AOTY 2023
The Mars Volta - Noctourniquet
Mar 26, 2023
The band takes a left turn with their progressive rock sound and we are introduced to their final album before their "breakup" in 2012, and their first and last album to have drummer Deantoni Parks and first album to not have any contributions made by John Frusciante. It's a concept album about "embracing life for what it should be" and it's where the 4-piece band experiments with soundscapes of dark psychedelia.

I do like the sound that the band is trying to go for with their new drummer whose drumming is all over the place (in a good way) but the way the implement it in this album doesn't really sound that great. Keep in mind that this album was being made while co-founders Bixler-Zavala and Rodriguez-Lopez were arguing over the band's future which made Bixler-Zavala's contributions to the album 2 years late and just felt like a strange record to work on overall, which feels pretty apparent throughout the album. The opener track The Whip Hand isn't very good and is probably the band's worst opener to an album ever with it's ugly synth chorus and just the whole mood of the track doesn't really click. There are some good jams though like the spacey groove track Dyslexicon and the next track Empty Vessels Make the Loudest Sound which has a pretty ethereal sound to it. The single of the album The Malkin Jewel is pretty alright but it's not one of my favorite songs from the album or the whole band but I do like it's unusual weird groove it makes but it's nothing else that special.

Other tracks like Molochwalker has a prog rock sound that sounds like their older stuff and Vedamalady has a nice pleasant jam into it and continues the spacey feel of the album and Zed and Two Naughts is a good closer with a hard hitting closer and is a lot better than the album opener The Whip Hand. The rest of the album feels weird and it's not stuff that I would come back to again in the near future, so that's why I'm a bit 50/50 on this record. I would honestly prefer their previous album Octahedron than this record just cause the previous one felt more exciting and I like the new direction this album took but it's not really my favorite thing in the world. Noctourniquet being the band's supposedly final album as they would come to breakup in 2013 wouldn't really be the greatest album to end off on. The band's original sound from their first two legendary albums had felt like it's fallen off up to this point and feels a bit sad tbh. The band would eventually come back and release their new self-titled album in 2022.

Well... Noctourniquet is a bit of a special album and is not like the other TMV albums. It's the band's attempt at something new and it's not really horrible, just super meh. It kinda makes me miss the old days of the band but I'm glad the band has decided to reunite again after nearly a decade and I'm pumped to hear their next record. Noctourniquet is a bit disappointing at some moments but still has some decent songs here and there, but is not my favorite record from the band.

Favorite Tracks: Dyslexicon, Empty Vessels Make the Loudest Sound, Molochwalker, Vedamalady, Zed and Two Naughts

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