The Mars Volta was a ProgressiveRock band from El Paso, Texas (curently based in Mexico) formed in 2001. ''Rolling Stone'' magazine named them the best prog-rock band of 2008.

Rodríguez-López and Parks went on to form a new project, Bosnian Rainbows. In addition, Rodríguez-López, Bixler-Zavala, and Hinojos' previous band, At the Drive-In, has reunited, although there are no current plans to record any new material. As of January 25, 2013 The Mars Volta has officially split up. As of April 2014, Rodriguez-López and Bixler-Zavala have [[http://www.nme.com/news/the-mars-volta/76609 formed a new project entitled Antemasque]] (also featuring former Mars Volta drummer Dave Elitch and Music/RedHotChiliPeppers bassist Flea). Whether this means a reunion for The Mars Volta, it's in the air.
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Members:
* Omar Rodríguez-López: guitar, production
* Cedric Bixler-Zavala: lyrics, vocals
* Juan Alderete: electric bass
* Deantoni Parks: drums
* Marcel Rodríguez-López: percussion, synthesizers
* Lars Stalfors: sound manipulation, keyboards

Former members:

* Dave Elitch: drums
* Blake Fleming: drums
* John Frusciante: guitar
* Eva Gardner: bass
* Linda Good: touring keyboardist
* Paul Hinojos: sound technician, occasional guitar
* Ralph Jasso: bass
* Jason Lader: occasional bassist
* Isaiah Ikey Owens: keyboards
* Thomas Pridgen: drums
* Adrian Terrazas-Gonzalez: flute, tenor saxophone, bass clarinet.
* Jon Theodore: drums
* Jeremy Michael Ward: sound technician

Collaborators:

* [[StageNames Flea]] of the RedHotChiliPeppers: Bass, Trumpet
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Discography:
* 2001 - ''Tremulant'' (EP)
* 2003 - ''De-Loused in the Comatorium''
* 2005 - ''Frances the Mute''
* 2006 - ''Amputechture''
* 2008 - ''The Bedlam in Goliath''
* 2009 - ''Octahedron''
* 2012 - ''Noctourniquet''

