This is what happens when medical research monkeys escape and find a stash of instruments and recording equipment. When ex-members of At The Drive-In care for the monkeys and form them into a monster-fighting band of precision and awe, you’re left with the Mars Volta. The guitar riffs are sharp and quick; the vocals are true and electronically enhanced in ways that make sense; the drumming is what you’d expect from a band called the Mars Volta.
You’ll need to forget the blatant rocking of ATDI - while not completely missing; it’s definitely hidden amongst the odd styles, shakers, and vertigo. Light doses of Styx-inspired dueling, drunken boxing, and some Disco Volante - will either please your ears or implode your skull. I can’t foresee Mars Volta showing up on MTV’s TRL but I can see them atop many reputable top 10 lists of 2003.