Noctourniquet - The Mars Volta
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 50 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 46 out of 50
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 50
  3. Negative: 4 out of 50

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  1. Mar 27, 2012
    The Mars Volta strike lucky once again after a string of good but nonetheless average releases. Noctourniquet, builds on the groups Octahedron but thankfully moves back into more experimental territory. For die-hard fans of Bedlam or Ampatecture, you may find a lack of sonic lunacy, but while Noctourniquet fails in scope it more than makes up for in melody and immediacy. Whilst most Mars Volta albums take a staggering amount of listens to fully appreciate their sound (hence mixed and impatient reviews from critics), Noctourniquet spits in the face of its detractors by remaining true to their unique sound of prog-rock without forsaking or alienating the actual sound and melodies. It isn't perfect but by all accounts if this is to be their last album, it's one hell of a way to go out on. Best Tracks: Empty Vessels Make the Loudest Sound, Aegis, Lapochka, In Absentia. Expand
  2. Mar 27, 2012
    At last something exciting and inspiring from TMV. In my opinion, second best album to date, after Frances the Mute. Noctourniquet renew my love to TMV, thank you!
  3. Apr 2, 2012
    I think this is a more successful version of what they were trying to do with Octahedron. Stripped down but still original and electric songs that clock in under 10 minutes. I am still waiting for a return to the epic glory of Frances The Mute but maybe its time to accept that this band has morphed into a different animal. They are still better then everyone else out there and one always has to give them credit for attempting to push music forward rather then just replicating what has come before. This album has some legitimately great songs that have a very distinctive sound in that they don't sound like other bands and they also don't sound like old Volta. Volta keeps finding great drummers, Deantoni Parks does a fantastic job on this album. Expand
  4. Mar 27, 2012
    Although the album begins with a very, very weak song (the whip hand) It quickly picks up to relive the brilliance of their old days, not quite reaching Frances the Mute or De-loused, but achieving one of their top three album status.
  5. Mar 27, 2012
    Omar and crew have done it again! I was fortunate enough to catch Omar Rodriguez-Lopez Group at South by Southwest last year, and little did I know that it would turn out to be a Mars Volta show with a preview of most of the tracks on Noctourniquet. I was impressed with the new material then, but having bought the album today I can say that I am very impressed with the way that these songs came out in the studio recordings. TMV has always been an intense band. Not necessarily in the same way that a hardcore band is intense, but in the way that their music evokes feelings and wonder upon the listener. At first listen Noctourniquet can be unsettling at times, but over the course of multiple listens I've come to appreciate this album. I can't call it my favorite TMV album, but it's a very good one. As I write this no less than 4 songs are fighting for my humming attention. Dyslexicon, Lapochka, In Absentia, and Zed and Two Naughts. Definitely worth a purchase! Expand
  6. Oct 1, 2012
    Good album to evolve, not such to remain the same. Clearly not your average The Mars Volta Jon Theodore on-the-drums, but a nice new travel to embark upon.
  7. Mar 27, 2012
    On the subject of the Mars Volta's newest album, Noctourniquet, I have this to say: WOW. The Mars Volta stun with a stellar set of ideas crashing and smashing and battling one another for space and time on the album. At first, it's frighteningly chaotic; the tumbling, twisted guitars on "The Malkin Jewel", the brain-rattling synth chorus on the opening track, "The Whip Hand." But where there is chaos, order also strikes; the straightforward roll-and-thump-and-rattle of "Aegis" and the calm, sweet beauty of "Empty Vessels Make the Loudest Sound" can attest to that. So while staunch Volta fans may not get the same kick out of this that they did from The Bedlam In Goliath or Frances the Mute, newcomers and Volta fans willing to listen to the band's rapidly expanding sound will adore this latest release. Key tracks: "Empty Vessels Make the Loudest Sound," "In Absentia," "The Whip Hand." Expand
  8. Apr 18, 2012
    The Mars Volta: Noctourniquet is an awesome prog punk funk rock album. I love it! It's probably not my favorite Mars Volta album, but it's definitely not the worst; it's best songs are: Molochwalker, The Malkin Jewel, Vedamalady, Dislexicon, Zed and Two Naughts: the worst song is In Absentia, but it's still a great song! It's different, but still amazing.
