the mars volta // "the malkin jewel"

by tim saunders

The Mars Volta have been known to challenge their musical identity ever since their debut album De-Loused in the Comatorium released back in 2003 and “The Malkin Jewel” has shown to be no exception. The progressive rock outfit has returned with a new single “The Malkin Jewel” released today for their upcoming album Noctorniquet, the first after a two-and-a-half year wait (an eternity for The Volta and their loyal fanbase). The song contains muddied, distorted guitar playing, seemingly offbeat drums from new drummer Deantoni Parks, and a multitude of synthesizer and keyboard layers that we haven’t heard from the band before. While these are new and interesting changes to a band that reinvents its sound every few years, the greatest difference is in vocalist Cedric Bixler-Zavala’s voice. He delivers the song’s macabre lyrics in a style of pugnacity and belligerence that we haven’t heard since his days in At The Drive-In. The song brilliantly and abruptly ends in a clash of Cedric’s haunting vocals, guitar, drums and synthesizers, leaving those who listen craving more.

Although this song is great for their active fan base, someone who might be looking for accessibility or an entrance way into The Mars Volta might not find it in this song. The song seems polarizing at first when it doesn’t kick into full gear until about a minute, so it might not please everyone. Still, its uniqueness is appreciable and hopefully an indication of how Noctourniquet will turn out when it releases March 27th.


Listen to more from The Mars Volta now, via Spotify.