!! This band provides examples of:
* AlbumIntroTrack: ''Deloused in the Comatorium'' has "Son et Lumiere."
* ArcNumber: The number 25 is used a lot in Frances the Mute, namely in the song Cassandra Gemini. It's used in the lyrics, and around 10 minutes in you can hear it spoken ''very'' quietly.
* AwesomeMcCoolname: Try telling anyone the name Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Omar Alfredo Rodríguez-López is dull-sounding.
* BerserkButton: Cedric tends to get vocal about his dislikes, like moshing, and cigarettes
-->'''Cedric (during the 09/13/2004 show):''' Hey, listen, man, if you guys came to see us, don't throw shit on the stage. Someone over there, one of you assholes, whoever threw it - I know you’re not all assholes - I mean, what the fuck were you thinking? When I go see my favorite band, I’m not gonna throw shit at them. You go do that at, like, ThreeDoorsDown or fuckin’ LimpBizkit. I bet you guys are the ones who drive really bad too.
** Sadly later that day a girl was smothered during a moshpit and died not too long after.
*** At another live show someone threw beer at Cedric and between songs he said he would fight outside after the show and that he would "kick their fucking ass"
::: (Doubles as a TakeThat)
* BilingualBonus: Several songs have Spanish lyrics and one ("Asilos Magdalena") is entirely in Spanish.
** Granted, Cedric's Spanish is mostly mispronounced on purpose to fit his vocal range.
* BookEnds: The "Sarcophagi" sections on ''Frances the Mute'' opens and closes the album; a whistling kettle in the first instance is also taken off the stove in the second.
* CarefulWithThatAxe: Towards the end of "Goliath". There's also a random scream thrown in at about 3:20 into "Cavalettas".
* ConceptAlbum: Four of them, in fact:
** ''De-Loused in the Comatorium'': A man named Cerpin Taxt attempts suicide via a mix of morphine and rat poison, but instead falls into a coma for a week and experiences ''very'' strange hallucinations during this time. [[spoiler:He ultimately jumps off a bridge onto a freeway during rush hour.]] Very loosely based on the life and death of the band's friend, Julio Vanegas.
** ''Frances the Mute'': Based on a diary found by the band's late audio manipulator, Jeremy Ward, in the backseat of a car in his days as a repo man. The journal described a man's search for his biological parents. The names of those who led him to his parents were altered to create the titles of the songs. In the album's story, Vismund Cygnus goes searching for his mother Frances. [[spoiler: Turns out Cygnus and the people he spoke to were split personalities of Frances' that came about after she was raped by priests, hence every character's aversion to the church and why Frances went mute; she (or her personality Cassandra) ends up killing the priests at the end of the narrative.]]
** ''The Bedlam In Goliath'': The lyrics are based on sayings and events that the band encountered while using an old ouija board they found in Jerusalem, and the string of unpleasant events that they thought were due to a curse from the board. Bixler-Zavala later said it was a commentary on how women are treated in Islamic countries.
** ''Noctourniquet'' is said to be a concept album, somehow relating to Solomon Grundy from DCU, and Hyacinthus from Greek myth.
** As for the other two albums, ''Amputechture'' didn't have a specific story but was all about organized religion [[ReligionIsWrong and the things the band didn't like about it]]; while ''Octahedron'' had one or two songs being about reacting to the Republicans winning the election at the time, or the Salem witch trials.
* CoverVersion: Six cover versions of songs by some of their favorite bands were recorded for use as bonus tracks on various versions of the Bedlam In Goliath release.
** Also their live cover of [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-H55V_oma0 "Broken English"]] by Marianne Faithfull, which takes an uptempo but dreary synthpop number and turns it into a [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vG25JUoh8kQ Santana-esque groove]].
* DrivenToSuicide: [[spoiler:Cerpin Taxt.]] This is pretty much a foregone conclusion since he's based on a real life friend of the band,[[spoiler: Julio Venegas, who committed suicide]].
* EpicRocking: They have some pretty lengthy songs, but topping them all is the 32-minute "Cassandra Gemini" from ''Frances the Mute''. Also notable because many of its musical themes were taken from live jams done in the middle of their previous longest song from ''De-Loused in the Comatorium'', "Cicatriz ESP", which would extend its length from 12 minutes (buffered by an ambient section in the middle) to 40+ minutes (all music).
* {{Homage}}: The segment between "They tied a rope around her legs and let her hang for seven days" and "This never happened" in the song "Frances the Mute" sounds like it belongs on one of the first two Mahavishnu Orchestra albums.
* HostageSituation: While ''Octahedron'' lacks a coherent story, the lyrics frequently allude to a deadly capturing scenario, in which the singer partook with some else. They are now estranged somehow.
* LastNoteNightmare: The band ''love'' this trope. "Asilos Magdalena" might be the most obvious example, but "Televators," "The Widow," "L'Via L'Viaquez" and a number of other songs also qualify.
