The Bedlam In Goliath - The Mars Volta

Generally favorable reviews - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 31
  2. Negative: 4 out of 31
  1. The Mars Volta have created the first great record of 2008. [Mar 2008, p.145]
  2. This should have been the album where the Mars Volta either wore the formula down to nothing or abruptly turned in a different direction, but instead the band created an album that nearly perfects what they've been working toward.
  3. The Bedlam in Goliath is simply an immense album.
  4. 90
    Instead of eight people trying to make many noises as possible, this is the sound of a unified band trying to make the best noise possible. [Winter 2008, p.90]
  5. The Bedlam In Goliath has its unnecessary extravagances but it’s still a grand catharsis from the forces of evil. Or, for those unwilling to allow a little imagination into their lives, just a really fucking good record.
  6. For the most part, this is the heaviest record that they’ve recorded and the most far-out as well.
  7. 80
    This is unlikely to expand thier fanbase, but The Mars Volta are making music built to last. [Feb 2008, p.113]
  8. 80
    They've pulled together their most digestible record yet. [Feb 2008, p.84]
  9. 80
    Never before have these kings of experimental metal sustained such pulse-quickening energy, honing their tricks--cryptic lyrics, cliffhanging cries, spine-twisting rhythms--into a screaming arrow of sound.
  10. there is a great leap in the songwriting--closer to classic hard-rock force and melodic drama--that, in 'Goliath,' 'Cavaletta'" and the Holy City atmospheres of 'Soothsayer,' is even more jolting than the weirdness.
  11. Most of the time, however, the band makes a righteous racket that straddles the worlds of prog rock, funk, fusion jazz and world music, with Eastern motifs spicing 'Aberinkula' and a bit of cosmic blues making its way into 'Conjugal Burns.'
  12. 80
    Rarely does rock music feel so simultaneously orchestrated and raw. [Mar 2008, p.98]
  13. You have to give props to a group that proficiently draws on Frank Zappa, Rush, and the Banana Splits. [8 Feb 2008, p.66]
  14. If you give it the chance, though--and if you’re not already a member of the tribe, it takes perseverance--Bedlam sinks its fangs into you.
  15. The manner in which the group weave complex musical tapestries is certainly impressive from a purely technical perspective, but you suspect that they were a lot more fun to assemble than they are to listen to.
  16. There's greater scope here [more] than ever before, with the gentle llyena providing space before Cavaletta's riot of detuned radios, car alarms and struggling internet connections. [Feb 2008, p.99]
  17. The converted will no doubt welcome their current interest in Middle Eastern superstition, plus intricate tunes such as 'The Second Coming'. Outsiders, however, may remain sceptical.
  18. On The Bedlam in Goliath, they don’t even let their affinity for wacky sprawling passages run away with them too much, though they are plagued by unwise decisions how to put their good ideas to execution.
  19. The Bedlam In Goliath ultimately sounds like The Mars Volta, nothing more and nothing less. [Winter 2008, p.83]
  20. But even the highest highs soon crash and dissipate, wallowing once more in a proggy bog.
  21. It's a black hole of esoteric expressionism, as baffling as it is brilliant.
  22. This is rut music and The Mars Volta are still stuck in it; even if they’ve managed to avoiding digging themselves any deeper with Goliath’s frenetic lateral slides into pseudo bedlam, momentum is only momentum if you’re going somewhere.
  23. I'm sure defenders of the band will champion Mars Volta as a keeper of the prog-rock flame, but The Bedlam in Goliath renders the term meaningless--the result couldn't be more averse to actual progress in rock music.
  24. The band's frenzied rate of output seems to have trampled any inner editor, and the result is a splat of concepts and virtuosity that never coheres.
  25. 40
    For the Volta, more is always more, but rarely has a band with this much potential been so willing to squander its strengths.
  26. The Bedlam in Goliath is an exhausting and overwhelming effort that fails to leave any tangible impression.
  27. Three albums and 700 guitar solos later, they sound like a band becoming a bit too comfortable in their niche.
  28. The Bedlam in Goliath is an exhausting listen and it seems like the guys have tried to pack in as many prog-rock clichés as possible.
  29. TMV’s latest major-label misfire is called The Bedlam in Goliath
  30. The "songs" (a relative concept on planet Mars Volta) sound as though they are competing to unleash as many prog-rock cliches as possible: portentous guitar riffs and twiddly bits are interspersed with all manner of atonal wind instruments and sonic pomposities.
  31. Sadly, this album takes sound and fury, signifying nothing, to new depths.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 140 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 45 out of 52
  2. Negative: 3 out of 52
  1. Oct 22, 2013
    This fourth epic tale from the Mars Volta does not have the sprawling 10 minute plus tracks of it's predessesors... but that's completely acceptable given the presence of tracks like 'Goliath', 'Cavalettas' and 'Metatron' which give no quarter to 4/4. 'Ilyena' paints a soundscape of it's own in 5 minutes, and 'Conjugal Burns' wraps it all up in a red bow. Let's talk about the cover art, too. Man! There hasn't been album art this great since ELP's 'Tarkus'. If you happen to come across 'Bedlam' on vinyl, frame that baby! Full Review »
  2. Aug 23, 2013
    The Bedlam In Goliath is mental, for that, and many other reasons I love it! The Mars Volta are one of my favourite bands, and this is my favourite album by them. It's the most insane, most funky, and has the least amount of weird noises of any Mars Volta album (except from maybe Noctourniquet... But that's different). This album is consistently brilliant and is ever changing with it's styles and lyrics. The best songs are Goliath, Metatron, Wax Simulatra and Agadez.
    The Bedlam In Goliath reperesents The Mars Volta at it's very best, with consistently brilliant songs. So I give this album a... 99/100!
    Full Review »
  3. j30
    Dec 1, 2011
    The Bedlam In Goliath is Mars Volta's best body of work to date. The songwriting and music is as good as it's ever been. I absolutely love this album.