After a decade in which The Mars Volta have twisted rock’n’roll into all sorts of weird shapes, it could be that there is nowhere left for them to go.
The Mars Volta: Noctourniquet
Furthermore, their revolutionary statement of intent was best expressed on their devastating 2003 debut Deloused In The Comatorium, and while they have made some great and challenging albums subsequently – Amputechture is that work of genius/load of bloody noise record that sorts out the fairweather prog fans from the real nuts – they have never bettered it.
This, their sixth album, finds them still stuck between that frenetic Santana jamming with King Crimson psych-prog mania – In Absentia and The Malkin Jewel are particularly acidic – and the more soulful ballads like the gorgeous Aegis.
For one who have always flung themselves to the very limits of what a rock band can be in this retro soaked age, this is a touch disappointing. To be clear, there are great songs here but there’s nothing that gels it as an album, and it’s not the face-shredding shock of the new they once delivered.