Generally favorable reviews - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 31
  2. Negative: 4 out of 31
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Uncut
    They've pulled together their most digestible record yet. [Feb 2008, p.84]
  5. Q Magazine
    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]
  6. Mojo
    This is unlikely to expand thier fanbase, but The Mars Volta are making music built to last. [Feb 2008, p.113]
  7. 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.
  8. For the most part, this is the heaviest record that they’ve recorded and the most far-out as well.
  9. Under The Radar
    The Bedlam In Goliath ultimately sounds like The Mars Volta, nothing more and nothing less. [Winter 2008, p.83]
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 40
    For the Volta, more is always more, but rarely has a band with this much potential been so willing to squander its strengths.
  14. Entertainment Weekly
    You have to give props to a group that proficiently draws on Frank Zappa, Rush, and the Banana Splits. [8 Feb 2008, p.66]
  15. Alternative Press
    The Mars Volta have created the first great record of 2008. [Mar 2008, p.145]
  16. But even the highest highs soon crash and dissipate, wallowing once more in a proggy bog.
  17. The Bedlam in Goliath is an exhausting and overwhelming effort that fails to leave any tangible impression.
  18. Three albums and 700 guitar solos later, they sound like a band becoming a bit too comfortable in their niche.
  19. Sadly, this album takes sound and fury, signifying nothing, to new depths.
  20. TMV’s latest major-label misfire is called The Bedlam in Goliath
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. It's a black hole of esoteric expressionism, as baffling as it is brilliant.
  24. Filter
    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]
  25. 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.'
  26. The Bedlam in Goliath is simply an immense album.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. Vibe
    Rarely does rock music feel so simultaneously orchestrated and raw. [Mar 2008, p.98]
  31. 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.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 149 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 8 out of 149
  1. Sense!
    Mar 24, 2008
    Any mars volta album is an album to buy. Recently the only good stuff coming out is f*cking folk music and its soooo booooring! This cd tears Any mars volta album is an album to buy. Recently the only good stuff coming out is f*cking folk music and its soooo booooring! This cd tears apart everything you know about music and mashes it up - you need to repeat it several times -- only old people won't like this music - IT IS FANTASTIC! Full Review »
  2. Bob
    Feb 18, 2008
    Amazing album. It started making sense after second listen. Don't judge it after only one listen. Every second is great and that
  3. AJW.
    Feb 15, 2008
    This is the first Mars Volta album I've heard, and I genuinely thought it was excellent. It's absolutely insane and frenzied, and This is the first Mars Volta album I've heard, and I genuinely thought it was excellent. It's absolutely insane and frenzied, and for that I love it. Full Review »