The Mars Volta stick to formula with ‘The Bedlam in Goliath’

Katie Young

The Mars Volta is not known for a mainstream sound by any stretch of the imagination, and their latest effort, The Bedlam in Goliath, is no exception.

While the album is well made, it isn’t a big departure from their other work. The epic-length songs and macabre theme are sure to please fans, but not many other people.

Along with their distinct sound, The Mars Volta is also known for strange concepts behind their albums. According to the band’s Web site, Goliath was inspired by a haunted Ouija board purchased in Jerusalem by the band’s guitarist, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez. The songs contain messages from the haunted board and are named after some of the personalities that spoke through it.

Goliath begins with a screech and a bang, with the song “Aberinkula,” a dizzying track characteristic of the band, with slow, mechanical-sounding verses and a fast, distorted chorus. The tracks “Goliath,” “Agadez” and “Cavalettas” are all similarly crafted.

The album does have a few tracks that stand out as slightly different from The Mars Volta’s typical style. The first single for Goliath, “Wax Simulacra,” is the most listenable on the album, with minimal distortion and a radio friendly length of approximately two minutes.

The slower paced “Ilyena” also stands out. It is more listenable than some of the other songs, thanks to less of Cedric Bixler-Zavala’s trademark screeching vocals. The song title also has a hidden meaning, although it is different from the album’s theme as a whole.

Coming in at just over 73 minutes, The Bedlam in Goliath will give The Mars Volta fans plenty of new material to listen to. While the band did create a sound album, it doesn’t vary significantly from any other The Mars Volta release.

Contact all reporter Katie Young at [email protected].