The Mars Volta – Deloused In The Comatorium (2003)

Welcome to another post about another album that I have put off buying for nearly a decade. You can thank the wondrous Amazon marketplace for these posts that should have rightly been made a long time ago; their CD prices are sometimes so goddamn obscene that I cannot resist buying a whole bunch of new CDs every week. This one cost me a little more than the usual 1p, but it was still a criminal sum for a brand spanking new CD. I’ve received some sorry looking CDs through the Amazon marketplace (particularly from Zoverstocks) but this one is pristine in every single way. Anyway, onto the recording itself!

Deloused In The Comatorium is an extremely ambitious debut from a band that includes those two chaps from At The Drive In and Flea from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers on bass, and a bunch of other guys that I’ve not heard of before. I don’t really know that much about RHCP or of ATDI for that matter, but considering the type of stuff that both those acts produce, you’d never in a million years expect something as mind-bogglingly experimental as this. To sum up quickly; Deloused… is a concept album based on the experiences of a dude called Cerpin Taxt, who journeys through a week-long coma induced by consuming a concoction of morphine and rat poison. Yeah.

Before I start going into particular tracks, I would just like to say that the instrumentation here is absolutely flawless; the guitar work is enough to fuck with any 6-stringed student’s head, whilst retaining that dirty, distorted “indie” sound in the loud parts, keeping everything nice and digestible. The bass, by the ever-amazing Flea, whilst playing perfectly, is kinda kept in the background for the entire album. You can hear him clearly, but the bass is the backbone here, which isn’t what you’d expect from something that seems to be so hay-wire with it’s other comprising elements. I can’t tell if there are electronics going on here or if they are just severely mangled guitar sounds. Either way, they add a whole new depth to most of the tracks. Finally, the drumming is precise, fill-happy and extremely busy (and often very Latin-sounding).

I think you’re either gonna love or hate the voice of Cedric Bixler; his high-pitched wails, whines and nasally highs are enough to get up the backs of more gruff rock’n’roll listeners, but whilst I am not particularly a massive fan of this style of vocal performance, I think that it works perfectly with the music. The first proper track “Inertiatic ESP” has an enormous chorus, and Cedric’s vocals work so perfectly on the chorus.

I could go into every song here but they are so varied that this blog post will end up lasting a million years, which I do try to avoid. Whilst I do like writing in depth about records, it is time consuming on both myself and the reader; and I don’t want things to get too boring! Anyways, thanks to the copyright-defying users of Youtube.com I can let the fantastic tunes of The Mars Volta do the rest of the talking. If you’ve got an hour spare (and an open mind) I would definitely recommend giving Deloused In The Comatorium a listen through. This catch-up purchase of a band that I liked once upon a time has initiated a whole new love for me; it’s time for me to go out and discover the rest of the material that The Mars Volta has to offer. Cheerio!