The Bedlam In Goliath Received wisdom has it that to toy with the occult is to enter into a Faustian pact that will bite you on the ass somewhere down the line. Magic, myth and sorcery had been recurrent themes within The Mars Volta’s output for some time and served as the dominant motifs for their previous full length, Amputechture.
So it was almost inevitable that, at some point, luck, kismet, karma, serendipity whatever you want to call the metaphysical forces that exert hidden influence upon our mortal world would visit the group and enact some kind of payback. Whatever debts the group had accrued came due with The Bedlam In Goliath, the group’s fourth full length, and an album whose creation was, in every sense of the word, cursed. The production of the album was regularly scuppered by technical problems that erased whole takes from their computer hard drives, a phenomenon Omar’s in studio right hand man Rich Costey an experienced producer/engineer in his own right found impossible to explain.
Meanwhile, Omar’s home studio flooded and was plagued by severe electrical problems, and at least one member of the engineering staff working on the album quit the sessions after suffering a psychotic episode. At the time, all this accumulating bad juju was ascribed, by the more superstitious members of The Mars Volta, to a ouija board Omar had reputedly pur chased while travelling in Jerusalem and gifted to Cedric upon his return. What is certain is that Omar returned from his travels with tapes of field recordings he’d made in Jerusalem, from his wanderings around the city’s Jewish, Muslim and Christian quarters, which were later mixed into the track Soothsayer, a mystical epic elevated by strings.