Rising from the ashes of one of the most influential bands from the past 20 years, At The Drive-In, over a decade ago and evolving into the prog-rock monster we know today as The Mars Volta, eccentric vocalist Cedric Bixler-Zavala and guitar god Omar Rodriguez-Lopez's epicly unique brand of rock & roll has been blowing minds all over the world with a sound that can only compare to a wild mixture of Santana's chord progressions and Pink Floyd's psychedelic tendencies topped off with a neo-punk aesthetic that is guaranteed to give you a feeling of shock and awe along with putting you in a state of musical nirvana. The band's sixth studio album, Noctourniquet, that is hitting record store shelves and music download websites worldwide this week, promises to push the boundaries of prog-rock to new heights.
Along with Bixler-Zavala and Rodriguez-Lopez performing on the album, bassist Juan Alderete, Rodriguez-Lopez's brother Marcel on the keys and Deantoni Parks on drums round out the rest of The Mars Volta. This marks the first time since the band's inception that keyboardist Isaiah "Ikey" Owens and former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist and in-studio collaborator John Frusciante are not part of a Mars Volta recording.
Noctourniquet is a concept album inspired by the English nursery rhyme, Solomon Grundy, and the Greek myth of Hyacinthus. In an interview with Classic Rock Magazine, Bixle-Zavala states that the album," It's about embracing life for what it should be. There's a view of the elitist lifestyle that being an artist is unattainable. I'm trying to write this story that reminds people that we're all artists". With The Mars Volta being one of the few bands out there today that can equate their music to a work of art, if Noctourniquet was to compared to an art piece, it would have to be the Mona Lisa due to the sheer rhythmic beauty every song possesses.
"The Whip Hand" starts off the album just right with the Rodriguez-Lopez brothers dueling off with Omar's crazy riffs and Marcel's poignant skills on the keyboards and synthesizers that takes your ears to a different world. The single off of the album, "The Malkin Jewel", is a very bluesy song that starts off slow then picks up with a combination of spine-tingling guitar chords, pounding drums and resonating keys that are completely mind-warping to say the least. "Molochwalker" is a rocking track that features amazing drum beats from Parks and more insane guitar riffs from Omar Rodriguez-Lopez that are genre-defying, combining punk, prog-rock and jazz influences to create a truly superb song. Other tracks I enjoy off of Noctourniquet are "Lapochka", "Dyslexicon", "Vedamalady" and "Imago". Don't take my word for it though, take the time to get the record, listen to it from start to finish and make your own opinion because every song is guaranteed to amaze.
Currently there are no tour dates on the The Mars Volta's calendar because of the At The Drive-In's reunion that happened earlier this year and their subsequent shows that they are performing later this Spring and in the early Summer. Be sure though that sooner than later The Mars Volta will be hitting your hometown and rocking the joint to lovely bits and pieces in no time. If you are in the mood for something different but at the same time want to listen to an opus that will musically hit you like a rhythmic ton of bricks, grab a copy of Noctourniquet, the new album from The Mars Volta. It'll definitely give your ears an orgasmic sensation that will outdo any aphrodisiac.
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