De-Loused in the Comatorium

De-Loused in the Comatorium
Studio album by The Mars Volta
Released June 24, 2003
Recorded 2002–2003 at The Mansion, Los Angeles
Genre Progressive rock, experimental rock, jazz-rock, psychedelic rock, post-hardcore
Length 60:51
Label Gold Standard Laboratories
Universal Records
Producer Rick Rubin, Omar Rodríguez-López
The Mars Volta chronology
De-Loused in the Comatorium
Frances the Mute
Singles from De-Loused in the Comatorium
  1. "Inertiatic ESP"
    Released: March 23, 2004
  2. "Televators"
    Released: April 6, 2004
Alternative cover
Alternative cover by Storm Thorgerson found on certain limited editions and on the reverse side of original cover

De-Loused in the Comatorium is the debut studio album by American progressive rock band The Mars Volta, released on June 24, 2003, on Gold Standard Laboratories and Universal Records. Based on a short story written by lead singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala and sound manipulation artist Jeremy Michael Ward, the concept album is an hour-long tale of Cerpin Taxt, a man who enters a week-long coma after overdosing on a mixture of morphine and rat poison. The story of Cerpin Taxt alludes to the death of El Paso, Texas artist—and Bixler-Zavala's friend—Julio Venegas (1972–1996).

Co-produced by Rick Rubin and guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, it is the only studio album to feature founding member Jeremy Michael Ward, who was found dead in an apparent heroin overdose one month before the album was released. Following the departure of Eva Gardner, Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea occupied the role of bass guitarist on this album.

The music contained in De-Loused is distinguished by its enigmatic lyrics, Latin and jazz rhythms, and Omar Rodríguez-López's frenetic guitar riffs, which are often strongly dissonant. The title of this album is taken from the lyrics of the song "Eunuch Provocateur" on the band's previous release, Tremulant. The cover artwork is by Storm Thorgerson.

Background and recording

Two songs from the album, "Roulette Dares (The Haunt Of)" and "Cicatriz ESP," first appeared in 2001 as the band's very first demo recordings with bassist Eva Gardner and drummer Blake Fleming; notably, the early version of "Cicatriz ESP" (then known as "Cicatrix") was slower and much shorter (4 minutes) than the album one (at 12 minutes being the longest track on the album). Both tracks can be legally obtained through The Comatorium's trading forum.


Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
Entertainment WeeklyA−[4]
The Guardian[5]
Los Angeles Times[6]
Pitchfork Media4.9/10[7]
Rolling Stone[9]
The Village VoiceC+[11]

De-Loused became, both critically and commercially, the band's biggest hit, eventually selling in excess of 500,000 copies despite limited promotion, and was featured on several critics' "Best of the Year" lists.[12] The album was ranked number 55 on the October 2006 issue of Guitar World magazine's list of the 100 greatest guitar albums of all time.[13] "Drunkship of Lanterns" was named the 91st best guitar song of all-time by Rolling Stone.[14]

As of June 2016, the album had a score of 82 out of 100 from Metacritic based on "universal acclaim".[1] Alternative Press gave the album a perfect score of all five stars and said it "takes multiple listens to absorb, and, even then, you're probably not going to have a clue to what Bixler's raving about."[1] Yahoo! Music UK gave it a score of eight stars out of ten and said it was "not an album to listen to casually. It insists on taking over your life for an hour, demands a level of concentration rare in rock, amply repays multiple plays."[15] Under the Radar gave the album eight stars out of ten and said that the band "has created the antithesis of ATDI, leaving behind any formula or typicality. What they kept was the fire, the fury, and the passion."[1] Drowned in Sound gave it a score of eight out of ten and called it "truly exquisite and well worth the wait."[16] Playlouder gave it a score of four stars out of five and said, "There are moments of prog rock, jazz fusion and freakydelia in this rush of ideas and if that sounds awful then don't be put off. Instead of the shambolic mess that this kinda influence normally entails Mars Volta have come strictly disciplined."[17] Uncut gave it four stars out of five and said: "Imagine a jam session between King Crimson, Fugazi and '70s Miles. Now imagine it working. That's the Mars Volta."[18] Blender also gave it four stars and said it "Roars like Led Zeppelin, churns like King Crimson and throbs like early Santana."[1] Tiny Mix Tapes likewise gave it a score of four out of five and called it "a very strong debut album for the Mars Volta."[19] Ink 19 Magazine also gave it a favorable review and said it was "definitely worth checking out, but make sure to keep an open mind and check any preconceived notions at the door."[20]

There were fewer reviews that were mixed: Pitchfork Media gave it a score of 4.9 out of ten and said it "just isn't fun."[7] gave it four stars out of ten and called it "a sprawling mess".[21]

In 2014, readers of Rhythm voted it the ninth-greatest drumming album in the history of progressive rock.[22] The album was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[23]

Track listing

All lyrics written by Cedric Bixler-Zavala with the help of Jeremy Michael Ward; all music composed by Omar Rodríguez-López, except where noted.

