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The Bedlam In Goliath

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Editors’ Notes

Part-metal, part-funk, part-prog rock, part dada art project, the Mars Volta slice and dice rhythms, riffs and concepts with little concern for their overall cohesion. In fact, sharp, disparate chaos only excites them further. The string-mangling comes from all directions throughout their fourth studio album, 2008’s The Bedlam in Goliath. The excited hot rail lead guitars of the tune “Goliath” jumpstart singer Cedric Bixler-Zayala’s manic inquisitions until he screeches like an excited puppy midway through the seven-minute epic. It stands as a message coded in tongues. (The lyrics were allegedly inspired in part by a Ouija board guitarist-producer Omar Rodriguez-Lopez found in Jerusalem.) Mythmaking is part of this ensemble’s stock in trade, and the mystical titles are met with music every bit as cryptic and deliberately weird. Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante adds his share of twisted riffs, and the band play tug-of-war within the time signatures of each tune, creating a funk that isn’t always danceable but remains consistently guttural and alluringly middle-Eastern. “Metatron” breaks down into near incoherency. “Cavaletta” pummels with nervous tension. Score one for chaos.

Customer Reviews

Better than I ever expected

This is a fantastic album from start to finish. It is not fair to compare it to any preceding albums although it bears a resemblance to each preceding album in a particular way. It is entirely it's own entity, living and breathing almost, like in the track "Cavalettas". Ouroborous is my favourite track; it starts out in a frenzy like something from de-loused, but becomes a more solid composition as it goes along making use of beautiful chord progression layered on top of excellent rhythmic composition and even throws some lulls in the action in there. It truly is a mesmerizing work, so don't just buy the singles. One song would not do this album justice, you just wouldn't figure it out like you need to.

An Intriguing and Refreshing Composition

It took them a few albums, but the Volta finally seems to have centered on a more polished mix of jazz, classic rock, punk, prog, etc. Their previous album, “Frances the Mute” turned out to be a disappointing collage of random, incoherent sound effects, (save for the tracks "The Widow", and the two small acoustic/simple guitar riff bits towards the end), and failed to live up (as a whole) to the monumental standard set by their masterpiece "De-Loused in the Comatorium". However, "The Bedlam in Goliath" has stepped up to reaffirm the Volta's status as one of the most unique and talented musical groups ever to be classified in the Alternative genre. The first track of this album, Aberinkula, blasts off and prepares the listener for enthralling guitar compositions such as Ilyena, with a buzzing synth intro that builds to a fantastic solo. Later on, the track "Goliath", (virtually a re-mix of the song "Rapid Fire Tollbooth" from Omar's solo album "Se Dice Bistone, No Bufalo"), speeds past with bursts of guitar and, as always, hypnotic vocals. Later on, "Ouroborous" pulses past with a sound that reminds one of the first few tracks of De-Loused. By lightening up on the synth, injecting a bit more jazz influence, and remembering crucial tactics such as effective pauses from their previous albums, The Mars Volta have created a colourful, vibrant and truly listenable composition that will more than satisfy fans of their previous works.

This album is an album and not just a collection of songs

Listen to this album from beginning to end. At times you won't even know it changes to the next song. Like one big song. Best album I own.


Formed: 2001 in El Paso, TX

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Picking up the pieces from At the Drive-In, Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez formed the Mars Volta and wasted little time branching out into elements of hardcore, psychedelic rock, and free jazz that expanded on the boundaries of their previous work. Although their previous band's demise ultimately arrived before they were able to truly capitalize on their mounting commercial triumphs, the Mars Volta immediately impressed with their willingness to eschew conventional logic and push themselves...
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