De-Loused in the Comatorium

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De-Loused in the Comatorium
Studio album by The Mars Volta
Released June 24, 2003
Recorded 2002–2003 at The Mansion, Los Angeles
Genre Progressive rock, experimental rock, jazz rock
Length 60:51
Label Gold Standard Laboratories
Universal Records
Strummer
Producer Rick Rubin, Omar Rodríguez-López
The Mars Volta chronology
Tremulant
(2002)
De-Loused in the Comatorium
(2003)
Frances the Mute
(2005)
Singles from De-Loused in the Comatorium
  1. "Inertiatic ESP"
    Released: March 23, 2004
  2. "Televators"
    Released: April 6, 2004
Alternative cover
Alternative cover by Storm Thorgerson found on certain limited editions and on the reverse side of original cover

De-Loused in the Comatorium is the debut studio album by American progressive rock band The Mars Volta, released on June 24, 2003, on Gold Standard Laboratories and Universal Records. Based on a short story written by lead singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala and sound manipulation artist Jeremy Michael Ward, the concept album is an hour-long tale of Cerpin Taxt, a man who enters a week-long coma after overdosing on a mixture of morphine and rat poison. The story of Cerpin Taxt alludes to the death of El Paso, Texas artist — and Bixler-Zavala's friend — Julio Venegas (1972–1996).

Co-produced by Rick Rubin and guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, it is the only studio album to feature founding member Jeremy Michael Ward, who was found dead in an apparent heroin overdose one month before the album was released. Following the departure of Eva Gardner, Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea occupied the role of bass guitarist on this album.

The music contained in De-Loused is distinguished by its enigmatic lyrics, Latin and jazz rhythms, and Omar Rodríguez-López's frenetic guitar riffs, which are often strongly dissonant. The title of this album is taken from the lyrics of the song "Eunuch Provocateur" on the band's previous release, Tremulant. The cover artwork is by Storm Thorgerson.

Background and recording[edit]

Two songs from the album, "Roulette Dares (The Haunt of)" and "Cicatriz ESP," first appeared in 2001 as the band's very first demo recordings with bassist Eva Gardner and drummer Blake Fleming; notably, the early version of "Cicatriz ESP" (then known as "Cicatrix") was slower and much shorter (4 minutes) than the album one (at 12 minutes being the longest track on the album). Both tracks can be legally obtained through The Comatorium's trading forum.

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic (82/100) [1]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars [2]
Entertainment Weekly A− [3]
Los Angeles Times 4/4 stars [4]
Pitchfork Media (4.9/10) [5]
PopMatters 7/10 stars [6][1]
Q 4.5/5 stars [1]
Robert Christgau C+ [7]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars [8]
Spin (9/10) [9]
Stylus Magazine B+ [10]

De-Loused became, both critically and commercially, the band's biggest hit, eventually selling in excess of 500,000 copies despite limited promotion, and was featured on several critics' "Best of the Year" lists.[11] The album was ranked number 55 on the October 2006 issue of Guitar World magazine's list of the 100 greatest guitar albums of all time.[12] "Drunkship of Lanterns" was named the 91st best guitar song of all-time by Rolling Stone.[13]

