The Mars Volta
Gold Standard Labs
The Comatorium

THE MARS VOLTA De-Loused In The Comatorium
em Feature

All of my friends who know about music have been telling me about The Mars Volta. No details, no descriptions, just pick it up. And I did. Thanks, Shannon.

Most everyone has been saying that The Yeah Yeah Yeah's ‘Fever To Tell’ is the most revolutionary album in years. I don't know if this is true, nor do I know if ‘De-Loused In The Comatorium’ is, but it's better (The Yeah Yeah Yeahs are bloody awful – Ed). Alright, the point: The Mars Volta goes far beyond just ‘the new incarnation of At The Drive In’. More than just a mix of the layered guitar sound ATDI was known for and an electronic element halfway between Sonic Youth and The Aphex Twin back when they were scary. More than tight production, tight sound, overwhelming urgency. I mean,
musically - and because of its release on Universal – ‘...Comatorium’ has the potential to rip open the radio in every way that The White Stripes and The Hives have failed. But that's not the best part.

Alright, the point: ‘De-Loused In The Comatorium’ is a concept album, but a concept album on a scale never before attempted.
The entire album is written in metaphor, but the explanation of the concept and the lyric sheet are yet to be released. A lyric book and the story of ‘...Comatorium’, with paintings and other art, is in production for release after the double vinyl release in September. But until then, you basically need to know the story of the real life death of At The Drive In's bass player, you have to sit down with your CD player and copy lyrics between hitting the pause button (which requires a working knowledge of Spanish and a little Latin), and try to piece together a puzzle without having a box to look at.

Or, if you're a latecomer like me ("latecomer" meaning I got it a week after it came out), you scour the internet. The prevailing explanation of ‘...Comatorium’ is this: the first track is the first person point of view overdose and subsequent fall into a coma of the subject of the album (the cause of which is referred to as "rat poison" in the song but generally considered to mean morphine, the drug that ATDI's bass player overdosed on, went into a coma from, and eventually died from use of).

The rest of the album is the internal argument of the two voices in his head. A back and forth weighing his life and telling him to fight the coma state and wake, or give in to the coma and disappear into himself forever. The end of the last track is his decision and wake, either into life or death.

At least, that's one idea of what this album is about.

Arpad Crisis


Arpad Crisis is an independent freelance writer. His views do not necessarily coincide with eyemachine's

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