Updated: Aug 24
Que Dios Te Maldiga Mi Corazón came out on April 21 2023 and is the latest release from progressive rock band The Mars Volta. I am hesitant to call this release a new album because really the songs aren’t new, they’re just reworked. Que Dios Te Maldiga Mi Corazón features the same tracklist as its predecessor album (TMV’s self-titled) but with all acoustic renditions of the songs.
When I originally heard that The Mars Volta was going to release this acoustic version of their self-titled album, I admit, I was skeptical about how well the songs would adapt. Their self-titled album uses a lot of vocal layering, electronic drums, synth sounds and electric guitar with heavy effects on it and I thought that without these things the acoustic renditions might sound empty. I am happy to say I was proven wrong. The band basically reworked every aspect of the instrumentation to fit this new acoustic style. It's not at all like they just played the same parts as featured on the self-titled album but with acoustic instruments, which is what I was worried would happen.
Que Dios Te Maldiga Mi Corazón is much more percussion heavy than the self-titled album, and this percussion is clearly inspired by the band’s main composer, Omar Rodriguez Lopes’, Puerto Rican heritage. Some of the tracks are a bit slower than they were originally and due to this focus on layered percussion, l think that the new album grooves a bit harder than the self-titled. The band even added to the form of some of the songs, extending transitions or certain verses/choruses/or bridges to fit the acoustic style.
My one note that isn't totally positive is that I feel the vocals are a bit too loud at some points and can overpower the rest of the band. However, the vocal performance on this album is incredible so I don’t mind that it's a tad loud at times. The band’s vocalist, Cedric Bixler-Zavala, really killed it on this album. The vocal parts had to be partially rewritten so that they could be performed without backing vocals and Cedric delivered an extremely powerful performance. I won’t go into the meaning behind the whole album (it's easy to search up) but given the subject matter I feel like this new, more raw sound really fits the songs well, even better than the arrangement on the self-titled album.
I have really enjoyed listening to Que Dios Te Maldiga Mi Corazón and overall I think I may even prefer it over the self-titled album. It is adaptive, unique, beautiful, raw, well arranged, and captivating and I definitely recommend you check it out. This release is far different than anything else we’ve seen from the band, and if you are going in expecting this album to sound anything like the band's past work then you may be disappointed. Personally I don’t think that The Mars Volta has ever released a bad album and I feel that Que Dios Te Maldiga Mi Corazón keeps their streak of greatness alive.
Palm Full of Crux