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|12. Assemble The Empire|
When hirsute El Paso, Texas, emo gods At the Drive-In abruptly called it quits and split into two factions--unofficially, the afros and non-afros--dismayed fans feared that it spelled the end for their pummeling, tight-wire guitar rock. Not so. While hairy frontman Cedric Bixler and guitarist Omar Rodriguez did, indeed, venture into weirdo space jazz under the name the Mars Volta, guitarist Jim Ward, bassist Paul Hinojos, and drummer Tony Hajjar stay on course as Sparta. Wiretap Scars echoes the reckless beauty of the trio's former band. The album features raw punk fury on "Cut Your Ribbon," emotional dissonance in "Cataract," and an absurdly exuberant melody ("Glasshouse Tarot") or two ("Mye") scattered about. And it rocks like a bastard. --Aidin Vaziri
Top Customer Reviews
My favorite tracks are the less edgy ones with the electronic riffs constructed on the last 2 tracks "assemble the empire" and "echnodyne harmonic" but the cd soars musically with the chilling base of "glasshouse tarot" and the crescendo in the 6th track (my favorite) "light burns clear" in its chorus "fan the flames to the landslide:crown yourself in the wake: we play this disaster:fanfare, fanfare, liar"
Songs like "cataract" which is also on their ep and "collapse" adds a hauntingly spooky element. Cataract bears a resemblance to the at the drive-in track "invalid litter dept."
I did give it a 4 because its edge was rough, its a part of their sound they can either stray from or improve on their follow-up "porcelain" which is due in july. "cut your ribbon" didnt do much for me and neither does "air" but i like the rest of the cd perfect.
So many people are also Sparta as emo. I don't think that this is true. I don't think that one song on the CD really has anything to do with the singer whining about how his girlfriend dumped him at all, and that's all emo is about these days (see quintessential emo song "Screaming Infidelities" by Dashboard Confessional). Sparta is something different.
Each song is laden with enough raw energy and power to make you feel the music. Yeah, this review is over a year after the CD came out, but it is simply amazing. One of the best CDs I have ever heard, honestly. In my top 5 favorite CDs of all time. The thing is, every single song on this CD is listenable and that is important to me as an avid music listener. Jim Ward has an achievement with the profound lyrics written on this album. Many critics dismiss the sound as being predictable, but that is crap. I've listened to a lot of music and this sounds like nothing I've listened to. It's an experience listening to it and it's just plain fun.
Buy this album and experience the brilliance that is Sparta.
Oh yeah, new CD soon. Sweet.
Not that it makes them a bad band- they just have a different style. It's more melodic, less chaotic, and I like the keyboard/synth elements in the music. I really dig Jim Ward as a lead singer, his voice sounds great on almost every track. The guitar work is classic Ward- gone are all the atmospheric noodlings of Omar Rodriguez, replaced totally by Ward's more straighforward style. Don't misinterpret- I love Omar's guitar work on both ATDI and Mars Volta, but it certainly wouldn't work on the type of songs Sparta plays. I like the chord voicings that Ward uses and there's some really sweet riffs on this CD (like the main riff from "Red Alibi").
This CD has some truly sweet songs on it. "Cut Your Ribbon" is probably the closest thing on here to an ATDI song, and it rocks. "Cataract" is the best song on this CD in my opinion, and it's not really close either. That's not a dig at the rest of the disc, just that that song really blew my mind the first time I heard it. "Mye" is an awesome song too, except that the version on the "Austere" EP is better.Read more ›
The other went to college, took up an interest in songwriting structure and maintained the essence of what made their parents great and became Sparta.
I am quite dismayed by the prevailing disappointment so many reviewers have show this band and this album which, in my opinion, is one of the few perfect albums to come out since Glassjaw's "Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Silence" (perfect meaning not a single song is skipable. I can't say that about Mars Volta).
Jim Ward conveys such awesome vocal presence in his new role as frontman. Even in the ATDI days his voice stood out behind Cedric's as a more jagged, visceral sound and here he never falters once. And for those who would claim his and Paul's guitar playing is "typical" "sub-par" and "predictable", I would guess none of you actually play guitar. Their use of uncommon chord voicings, arrangements and spacey, electronic effects to punctuate good old fashioned alt-emo riffs and melodies is by far some of the best playing I've heard since ATDI or the above mentioned Glassjaw.
Admittedly when I first got this album I wasn't blown away and listened only to the songs "Cut Your Ribbon" and "Mye", but I've long contended that the stuff I end up loving the most, I did not initially like. And Sparta definitely falls into that category.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
i made a huge mistake with this album, i heard the demos before i heard the finished versions. if anyone else did this then i would think they would probably agree with me when i... Read morePublished on Feb. 17 2005 by patrick bateman
This cd is awesome. i went to see them in toronto on july 6th with incubus and they were awesome. had a standing ovation.. ppl loved them as well i do.. there great. Read morePublished on July 9 2004 by Steve McInnes
After the break up of ATDI i found out about sparta and the mars volta. ATDI have two sides of them the electronic/mystical and the hard rocking side. Read morePublished on July 4 2004 by graham
This is by far the most boring album I own...If the opening track "Cut Your Ribbon" is the heaviest they can get then there is no impressing me.Published on June 27 2004 by echelondecline
When listening to this CD and the Mars Volta's De-Loused In The Comatorium, it's very easy to see where all the talent in ATDI ended up. And it's not in Sparta. Read morePublished on June 2 2004 by A Cow
I bought this cd with 'The Mars Voltas' 'Deloused.....' And I can say without a doubt that The Mars Volta made a better album. Read morePublished on April 25 2004 by Dan
Anyone that reviews this album after only a couple of listens need not be heard. Your opinion is biased! Read morePublished on March 23 2004 by TheWarInside
First of all, i never write reviews for anything. I'm too lazy. But i have to at least say something about this CD. It is totally awesome. Read morePublished on Feb. 8 2004 by David Noto
While I wouldn't call myself much of an At The Drive In fan there were some tracks that you couldn't help but admit were great, sadly I never got into much of the rest. Read morePublished on Jan. 9 2004 by Vince401
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