No. TitleWriter(s) Length
1. "Son et Lumière"    1:35
2. "Inertiatic ESP"    4:24
3. "Roulette Dares (The Haunt Of)"    7:31
4. "Tira Me a las Arañas" ("Throw Me to the Spiders")  1:28
5. "Drunkship of Lanterns"  Rodríguez-López, Bixler-Zavala 7:06
6. "Eriatarka"    6:20
7. "Cicatriz ESP"    12:29
8. "This Apparatus Must Be Unearthed"  Rodríguez-López, Bixler-Zavala 4:58
9. "Televators"    6:19
10. "Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt"    8:42


The following people contributed to De-Loused in the Comatorium:


Additional musicians

Recording personnel




Chart (2003) Peak
Australian Albums (ARIA)[24] 47
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[25] 74
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[26] 26
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[27] 47
UK Albums (OCC)[28] 43
US Billboard 200[29] 39

External links


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 "Reviews for De-Loused In The Comatorium by The Mars Volta". Metacritic. Retrieved January 24, 2011.
  2. Loftus, Johnny. "Deloused in the Comatorium – The Mars Volta". AllMusic. Retrieved January 24, 2011.
  3. Considine, J.D. (June–July 2003). "The Mars Volta: De-Loused in the Comatorium". Blender (17): 138. Archived from the original on April 8, 2005. Retrieved July 18, 2016.
  4. Serpick, Evan (July 18, 2003). "De-Loused in the Comatorium". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 24, 2011.
  5. Simpson, Dave (June 20, 2003). "The Mars Volta: De-Loused in the Comatorium". The Guardian. Retrieved May 9, 2016.
  6. Hochman, Steve (June 22, 2003). "More than Drive-In fare". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 24, 2011.
  7. 1 2 DiCrescenzo, Brent (June 29, 2003). "The Mars Volta: De-Loused in the Comatorium". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved January 24, 2011.
  8. "The Mars Volta: De-Loused in the Comatorium". Q (205): 101. August 2003.
  9. Hoard, Christian (July 10, 2003). "Mars Volta: De-Loused in the Comatorium". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on November 6, 2007. Retrieved January 24, 2011.
  10. Beaujon, Andrew (July 2003). "The Mars Volta: De-Loused in the Comatorium". Spin. 19 (7): 105. Retrieved July 18, 2016.
  11. Christgau, Robert (December 2, 2003). "Consumer Guide: Turkey Shoot 2003". The Village Voice. Retrieved May 9, 2016.
  12. Acclaimed Music - De-Loused in the Comatorium
  13. Chud Forums
  14. The 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time: Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2011-01-24. "The Mars Volta brought prog rock into the 21st century with this thrilling blast, and Omar Rodriguez Lopez announced himself as one of this decade's great young axmen, mixing Gang of Four riffs with Hendrix virtuosity, Latin rhythms and gallons of reverb."
  15. Yahoo! Music UK review
  16. Drowned in Sound review
  17. Playlouder review
  18. "The Mars Volta - Deloused In The Comatorium". Uncut: 98. August 2003. Retrieved 2013-05-17.
  19. Tiny Mix Tapes review
  20. Ink 19 review
  21. review
  22. "Peart named most influential prog drummer". TeamRock. 3 October 2014. Retrieved 21 August 2015.
  23. Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (23 March 2010). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 978-0-7893-2074-2.
  24. " – The Mars Volta – De-Loused in the Comatorium". Hung Medien. Retrieved June 19, 2016.
  25. " – The Mars Volta – De-Loused in the Comatorium" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved June 19, 2016.
  26. "The Mars Volta: De-Loused in the Comatorium" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat IFPI Finland. Retrieved June 19, 2016.
  27. " – The Mars Volta – De-Loused in the Comatorium" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved June 19, 2016.
  28. "Mars Volta | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart Retrieved June 19, 2016.
  29. "The Mars Volta – Chart history" Billboard 200 for The Mars Volta. Retrieved June 19, 2016.
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