Being a massive progressive rock fan, I have FINALLY gotten around to checking these guys out. I was kind of weary because things get so overhyped these days with people proclaiming “this is the greatest band ever” or “the greatest film ever”. But luckily, these gentlemen are fantastic. I wished I had checked out them earlier, because this album is pretty damn amazing. The intensity and musicianship are all there, the equivalent of the 1970’s British prog rock bands. The comparisons of The Mars Volta to Floyd, Crimson, Rush, Yes, and ELP are all justified in my opinion. It’s really cool to see bands like The Mars Volta with ambition and a touch of insanity to make such cool music like this. I love the mood piece that opens the album, Vicarious Atonement, and the epic, 16 minutes plus slasher Tetragrammaton. I saw them perform this song on youtube, and I knew they were the real thing. Tetragrammaton has become one of my favorite prog rock songs of all time. I also dig Day of the Baphomets a lot. It has a lot of free jazz, Crimson/Coltrane elements in it that make me feel the same way when I listen to Ascenion and later Crimson (the Red album especially). Many have called The Mars Volta self indulgent and over the top, which I feel is way off base. Honestly, after decades of underachieving, mediocre performers, we can use a band like this. I really love this album and am looking forward to buying their first two, Deloused and Frances the Mute.