A Beginner’s Guide To: The Mars Volta

Have you, a friend or a loved one ever wanted to get into The Mars Volta, but didn’t know where to start? Fear not, for help is at hand – our latest installment of our ‘A Beginner’s Guide To’ series features another flowchart as a guide in how to first experience the experimental rock group and a few associated acts.

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The Mars Volta is one of the most renowned progressive rock bands to have formed in the 21st century. It is the brain-child of vocalist Cedric Bixler-Zavala and guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez who, prior to forming The Mars Volta, led the post-hardcore outfit At the Drive-in.

The band are widely acclaimed for being at the forefront of 21st century prog revival, with their ground-breaking debut album, De-loused in the Comatorium, combining elements of progressive and experimental rock with post-hardcore. The Mars Volta subsequently released five more LPs – though they were met with less critical success, the band delved into genres such as jazz fusion and electronica, expanding their experimental expertise.

The band broke up in 2013, where friction between Bixler-Zavala and Rodriquez-Lopez reached breaking point. Though since The Mars Volta’s split, the duo have made amends through their more straight-forward rock outfit, Antemasque, formed in 2014, and a recent reformation of At the Drive-in in 2016; these are promising signs that The Mars Volta may reform, as the two have expressed their interest in rebooting the prog band.

Now that that brief history lesson is over: this Beginner’s Guide, like the rest of them here at Prog Talk, is a concise flowchart in how anyone can get into the bands. However, due to The Mars Volta’s extensive list of associated acts, only a few will also be included and stem from the band’s main discography, just in case you TMV fans want more that they have to offer. I congratulate anyone who has listened to all 43 (I think?) of Omar Rodriquez-Lopez’s solo albums (as of the release date of this article).


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