Scab Dates - The Mars Volta

Mixed or average reviews - based on 14 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 14
  2. Negative: 3 out of 14
  1. Exhausting, self-indulgent, and also kind of awesome. [18 Nov 2005, p.134]
  2. Marvellous. [5 Nov 2005, p.45]
  3. One of those rare live offerings: a document that actually complements the band's catalog. [#12, p.95]
  4. Scab Dates is yet another intriguing window into the Mars Volta's world, instead of just a live album holdover.
  5. Seventy-three crack-in-the-earth's-crust minutes liquefy into the same basic miasma as the sophomore LP that inspired them, yet more streamlined, less apt to wander into the ambient dead zones like "Caviglia," a problematic disconnection of the disc's overall forward thrust.
  6. 60
    Your appreciation of Scab Dates will be predicated on a high tolerance to long bongo solos and songs called things like "Abrasions Mount The Timpani". [Jan 2006, p.113]
  7. Scabdates is as exhilarating as it is confounding.
  8. Scab Dates does an adequate job of capturing what is best experienced in the flesh.
  9. At its best, it's a fantastic album, with amazing musicianship that's emotionally striking. At it's worse, it's empty.
  10. 40
    The songs get lost in waves of wah-wah long before a long, slow fade into random-noise oblivion. [Dec 2005, p.149]
  11. At once punishingly long and oddly incomplete. [Feb/Mar 2006, p.110]
  12. Given which songs are chosen and when this is being released, Scab Dates is a neither a concession nor a step forward, revealing inclinations that feel half as indulgent as they should when following a record like Frances the Mute, and about half as interesting to listen to.
  13. The album is essentially a tried-and-true big-budget rock album gimmick writ large: smother the listeners in a minute or so of formless noise (using the artiest guitar and keyboard settings imaginable, of course), and then snap them out of the doldrums with the sweep of a heroic chord progression.
  14. Wading through the next 70-plus minutes of wandering noise and blank hissing for the gems was painful, to put it mildly, because when I got to them, they were played off-key and incredibly quickly, as if the band wanted to get it over with and get back to banging on the guitars and making nonsensical noise.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 31 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 20
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 20
  3. Negative: 5 out of 20
  1. j30
    Mar 22, 2012
    Scab Dates really doesn't do Mars Volta any favors, it actually suggests they're better in the studio than they are live. Which is true to a point. I've had friends tell me they loved and hated the same performance. When I saw them open for the Red Hot Chili Peppers I left with mixed feelings. They have great energy on stage, but the music in some areas felt chaotic and flat-out boring. Their high points were exhilarating, particularly Viscera Eyes and Roulette Dares (The Haunt of). The Mars Volta need some sort of quality control of their live performances, meaning there are songs that are going to sound awesome live and some that are going to sound like **** In conclusion, Scab Dates is terrible due to it's horrid sound quality and song selection Full Review »
  2. kylel.
    Nov 16, 2007
    if you don't like this album its because its over your head. the closest our generation will ever get to led zepplin
  3. Richard
    Oct 4, 2006
    I intensly adore the mars volta. Frances the mute is amoung my all time favourite albums, deloused in the commatorium and the new amputechture are not far behind. The problem i have with this alubm is that strangely, they sound better live. That may sound strange, seeing as this is a live alubm, but the mars volta live sound a thousand times better than this album. That is not so much a criticism of this album as it is a testement to their actual live performances. Full Review »