Thrash Hits

March 29th, 2012

Album: The Mars Volta – Noctourniquet

The Mars Volta
Warner Bros.
26 March 2012

by Dan Pelic

It’s not as if the point of a record review is ever to exact a reaction out of the artist itself, but this review would probably make Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Cedric Bixler-Zavala a happy couple. Why? Because this record from The Mars Volta is such an utter disappointment – which is what they accepted it might be, because they are true artistes who do it for the art, right maaaan?

The Mars Volta Noctourniquet album cover artwork packshot 400px Thrash Hits

This is probably the calmest cacophony of sound the Volta have ever produced. Surely, one could never expect such a talented group of musicians to re-write De-Loused in the Comatorium, Frances the Mute, or even the band’s last cling to some sort of sensible digestibility, Amputechture, again and again. But really, this sounds a bit slapped together.

If you were a fan of the YouTube viral “[Insert band name here] Shreds” videos, you will find the opening tracks ‘The Whip Hand’ and ‘Aegis’ to resemble the sound tracks of those clips – only…they’re the actual songs being performed on an album being released all over the world…on purpose.

The intense and driving drumming of the revolving door of percussionists enlisted by The Mars Volta have always been something of a favorite among their fans, but you can throw that loveable aspect in the rubbish bin, because you will not find it on Noctourniquet. It’s almost as if the drummer, Deantoni Parks, was unable to hear the song he was to keep the beat to – or wait, was Rodriguez-Lopez just redoing something had done previously? He did just that while producing 2009’s Octahedron. Sadly, Parks’ talent and assumed hope to drive this group’s music was wasted, as he jazz-brushes about the drum kit nonsensically for the majority of the album.

Listen to ‘The Malkin Jewel’ by The Mars Volta:

The few saving graces of this album include some sensical and beautiful (believe it or not) lyricism from Mr. Bixler on tracks, ‘The Malkin Jewel’ and ‘Dyslexicon’, as well as a quality ballad in ‘Empty Vessels Make The Loudest Sound’. Mind you, these tracks are all on the first half of the record. It is increasingly taxing to stay focused thereon and easily forgettable.

This album just serves as a disappointment to any older fan of the band, and a jazzy anticlimax for someone looking to get into them from this record forward.


Sounds Like: Calm, Cacophonous Crud
Standout Tracks: Dyslexicon, The Malkin Jewel, Empty Vessels Make The Loudest Sound



  • Yean

    Completely agree, I even cancelled my iTunes pre-order when I first heard the (weak) album

  • Ben Bland

    Wow…I am so glad that this is sitting waiting for me at home now. Thanks guys!

  • Mye_alibi

    Love the album and the percussion. It’s very different from there previous efforts, but you can still tell it’s a Mars Volta album. My favorite track is “Molochwalker”; the outro to that gives me goosebumps every time.

  • Real volta fan

    I think you guys are fucking our of your MIND! These guys are beautiful artist. WTF have you created, So STFU. I have been listening to Volta for 8 years. This album is beautiful and different. Deloused is a great album, still not my favorite. My favorite album is “The Bedlam in Goliath” and probably “Amputechture”. Some Volta fan like yourselves get pissed cause Deloused, “Oh their first album the best how can you not like it, so raw man” As a die hard volta fan who knows every fucking lyric whether it be english, spanish, or made up volta language. You peeps jump the gun on peeps creativity so much! No it’s not the best album but shut up and respect the musicians different creative paths. You create 6 albums and see how good they come out! Oh never mind you would rather waste you fucking lame ass lives bashing peeps creativity on the internet. You should listen to ” The Dead Weather” they have an album about you online pathetic retards. “Sea of Cowards” and that’s what you all are!

    • Dick Kicker

      Hmmm….think someone needs his milk.
      The review is pretty damn accurate, sadly. It’s a weak record, and really does sound like a bored clown performing a balloon routine before realising half way through he’s wasted his time, because people got bored of latex animals some years ago.

      Still, at least you’ve got the last great hope of all message board trolls – the ‘what have you done which is better’ card. Well played…but may have played it too early.

      This is a review…this is to respond to something created worthy of an objective ear to impart others with. If the album was better, this review would have been better and you’d have been able to sleep at night. Sadly the album is a bit shit. Oh well – at least they’ve still got their looks.

  • Ben Bland

    I actually quite like it in the end, although I can see why this review says what it says.

  • my 2 cents

    I read through the review until I saw the comment “It’s almost as if the drummer, Deantoni Parks, was unable to hear the song he was to keep the beat to” .. then I knew this was written by someone who does not know the writing/recording style the band has taken in the past of forbidding the musicians to play along to a track of the other parts, and had to play  to a met… Miles Davis and many more greats have used this technique. Honestly good for this guy to be able to pick that out, but bad to judge that as a bad recording technique…

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