The Mars Volta

The Bedlam in Goliath

It’s an age-old story: Boy gifts Ouija board to band mate, they use it, meet a few metaphysical beings who wreak havoc on their daily lives-floods, mental instability, a locust or two-boy buries Ouija board to dispel evil mojo, and band finishes its fourth full-length. For The Mars Volta, this fable fodder makes for another solid concept album. Upon first listen, The Bedlam in Goliath seems like a tiring oddity of jazz fusion and pop-inspired prog rock. It’s hard to like in a single sitting and easy to cast off as yet another record that falls short of De-Loused in the Comatorium. But for Volta fans, Bedlam‘s mastery rests in its haunting innovation-tumbling vocals, brilliant imagery, and mixing that complements new drummer Thomas Pridgen. Standouts like “Metatron” and “Wax Simulacra” are reminiscent of where the band was in composition and melodic structure, while “Cavalettas” and “Ouroburous”-75 minutes of cacophonous mess-hint at something ominously forward.

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