The Mars Volta - Frances the Mute
Sep 4, 2019
holy fucking shit wow, this album absolutely blew me away. i don't know who the fuck recommended me this thing, but god am i thankful. Frances the Mute is like a fucking armed robbery - it's quick, its intense, and it comes out of fucking nowhere with insane aggression. like, holy shit, the first listen is absolutely exhilarating, i was almost out of breath by the end.

the album is composed of 5 songs of varying lengths - The Widow is about 6 minutes, Cassandra Gemini is about 32, and the rest are around the 13 minute mark. the album clocks in at like, 76 minutes, but it feels like 30 with just how energetic it is and how well it flows between tracks. Frances the Mute is a totally seamless experience, and not a second of it is boring, really. there may be the occasional chill, ambient section, but it works so well that you barely even notice how long they are. they don't interrupt the album experience at all, it just adds to the enjoyment.

now, the sound of Frances and the Mute? holy shit, is it incredible. it sounds like, if My Chemical Romance and King Crimson got together for a world tour a week before the apocalypse. it's got the energy and impact of a Black Parade, but the intricate and proggy composition of a Larks' Tongues in Aspic. and it doesnt help that the lead vocalist, Cedric Bixler-Zavala, sounds almost exactly like Gerard Way a lot of the time. but god, his vocals make this album such a fantastic and intense listen. sonically, the album is a mix of more traditional prog rock instrumentation, your guitars your synths your drums your bass, but it combines these with some Latin and Jazz sounds that make the album's sound super unique. that's not even to mention the weird, experimental ambient sections, like the one at the end of Cygnus...Vismund Cygnus. theres samples of what sounds like people speaking and cars driving past, meanwhile these blippy digital synths kinda sputter about, and it gives the moment a really uneasy feeling. or i could mention the laid-back Latin sections in L'Via L'Viaquez in between some of the most firey vocal moments on the whole album. these little rests between the intensity of the guitar-driven sections make sure to keep you engaged and listening. and oh, oh my god, the closer, Cassandra Gemini, is one of the most sonically adventurous songs i've ever goddamn heard.

towards the end of the track Miranda That Ghost Just Isn't Holy Anymore, the song fades into a quiet and distorted section with some pretty orchestral / prog playing muffled underneath a lot of air, but all of a sudden, out of nowhere, Cassandra Gemini just fucking SLAMS THE DOOR DOWN with these frantic and manic guitar riffs and Cedric's almost creepy vocals, before slowing down for some less intricate but just as intricate verses. Cedric's voice on these sections have this weird distorted filter, it makes him sound like a Bond villain speaking through a computer. but the chorus in this early section, holy shit the chorus pops with so much fucking energy i feel like im going insane. Cedric just repeates "No there's no light / In the darkest of your furthest reaches" while the instrumental goes absolutely insane to match his flow, and oh my god the DRUMS in this section and this WHOLE SONG are just immaculate. the next section of the song, Tarantism, has fantastic driving guitar riff underlying it that takes turns going in and out with some soul keys, and god it's just full of so much energy. this song, this album, is just energy incarnate. its the kind of shit you just want to break shit to. just punch a fuckin WALL y'know? just go complete apeshit. going back to Cassandra Gemini, the section Plant A Nail in the Naval Stream has these fantasticly orchestral horn melodies that sound straight out of a movie, and Cedric's repetition of "25 wives in the lake tonight / 25 snakes pour out your eyes" is just so catchy and memorable. its insane how they've made a fucking 32 minute song so memorable to where each section has a distinct sound but it all just works together in one cohesive piece.

hngnhgnh this album fucking owns. this album killed my mom and fucked my dad. i just, wow. WOW. this album is good. one of the most exhilarating listens i've ever had the pleasure of experiencing, and i expect it to only grow, honestly. i'm hella excited to check out these guy's other albums too. if they're all this good, then fuck i'm in for a treat.

FAVORITE - Cassandra Gemini, L'Via L'Viaquez, Cygnus...Vismund Cygnus, The Widow
LEAST FAVORITE - Miranda That Ghost Just Isn't Holy Anymore (but you'd have to hold me at gunpoint to admit it)

5/100 - check out my progress here:

knewnie's Tags
amazing review, what a pleasure reading this
what makes the end of miranda so great is its actually a reprise of the last section of cygnus (con safo), and it leads into a motif from cygnus that distorts into cassandra gemini
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More Reviews by knewnie
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