  9. Mar 27, 2012
    When I first heard De-loused in the Comatorium (Mars Volta's debut album) I was in shock. The album was a near perfect blend of virtuosic guitar skill, masterful drumming (polyrhythms), sound manipulation, and evocative lyrics. The images produced by the music were unbelievably unique and I was in love after a few listens. That was in 2003. I continued to follow the band and waited each of their new releases with bated breath. Their next two releases (Frances the Mute and Amputechture) were not only stellar but also incorporated musical styles not usually seen in prog rock (latin salsa). Sadly, after amputechture, Volta's releases seem to took a nose dive in enjoyability. Musical exploration is great but excessive musicality is not. The band seemed to want to display their ample technical skill just for the sake of showing it off. While this is occasionally great for listeners who crave to listen to a song for just a 10 second guitar riff, it doesn't make for memorable albums/songs. After the release of Octahedron in 2009 it became tougher and tougher to defend the Volta from the haters. I would find myself just listening to their older albums than force myself to listen to the bleep bloops pretentious guitar/synth/key/horn/10 other instrument noodling "epics" of the recent releases. So, needless to say, I was nervous when I heard that my one time favorite band was coming out with new album named Noctourniquet. Well, after listening to the album around 8 times, I can safely say that it is a return to form. Is it as enjoyable as De-loused? No, but it's close. The sound is decidedly different since The Volta has evolved with the times and was undoubtedly influenced by the ever so popular electronica and dubstep genres. For some reason this new style gave way to reasonable song structures; an idea forsaken in almost every previous release. This consolidation of music structure really increased the accessibility of the album and makes some of the hooks and melodies really stand out. Expand
  10. Mar 27, 2012
    The last couple of albums by The Mars Volta have lacked something. While both had good music on them, they largely felt somewhat devoid of the feeling that was present on their first 2 albums. Those records had a lot of soul to them. Their newer efforts also had a largely formulaic approach to the music, and began to get boring despite having some strong writing. Noctourniquet is a different sounding record than anything they have put out thus far and has renewed my love for a band that has put out 2 of my favorite albums of all time. Noctrourniquet is a headphone album. That means you will get more out of this album with a good pair of headphones. This is due to the great textures and other audio nuances that have been added to the music in this one. Its more sparse sounding than anything theyve put out and very dissonant. But this is also one of their lightest albums as well. This is due to the excellent vocals on this album and some of the lyrics. New influences can be heard on the album as well. More electronic sounds have been used, and there is more emphasis on synths, both warm sounding and also harsh and dissonant. The songwriting is more straightforward than the complex parts that made up many songs on goliath. But these songs also take the music to new areas and are very 'proggy'. They establish atmosphere amazingly well, such as the song In absythia, which sounds like something from some other dimension, but then busts into an organic sounding end with amazing vocals. This is vocally one of their strongest efforts. The songs spark many emotions in the listener. There seems to be more of a focus on atmosphere in this album, its more sparse but also very lush with its use of synths and rich vocals. The album is both dissonant and warm. Harsh and soft. Intricate and simple. Its the best album The Mars Volta have put out since Frances the Mute. Collapse
  11. Apr 3, 2012
    The comeback from The mars volta is the most fully-realized album since Frances the Mute, which is still their undying, timeless masterpiece. Noctourniquet, however, is MV's most consistent album and is their most accessible to date, yes even more than the epic De-loused in the comatorium, as Noct uses more similar song structures to previous album Octahedron, which was a bit of a let-down for hardcore fans. Although the bands sixth release is undeniably catchy in spots, and like i said earlier, their most accessible to date, it is still very experimental. It is a huge improvement over Octahedron, and it feels like the band has rediscovered a fire that hasnt been seen since the deloused era. What's surprising is this is all being done despite Noctourniqet having an extreme lack of Omar and his instrument of choice, the guitar. He takes a backseat to what is possibly Cedrics best vocal work and lyricism to date, not to mention the blaring synths, and new drummer deantoni parks' robotic fills. Noctourniquet is yet another surprise from the volta, different from anything they've ever done, yet still full of emotion (concept/story) and experimentation, as well as some of the best hooks i've heard in a long time. Another classic outing from a timeless band. All songs recommended, as well as a listen from start to finish Expand
  12. May 21, 2012
    So finally, after an unusually long wait, we get Nocturniquet. Like most of The Mars Volta's releases it took me a few good listens with a decent pair of headphones. After every listen I found a song that had something to show me that it didn't before and that in itself is why I love The Mars Volta. I was first hooked to Dyslexicon and Molochwalker, but I soon found the whole album flowing together very nicely from beginning to finish. It is a totally new direction, one in which the old school fans may not get. But for myself I find it to be an enduring memorable album. Expand

Generally favorable reviews - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 25
  2. Negative: 0 out of 25
  1. Apr 25, 2012
    Assured and challenging. Unlikely to convert the uninitiated, it will thrill the Volta Nation. [May 2012, p.92]
  2. Apr 18, 2012
    Noctourniquet, while not completely successful, finds The Mars Volta at their most pop and their most reasonable.
  3. Apr 17, 2012
    In a sense, the veil is lifted ever-so-slightly with this new [album]: although they still wump you with weird on sonic gauntlets like "Molochwalker" and the title track, they also hit on some great choruses and comprehensible songcraft that, unlike most of their earlier work, is commendable for something other than the effort it took to create it.