The album so far has a score of 82 out of 100 from Metacritic based on "universal acclaim".[1] Alternative Press gave the album a perfect score of all five stars and said it "takes multiple listens to absorb, and, even then, you're probably not going to have a clue to what Bixler's raving about."[1] Yahoo! Music UK gave it a score of eight stars out of ten and said it was "not an album to listen to casually. It insists on taking over your life for an hour, demands a level of concentration rare in rock, amply repays multiple plays."[14] Under the Radar gave the album eight stars out of ten and said that the band "has created the antithesis of ATDI, leaving behind any formula or typicality. What they kept was the fire, the fury, and the passion."[1] Drowned in Sound gave it a score of eight out of ten and called it "truly exquisite and well worth the wait."[15] Playlouder gave it a score of four stars out of five and said, "There are moments of prog rock, jazz fusion and freakydelia in this rush of ideas and if that sounds awful then don't be put off. Instead of the shambolic mess that this kinda influence normally entails Mars Volta have come strictly disciplined."[16] Uncut gave it four stars out of five and said: "Imagine a jam session between King Crimson, Fugazi and '70s Miles. Now imagine it working. That's the Mars Volta."[17] Blender also gave it four stars and said it "Roars like Led Zeppelin, churns like King Crimson and throbs like early Santana."[1] Tiny Mix Tapes likewise gave it four stars and called it "a very strong debut album for the Mars Volta."[18] Ink 19 Magazine also gave it a favorable review and said it was "definitely worth checking out, but make sure to keep an open mind and check any preconceived notions at the door."[19] The A.V. Club also gave it a positive review and said, "Taken as a piece, the record's free-flowing synthesis of Santana, Yes, and Metallica is overwhelming in a good way."[20]

There were fewer reviews that are mixed: Pitchfork Media gave it a score of 4.9 out of ten and said it "just isn't fun."[5] Neumu.net gave it four stars out of ten and called it "a sprawling mess".[21]

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics written by Cedric Bixler-Zavala with the help of Jeremy Michael Ward, all music composed by Omar Rodríguez-López, except where noted.

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Son et Lumière"     1:35
2. "Inertiatic ESP"     4:24
3. "Roulette Dares (The Haunt of)"     7:31
4. "Tira Me a las Arañas" ("Throw Me to the Spiders")   1:28
5. "Drunkship of Lanterns"   Rodríguez-López, Bixler-Zavala 7:06
6. "Eriatarka"     6:20
7. "Cicatriz ESP"     12:29
8. "This Apparatus Must Be Unearthed"   Rodríguez-López, Bixler-Zavala 4:58
9. "Televators"     6:19
10. "Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt"     8:42

Personnel[edit]

The following people contributed to De-Loused in the Comatorium:

Band[edit]

Additional musicians[edit]

Recording personnel[edit]

  • Rick Rubin - producer
  • Omar Rodríguez-López - producer
  • Dave Schiffman - recording
  • Andrew Scheps - additional recording
  • Phillip Groussard - assistant engineer, recording engineer ("Ambuletz")
  • Darren Mora - assistant engineer
  • Rich Costey - mixing engineer
  • Jason Lader - mixing engineer ("Ambuletz")
  • Lindsay Chase - album production coordination
  • Vlado Meller - mastering
  • Pete Lyman - mastering (vinyl)
  • Steve Kadison - mastering assistance

Artwork[edit]

  • Storm Thorgerson - cover design, art direction
  • Peter Curzon - cover design, graphics -
  • Rupert Truman - photography
  • Dan Abbott - illustrations

Singles[edit]

Charts[edit]

Album[edit]

Year Chart Position
2003 The Billboard 200 39

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Critic reviews at Metacritic
  2. ^ Allmusic review
  3. ^ Entertainment Weekly review
  4. ^ Los Angeles Times review
  5. ^ a b Pitchfork Media review
  6. ^ PopMatters review
  7. ^ Robert Christgau Consumer Guide
  8. ^ Rolling Stone review
  9. ^ Spin review
  10. ^ Stylus Magazine review
  11. ^ Acclaimed Music - De-Loused in the Comatorium
  12. ^ Chud Forums
  13. ^ The 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time: Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2011-01-24. "The Mars Volta brought prog rock into the 21st century with this thrilling blast, and Omar Rodriguez Lopez announced himself as one of this decade's great young axmen, mixing Gang of Four riffs with Hendrix virtuosity, Latin rhythms and gallons of reverb."
  14. ^ Yahoo! Music UK review
  15. ^ Drowned in Sound review
  16. ^ Playlouder review
  17. ^ "The Mars Volta - Deloused In The Comatorium". Uncut: 98. August 2003. Retrieved 2013-05-17. 
  18. ^ Tiny Mix Tapes review
  19. ^ Ink 19 review
  20. ^ The A.V. Club review
  21. ^ Neumu.net review