s of May 2002, OHJ is going to be going into the big time. We’re starting our very own wildlife show! We've chosen to give you a sneak peek, an exclusive look at the first episode today. Viewer response is key, so feel free to let us know what you think, what you like, what you don't...but, in the meantime, on with the show!
“Hello, mates! This is the OHJ Wildlife Watch! My name is Nnamdi Ezeife and I’m your host for today. So, let’s see. Today, we explore the six-headed beast known as The Mars Volta. As you may or may not recall, this creature was spawned from the being known as At The Drive-In, an organism of five parts that originated in El Paso, Texas. After ATDI’s death, three parts of this beast separated and became Sparta. The remaining two parts merged with four others to become what we know as The Mars Volta. The Mars Volta is a dynamic beast; at times, it can be quite calm and docile. More often than not, however, it is fierce, fiery, and powerful. The beast often uses surprising methods of attack, drawing from the styles of many organisms before it. Despite this, The Mars Volta is still a young beast, and thus has only three key methods of attack. These methods, together, are called the Tremulant.
The first attack method, “Cut That City”, is particularly deceiving. It begins in a very subdued, minimal dub-ish fashion before lashing out into a furious mathy-but-not-quite post-hardcore barrage accompanied by keyboards that match the melody of the guitars. The cries of the main head, Cedric Bixler, are as impassioned as ever. Of the three attacks, this one most recalls the attacks methods of The Mars Volta’s predecessor, At The Drive-In. Certain parts of the attack, particularly the chorus, work very well. Unfortunately for The Mars Volta, other parts, like the overlong intro and bridge, do not. These weak parts of the attack may allow the prey to escape from it.
The second attack of Tremulant, “Concertina”, is much more effective than it predecessor simply because it is not as over-ambitious. The sounds accompanying this attack are those of the keyboard driven prog-rock variety, with the emphasis on the rock rather than the prog, for a change. “Concertina” features one of Bixler’s most dramatic vocal performances to date, so much so that if you enjoyed the vocalizations of At The Drive-In more than any other aspect of that animal, witnessing this attack is a treat. “Concertina” is the briefest of the attacks and for that reason, combined with the passion contained in it, is the most effective. More methods of attack similar to this could make The Mars Volta a true force in wildlife.
The Tremulant series ends with the nine minute long mini-epic, “Eunuch Provocateur”. This attacks begins with a single guitar and builds up into a driving, percussion driven rock assault. The guitars sound less like instruments than like vultures circling around The Mars Volta as it attacks it prey, patiently waiting for any remains. Although the music contained within is the most interesting of the three tracks, the dual vocals end up falling flat. This is quite unexpected. Furthermore, the breakbeat-laden outro to the attack comes off as monotonous and tacked-on. An animal as ambitious and potentially powerful as The Mars Volta should know better than resort to such cheap tricks. Regardless of this error, “Eunuch Provocateur” is an effective method of combat that successfully but not always seamlessly fuses raw aggression and passion with left-field ingenuity. Actually, the exact same thing could be said for Tremulant as a whole. Although parts of these attacks are flawed, on the whole they are quite effect and interesting to observe. The Mars Volta is a beast to keep your eye on in the future.
And with that, the first episode of OHJ Wildlife Watch ends. This is Nnamdi Ezeife, signing off. Goodnight everyone and stay safe!”
Reviewed by: Nnamdi Ezeife
Reviewed on: 2003-09-01