The Bedlam in Goliath

The Bedlam in Goliath

by The Mars Volta


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It can't come as a surprise that the Mars Volta's fourth album opens with a bang -- sonic terrorism is one of the only things listeners can count on from the band -- but it's genuinely novel that The Bedlam in Goliath never lets go of its momentum, not even after a full hour's worth of unrelenting war on silence, the wrapping paper for a concept album about the power of the occult. On their first three proper albums, Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez played games of quiet-loud-quiet (or loud-quiet-loud), sneaking around stealthily for minutes at a time before detonating another blast of thrash metal riffing and piercing screams. The Bedlam in Goliath is simply loud-loud-loud, virtually every song played at maximum volume and tempo. But, in fact, instead of being wearisome or exhausting, it's an oddly refreshing album. The band gets closer to its roots in thrash and funk-metal than ever before, avoids using electronics except where they can make a big impact, and finally lets semi-permanent guest John Frusciante occupy a readily discernible role. The "Goliath" of the album title is the name given to a spirit conjured by a Ouija board that Rodriguez-Lopez bought in Jerusalem; the band used the board heavily while on tour, and it supposedly brought bad luck to the entire recording process -- including reports of computer poltergeists, flooded studios, and a nervous breakdown for the album's first engineer (who may have simply been driven over the edge by the band's musical extremism). Musically, it's the funkiest work the band has ever done. No one's going to confuse them with James Brown (or even Red Hot Chili Peppers), but in a ten-minute streak that runs from the end of the third track, "Ilyena," through the single "Wax Simulacra," and to the end of "Goliath," an eight-minute extravaganza, the Mars Volta finally seize the mantle held by Rage Against the Machine for a dozen years (thanks in large part to Frusciante, as well as new drummer Thomas Pridgen). The band also exhibits more patience on The Bedlam in Goliath than it has in the past. No one who cares about the band should be interested in hearing a "maturing" Mars Volta -- you might as well ask for a sun that wasn't as hot -- but the band has shown the ability to mature in all the ways they can without losing what makes them unique. The album is as dynamic as ever (it seems to live perpetually on a knife's edge of tension), but it's more closely composed than Amputechture or even Frances the Mute. This should have been the album where the Mars Volta either wore their formula down to nothing or abruptly turned in a different direction, but instead the band created an album that nearly perfects what they've been working toward.

Product Details

Release Date: 01/29/2008
Label: Umvd Labels
UPC: 0602517575301
catalogNumber: 001061602
Rank: 42109

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Mars Volta   Primary Artist
Anthony Blea   Violin,Improvisation
John Frusciante   Track Performer,Group Member
Thomas Pridgen   Track Performer,Group Member
Sam D. Bass   Cello,Improvisation
Omar Rodriguez-Lopez   Track Performer,Group Member
Marcel Rodriguez-Lopez   Track Performer,Group Member
Pablo Hinojos Gonzalez   Track Performer,Group Member
Charith Premawardhana   Viola,Improvisation
Adrian Terrazas-Gonzales   Track Performer,Group Member
Edwin Huizinga   Violin,Improvisation
Owen Levine   Upright Bass,Improvisation
Cedric Bixler   Vocals,Track Performer,Group Member

Technical Credits

Jeff Jordan   Artwork
Robert Carranza   Engineer
Isaiah Abolin   Engineer
Omar Rodriguez-Lopez   Arranger,Engineer,Direction,Audio Production
Lars Stalfors   Engineer
Omar Lopez   Composer
Maestro Edwin Outwater   String Conductor
Nathaniel Tookey   Composer,String Arrangements
Cedric Bixler   Composer

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The Bedlam in Goliath 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
guitaoist3 More than 1 year ago
best band today
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This band usually gets hit with the "prog rock" label by lazy journalists, which is only a fraction of an accurate discription of the kind of music they make. Still the words "progressive" and then "rock" are probably one of the easiest ways to sum them up. Progression is key, these are the guys that broke up their previous band right as it was becoming a potential cash cow just because they felt bored and limited by the music. Anyone who states that The Mars Volta will NEVER top their first album definitely cannot see the band's intentions. Which are PROGRESS! and avoiding boredom. and making crazy sick music. But it's cool, like what you like, it just must have been annoying when Cedric was asking people who worship the early LPs to "put our first two records under your pillow, maybe the tooth fairy will come, you never understood us anyway."
Guest More than 1 year ago
This record is a psychotic, beautiful, nonstop-genius-hardcore sonic art project from hell. The Mars Volta is the greatest band on the planet and this is the greatest album they've released to date.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Where "Frances the Mute", and to an even greater degree "Amputechture", had failed in enabling The Mars Volta to find their new voice after the odd but accessable brilliance of "DeLoused...", "Bedlam in Goliath" finally marries the two halves of the band into one cohesive, listenable whole. The songs here feel like they actually have somewhere to go, but the scenery on the way is just as interesting, and once the songs reach that destination, the album is simply dynamite. The experimentation here seems focused instead of the earlier jamming wankery of the previous two albums, and the addition of a new and highly skilled drummer that continually impresses throughout the record make this their first post-DeLoused success, in my opinion, and a top contender for album of the year.
Guest More than 1 year ago
the only mars volta album to do a justice to them is and still remains deloused period they will never achieve what they had on that album nor will they ever I personally love them and am speaking straight from my heart which aches everytime they release another album which will always pale in comparision to deloused nonetheless i still buy every one and am always dissappointed. My loyalty to them will forever remain even if i disagree with the direction they are going in. They are the future of what is to come.....
cheshirexxcat More than 1 year ago
The Mars Volta just take your brain and turn it into mush with this CD. The addition of Thomas Pridgen as their new drummer just make the attack even more brutal. This album is just 100% craziness... IT'S AMAZING!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this album!!! I love the odd time signatures and the massive drum attacks. I also think that this is TMV's most accessable album to date. Stand out tracks: Metatron, Wax Simulcra, Cavalettas. Check this album out.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Mars Volta is one of those rare bands that is able to keep coming out with amazing albums one after the other. This album is just an assault on the senses. From the begining it is a loud brilliant work of art that the guys from volta do best. This album is just controled chaos. If you were a fan of the other albums you will love this one.
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