Today is a sad day indeed. The Mars Volta, creators of one of my all-time top ten albums, masterminds of avant-garde/prog rock/space rock/salsacore albums such as The Bedlam In Goliath and my favorite, Frances The Mute have broken up. Damn.
Frontman Cedric Bixlert Zavala announced the breakup via a series of tweets, including:
This sucks. I never had the chance to see them live, but I was hoping they would tour off their new album and that I could see them sometime. Now it looks like it’ll never happen. Such a shame that their relationship soured; they were a great musical pair, and made some of the most memorable rock I’ve ever heard. While their later albums may not have had the same intensity as their earlier records, they were definitely a band that did things differently and made it all work. So R.I.P. The Mars Volta. We’ll miss you.
Yes, I do hate myself for using that word.
Nevertheless, The Mars Volta, long-term brainchild of both former and current At The Drive-In members Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Cedric Bixler-Zavala (so yeah, it’s relevant!), have are streaming the first single from their forthcoming album Nocturniquet , entitled ‘The Malkin Jewel‘ over at their website.
The single is available for free download from today from the above link, with the album coming March 27th through Warner Bros.
The Mars Volta is not a name bandied around here often, but with the recent reformation of At The Drive-In, it only seemed right that we tell you that the brainchild of Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Cedric Bixler-Zavala will be releasing their new album Noctourniquet on March 27th, probably on Warner Bros.
The tracklisting is as follows:
01. The Whip hand
04. Empty Vessels Make The Loudest Sound
05. The Malkin Jewel
07. In Absentia
10. Trinkets Of The Pale Moon
13. Zed And Two Naughts
Noctourniquet will be the first Volta record to include drummer Deantoni Parks, who spent much of 2010 touring with Omar as part of his solo live band, and in fact was in the band for a short spell in late 2006.
Various live bootlegs of new TMV material have been appearing online for a little while now, and with this confirmation of details, the following (admittedly low quality) version of the title track gives us a little flavour of what it will be like:
One thing that I’ve always enjoyed about The Mars Volta over ATD-I is Cedric’s voice; he was chaotic and unbalanced with his former band, and although it absolutely worked, his craft has only improved with time. Tentatively looking forward to this one.
After the jump, ‘Molochwalker‘!
With the news of The Human Abstract‘s demise and iconic Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi contracting lymphoma, 2012 really wasn’t getting off to a great start.
However, after eleven years of silence, an almost mythological five-piece are to once again make music together. Music that has sparked and influenced so many in ways that only the likes of Refused or Metallica have, and been heralded as some of the greatest heavy music of its kind of the last century.
You read that right, people: At The Drive-In are reforming. In the above message posted via Twitter, speculation from as far back as 2009 has been confirmed. The nature of the operation is unclear, but an interview with frontman Cedric Bixler-Zavala in Drowned In Sound suggested old wounds were healing, and that if ever the members were in the right place then he at least would be more than open to it.
The band originally went their separate ways in 2001 on the cusp of becoming absolutely huge, and members went on to form experimental rock band The Mars Volta and more familiar post-hardcore stalwarts Sparta. It was a creative differences sort of thing, and some words were said in the heat of it, but in the intervening time a lot of records have been produced and people, as the invariably do, have grown, and now seemingly the time has come once more.
You’ll forgive the excited tone here, and I know that tomorrow I’ll be mulling over what this might actually mean, and be a little more hesitant until I actually hear any new material (if that is, indeed, the aim), but for tonight I am balls deep in Relationship Of Command, and if you haven’t followed any of what you’ve just read, then this is possibly one of the greatest songs of its time and genre; ‘One Armed Scissor.’
Not content with just having the one of the best albums of the year in One, TesseracT got Ganesh Rao to direct one of the best videos of the year. Not only that, but the re-working of “Eden” is fantastic. While I miss the outro and wish they had kept the song’s length, it all sounds great, especially that new riff about halfway through. It’s not to all of our tastes here, but hell; it’s essentially a ‘radio edit’ for promotional purposes, so Chris can shut his gob.
The elephant in the room, Elliot Coleman, doesn’t disappoint either. He stays faithful to the source material, yet he adds his own touch. Excellent! Hopefully this will convert a few uneasy Dan Tompkins purists, and I know between this and that demo posted a few months ago I’m super excited to hear what TesseracT come up with next!
A few people, Chris included, have drawn comparisons between Elliot and The Mars Volta‘s idiosyncratic frontman Cedric Bixler-Zavala, and this is only compounded by what we presume are the video’s antagonists; the men in suits with red cloth bags over their heads, which are reminiscent of the figures synonymous with their album Frances The Mute (and also the Silents in Doctor Who. Nerd swag). It looks great anyway; well worth the wait.
You can catch TesseracT on tour in North America now on Saints & Sinners supporting Between the Buried and Me and Animals as Leaders. It’s sure to be a great show! Check out the dates here!
This is something of a nugget of speculation – as are a lot of things that come out of SXSW – but footage has emerged of a performance by the Omar Rodriguez Lopez Group, which for one song at least featured Cedric Bixler-Zavala on vocals.
I’ve been a fan of this pair for a long time. At the Drive-In are such a fucking important band in the history of post-hardcore, and for a large proportion of The Mars Volta‘s career, they have written some pretty solid tunes. My personal feeling is that they got a little too experimental at times, losing focus on what made Deloused in the Comatorium and Frances the Mute such great albums.
So this following footage obviously has me a little excited. Heavy it ain’t, but what it does show (for the other Volta fans out there) is a return to simpler song structures, using less elaborate arrangements and fewer instruments. Expansion is good, but at times it was all a bit much.
If this is new Volta material – if – then I’m super stoked for the next album, which Omar is rumoured to be writing. If not…eh. ORL Group stuff is usually pretty good.
I tells ya kid, I dun never heard nothin’ like them At The Drive-In boys before this one fella spun that Relationship of Command on the ole’ juke box down at the drug store, one sunny afternoon back in ’04.
Oh lawdee me! Them bass strings was a-quiverin’, and all manner of electronic nonsense and who’dyamacallits cascading over ma pore head. “Beware! Beware! Beware!” their singer yelled, and boy did I listen!
That was pretty much how it went down, give or take a little poetic license. Whereas I had at least a preconception of the kind of music Isis wrote, I hadn’t a fuckin’ clue that bands like At The Drive-In even existed – what was post-hardcore when it was at home?