Omar Rodriguez-Lopez


Written by: PP on 20/02/2009 00:18:07

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez is a name most of you will recognize from either the seminal post-hardcore pioneers At The Drive-In, or more recently from the crazy, psychedelic progressive rockers The Mars Volta, who have been consistently putting out ridiculously complex albums on pretty much year-on-year basis. That they're able to compose such complicated material and make it sound as awesome as it does in such a short time is already mind blowing in itself, but consider this: in the last two years Omar Rodriguez-Lopez has also composed eight (!!) full-length solo albums as well. That's right, you didn't read wrong and I didn't make a typo, Omar is actually not human, I'm sure.

"Megaritual" is Omar's ninth solo album (the tenth was released on the same day, but won't be reviewed here because it's essentially more of the same), and the short version of the review is to say that it (like the rest of his solo albums) sounds identical to the latest two The Mars Volta releases, with the difference being that Mr. Rodriguez-Lopez's solo material is completely devoid of vocals. In a nutshell, you get crazy polyrhytmic guitar compositions where the durability of the effects board isn't spared in the slightest. The Artistic Value-barometer broke a long time ago when it was used in association with The Mars Volta, and that's also the case here, it's absolutely mind boggling how much incredibly complex music Omar is able to create in such little time.

Now, the instrumentals are as insane as they always are whenever Rodriguez-Lopez's name is mentioned somewhere, but at the same time I'm having a hard time understanding why he hasn't just released these songs under The Mars Volta moniker, that way you'd at least have Cedric Bixler's haunted howl on top of the already familiar instrumentation. Almost every song on "Megaritual" would definitely gain from having vocals juxtaposed above the instruments, and it's probably only Omar's own ego that prevents Bixler from landing the spotlight on his solo project as well. That's a shame, because the material here is perfectly capable of carrying another 8-9 mark for The Mars Volta on our rating scale. But without vocals, it all just seems a tad bit pointless, if not outright boring.

Download: Screaming Babies Inside Out, Bells At The Slipstream
For the fans of: The Mars Volta
Listen: Myspace

Release date 26.01.2009
Willie Anderson Recordings

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