It saddens me to only give this album a three-star rating but it has to be done. I've been a Mars Volta fan since the start, and an At The Drive-In fan before them. I own all their CDs and love every one, except Octahedron.
First off I must concede that I am a huge fan of their fast, eccentric , energetic and wildly creative music which can be found all throughout their albums. I do however enjoy the balance a quieter, more reflective song creates in the midst of a frenetic storm of music which they usually deliver. This album however is a lot slower and energyless than the previous four.
Sure, this album does still have its qualities but it's not the side of the Mars Volta which I absolutely love with a passion. I've listened to it a few times now and I still end up feeling the same way - disappointed. And that is a terrible feeling to have for a band who always delivered.
There are some other minor qualms which just annoy me, in particular the opening 1 min 30 seconds, which is just pointless (basically inaudible) filler, which they did a lot on Frances the Mute. I'm really not a fan of wasted space in albums and although this only really happens once, it's the opening minute or so, and I have to skip through it everytime.
In conclusion therefore, this is definitely my least favourite album by the Mars Volta, and in my opinion their weakest. It still displays their talents as pioneering musicians, but in a new way which hasn't really shown itself on a regular basis previously. Needless to say I won't choose to listen to this album over any of their previous ones. I really hope this album is a one off and they'll return to making the music I love.