Strap your head on and warm your ears and arse up for another instalment of crazed, bombastic offerings from psyche-rock funketeers the Mars Volta.

As is typical of the Texan band led by guitarist and creative wizard Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and singer Cedric Bixler-Zivala, their sixth album is intense and bristling with pure unbridled madness - from the deathly shocks of bass synth on opener The Whip Hand and the drum 'n' bass lather and guitar squall of Molochwalker, through to the recurring Mars Volta motifs of rats (in the cellar) and flies (in the vaseline) and the deliciously decadent images of "harlot soap" and turning "flesh to gravel" on the poetic prog rant of The Malkin Jewel.

Though not a classic in the vein of 2003 debut Deloused in the Comatorium and 2005's Frances the Mute, it's on a par with 2008's The Bedlam in Goliath.

Also similar to Bedlam is the more listenable mood of Noctourniquet, with gently smouldering, dreamy songs like the folk of Trinkets Pale of Moon, the epic sprawl of the beautiful Empty Vessels Make the Loudest Sound, the band's equivalent of soft rock on Vedamalady, and the verses of last track Zed and Two Naughts even resemble U2's One Love, albeit driven by penetrating staccato beats.


Nevertheless, while it is at the accessible end of the Mars Volta spectrum the songs still manage to snake their way into your ears to satisfy your sick little mind.

Stars: 4/5
Verdict: Sixth descent into madness for Texan prog rockers.
Buy this album here.