After listening to an advanced copy of The Bedlam in Goliath for about a week, I am ready to release my opinion of the record, and the band as a whole. This comes at a perfect time, for the album will be released tomorrow. This may help you save money and rather indulge in something that may not leave you somewhat annoyed.
It is important to begin with my proclamation of being a huge At The Drive-In fan. Having said that, I have been on The Mars Volta’s side of the battle after the band’s split. Sparta, in my opinion, are nothing to call home about. Deloused in the Comatorium, their debut album, was absolutely amazing. It was love at first listen. At the time, I was so relieved that the Mars Volta was just as good, if not better, than At the Drive-In.
It wasn’t long after that the band released it’s second record Frances the Mute. The CD was definitely a breath of fresh air – something unique and completely innovative. At the same time, however, some of the band’s musical qualities were left behind; replacing therir overall musicianship with shock value.
Only a year later, the workaholics released Amputechture and a live album called Scab Dates. Scab Dates was excellent because the band is an entertaining and exuberant live force. Amputechture, however, seemed like it was produced by extraterrestrials. If I was unfamiliar with the band, I would have guessed the album was recorded on an intergalactic spacecraft. It was peculiar, yet still somewhat charming. They hadn’t lost me yet. I was still intrigued.
Now, another year has elapsed and the Mars Volta are releasing The Bedlam in Goliath tomorrow. The album serves as the band’s fourth full-length studio album, but the first sans Jon Theodore. Jon Theodore, for those unfamiliar, was the rhythmic drumming force behind the Mars Volta’s intricate and sometimes overwhelming time signatures. Theodore made everything human and kept everything cohesive within the music.
The Bedlam in Goliath is sorely missing the presence of Theodore on this record. While the CD is straight-to-the-point compositions without much between song noise and nonsense, the music is lackluster. There are a few catchy, well constructed tracks on the record, of course, but it seems that the Mars Volta have fallen from their throne and have become “just another eccentric rock band.”
Bedlam offers nothing special or out of the ordinary for avid Volta fans. If you were anticipating this record all year, you may want to reconsider purchasing it. Coming from a huge Mars Volta fan – I suggest the band take a little more time writing and crafting their tunes in the studio the next time around. This release has seemed to fall under my head, while the others have gone a little bit over.