** Most notably, however, is probably [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AFXuoqwfeQ "Tourniquet Man"]]. Being the only quiet spot on the otherwise cacophonic ''The Bedlam In Goliath'', however, this was probably to be expected. Starting off slow but ominous, the vocals suddenly become horribly distorted halfway through, the backing synths slow down and slur, the drumming grows erratic, and the saxophone keeps on playing as if nothing had happened (though to be fair, Omar has a proud tradition of giving each musician their part and not letting them hear everyone else's part until the end of recording, so for all Adrian knew, nothing ''had'' happened).
* LeaveTheCameraRunning: this is used throughout ''Frances the Mute'' with the endings of songs, most likely for an ambient effect. The most prominent example may be "Miranda That Ghost Just Isn't Holy Anymore", which opens with four minutes of coqui frogs singing.
* LoudnessWar: Every single album has clipping, which in many cases is audible. ''Noctourniquet'' was so bad that even the mastering engineer [[https://twitter.com/#!/hebakadryy/status/185105490387275777 criticised it]], claiming she was forced (by either the label or the band; it's not clear which) to master it that way. At least some of the vinyl editions also have clipping. Luckily there are [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audacity programs]] that can be used to [[http://fools-gold.org/forum/showthread.php?p=1574535#post1574535 remedy this]].
* MindScrew: Most of their lyrics and quite a bit of their music.
* MindScrewdriver: The [[http://fools-gold.org/marsvolta.html#deloused story]] the band wrote to explain the plot of ''De-Loused in the Comatorium''.
* TheNameIsBondJamesBond: "Cygnus....Vismund Cygnus"
* NeoclassicalPunkZydecoRockabilly: Their genre is hard to define, and has elements of Prog, Post-hardcore, Latin, and Electronic, amongst others.
* OneOfUs: Both Omar and Cedric have admitted to being ''DoctorWho'' fans, which is evident when they used to use The Axons as props on stage and appeared in [[http://www.last.fm/music/The+Mars+Volta/+images/3140466 publicity photos with Daleks]].
* {{Portmanteau}}: At least three album titles bear one, let alone their song names.
* RapeAndRevenge: The story of ''Frances the Mute.''
* ReligionRantSong: Several songs on ''Amputechture'' are apparently examples, although it's sometimes difficult to tell with the WordSaladLyrics. There is a pretty anti-religious theme to the concept of ''Frances the Mute'' as well.
* RevolvingDoorBand: Cedric and Omar are the only constant members of a line-up that has changed countless times over the years. Most notably, the band has had three drummers since Jon Theodore left in 2006.
* SurrealHorror
* TextlessAlbumCover: Thus far, none of their full-length studio albums have had the band name or album title on the front, although the packaging will typically include a sticker with that information on it. Most of their singles or [=EPs=] do have a title and artist name on the front, as does the LiveAlbum ''Scab Dates''.
* UncommonTime: As they're a ProgRock group, appearances of this trope in their work are pretty much mandatory. For example, on ''The Bedlam in Goliath'', "Metatron" (5/4), "Wax Simulacra" (11/8 or [6+ 5]/8), and "Cavalettas" (11/8 or [5+ 6]/8) are a few examples, but there are usually at least a few per album.
** "Cygnus... Vismund Cygnus" from ''Frances the Mute'' features a 6/8 intro, a 4/4 main setcion, a guitar solo and buildup in '''29/16''', followed by an explosive outro in 10/4.
** "Tetragrammaton" from ''Amputechture'' rotates through 11 different time signatures (including two areas with no time signature), and manages to count some uncommon times in multiple ways (one section in 12/8 is counted [5+ 5+ 2/]/8 every first measure and [4+ 4+ 4]/8 every second measure.) A full breakdown can be found [[http://forum.thecomatorium.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=62998 here]].
* WhatCouldHaveBeen: [[http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_gck--itdqnU/TGJjqtQLr3I/AAAAAAAAAVU/wJpt8dJH2nw/s1600/_1010597.JPG This]] was very nearly the artwork for ''Amputechture''.
* WordOfGod: The song "Frances the Mute" is a "[[AllThereInTheManual decoder ring]]" for the album of the same name. Fan analysis of the song responsible for the spoiler-marked section under ConceptAlbum above.
* WordSaladLyrics. It's very ''expressive'' word salad though. Their Spanish lyrics are usually quite a bit less word salad-y.
** [[http://rosalyncarter.ytmnd.com/ THE KIOSK IN MY TEMPORAL LOBE IS SHAPED LIKE ROSALYNN CARTER!]]
* WordSaladTitle (their name)
** It's apparently supposed to be indicative of them being something "revolutionary", as per a quote by Creator/FedericoFellini where he defines his personal meaning of the world "volta" as a new turn of events. They just added in the "mars" because... well, [[RuleOfCool it sounds cool]].
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'''And with every body that I find, and with every claymore that they mine, i won’t forget who I’m looking for, [[VoiceOfTheLegion OH MOTHER HELP ME IM LOOKING FOR!]]'''