Album of the Week

Album of the Week

No, The Mars Volta has not reformed, but this is just as close as we are going to get for now.

Please welcome Antemasque – a brand new project from the restless team of Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Cedric Bixler-Zavala.

In April Rodriguez-Lopez broke the news via Twitter, posting a short video teaser together with his longtime collaborator Bixler-Zavala. The project, dubbed Antemasque, also includes drummer Dave Elitch (also known from Mars Volta, Killer Be Killed, and other) and Omar’s brother, Marfred Rodriguez-Lopez.

Rodriguez-Lopez and Bixler-Zavala have worked together since the ‘90s, when they formed the post-hardcore band At The Drive-In. ATDI gained worldwide fame for their third album Relationship Of Command in 2000 – but that milestone album, hailed as one of the most influential rock albums of the decade, also turned out to be their swan song.

In 2001 the duo turned toward more experimental directions with The Mars Volta, and released six ambitious albums – including their groundbreaking debut De-Loused In The Comatorium (2003) and the Grammy-winning The Bedlam In Goliath (2008) – before putting the projects on indefinite hiatus in 2012. The Mars Volta worked beyond any categorization, blending progressive rock, jazz-fusion, Latino, psychedelic, hardcore and electronica into a well-crafted melting pot of styles and genres.

Now they’ve opened a new chapter as Antemasque.

Joined on their debut by former Mars Volta collaborator Flea (of The Red Hot Chili Peppers), Antemasque tone down their most progressive sides in favor of shorter songs with a more straightforward style of adrenaline-fueled indie punk – but without ever losing their technical brilliance and adventurous spirit.

Antemasque is catchy, energetic and instantly enjoyable, from a couple appearing revitalized and as hungry as ever.

As Sputnik Music summed in an early review of the album: “Antemasque is unsettlingly accessible, especially coming from these veterans of spacey prog, but it’s so well-written and so well-performed that it really doesn’t matter. As the official reunion of two of the most bizarre musicians in their class, Antemasque challenges all precognition. It’s the perfect way to go against the grain of something already so far against-the-grain.”

Enjoy this week’s album selection, and be sure to also check out our playlist with hand-picked selections from the winning combo of Omar and Cedric, including songs from At The Drive-In, The Mars Volta, as other side projects.

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