesus and the angels are gonna kick all your asses in the end.. and you will have to remember i told you so for all of eternity wherever your karma takes you :P I dont subscribe to your communist sider lingo. i am trancendental

  18. Hael Ghaleb says:

    Well now, hold on, I think Amputechture may not be their best album, but it does have its special moments. I would never say "Hey, I feel like listening to El Ciervo Vulnerado," it’s just not musically pleasing, maybe "cool" sounding, but not truly musically pleasing. But, if you love blues, Vicarious Atonement is very enjoyable to listen to. If you love latin, funk, guitar solos, and pretty simple riff, Viscera Eyes is fun as hell to listen to. Personally I love Vermicide, it’s simple, subtle, it kind of reminds me of the Widow, but with one really nice guitar solo and a simple finish. Meccamputechture focuses on guitar solos, especially in the beginning, then goes into a free jazz phase and ends with a cool saxaphone riff. If you like guitar solos and free jazz, then that song is enjoyable as well. Tetragrammaton has awesome appregios, guitar solos, it’s a bit long, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it. I’m just trying to show Heliologue and the bozos that keep arguing with him, I guess you either have to find something you like about it, or you just won’t like it, and that’s strictly up to the listener. As I’m sure everyone already knows "beauty is in the eye of the beholder," but instead of cussing the brother out, show him you love Amputechture, respectfully, just like he explained why he didn’t like it, respectfully, and don’t forget that he is a fan, and as a fan he’s always entitled to criticize.


      Yes ….these guys can play…..Omar has especially improved since his super creative sloppy frustrated early days. I speak As a trained musician in the jazz-rock-latin-jam vein…….This alblum was a naieve and trumphantly spirited leap into fusion, free jazz, latin and modern rock songwriting and production. It was very well done and was one of my all time favorite albums by any band. I wasn’t bored at all while listening and found the lyrics provocative and filled with all the profane and evil shadows that lurk in our society. Only music like this can express the vision that TMV attemps to tackle (and other bands too) . The first song uses a great symmetric scale inspired melody and some excellently constructed non-modal melodic work. The odd time riffery is great and tight as a military march. I could go on for an hour or so talking about this album…the heavily effect processed sax playing was great, and to hear a Coltrane-Pharoah influenced sax player on a major label album was great…..This is really a pretty honest review of the band…..I aint saying they are perfect but I have heard a lot of critcism without somebody comparing them with somebody better………Like Tool mabey….with all due respect…….Omar is a real self taught player and I challenge others to top what he has done in the past few years

      May you all find inspiration….and to the nay sayers……….you really need to find inspiration HA HA HA