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Sparta - Porcelain (Cover Artwork)

Sparta

Sparta: PorcelainPorcelain (2004)
Universal Music Group

Reviewer Rating: 4.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: CaptainCrunchCaptainCrunch
(others by this writer | submit your own)

El Paso, Texas' Sparta caught some by surprise with their 2002 debut, Wiretap Scars. A solid record from front to back, it toed the fine line of not too poppy and not too dark with excellent results. The band furthered themselves by putting on outstanding shows in the time since the album was rele.
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El Paso, Texas' Sparta caught some by surprise with their 2002 debut, Wiretap Scars. A solid record from front to back, it toed the fine line of not too poppy and not too dark with excellent results. The band furthered themselves by putting on outstanding shows in the time since the album was released. Sparta had successfully carved a niche in the cluttered music scene and curiosity arose about how much they could continue their success with another album. Porcelain arrives and answers any doubts in a big way.

Fans of Sparta will definitely not be disappointed. Although on first listen it seems to have a different pace than Wiretap Scars, Porcelain shows a fine progression that the band has made. The songs don't appear to be as dark and slow as their previous offering, and at first that may turn some fans off, as that was one of the aspects of Sparta that made the band unique. Porcelain quickly grows on the listener, however, as multiple listens reveal the quality songwriting that the band possesses. The flow of the album is exceptional and the overall listening experience is enhanced greatly by that. From the opening of "Guns of Memorial Park" to the end of "Splinters" Porcelain is a great ride, best experienced as a whole.

Every song on the album is a strong one, no single track can be labeled superior to the rest. They use each other to construct a terrific full album, the way a great album should be judged. Most of all, the songs are driven by lead singer Jim Ward's stellar vocals. Ward's melodic voice is probably the greatest single asset that the band has to set itself apart from the rest of the field. His delivery is consistent, and his screams never seem forced or unnecessary, a common fault of singers these days. The rest of the band's performance as a whole is a more mature one from the last release, as well. They continue to supply great rhythms to compliment the vocals. Sparta has taken their talents to the next level, which should be expected, and haven't done anything at all to leave their existing fans behind.

The pros of the record have already been talked about a great deal, so what are the cons? After a thorough listening to many times over, I can say barely any. After my first few listens, I had it at a 6 or a 7. After a few more, an 8, but still not on the same level as their first album. Now, I see the two as separate but equal offerings that have different strengths and few weaknesses.

Honestly, if you are a fan of the genre, this record will prove original and creative enough to warrant a purchase, theoretically at a price much greater than this week's advertised price. If you are already a fan, then this is an absolute must-buy. After two quality albums, Sparta is quickly cementing themselves as one of the best bands around, one more album like this will put them amongst the elite.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
jordanelfers (November 3, 2006)

This album was a wonderful recreation of Wiretap Scars immense power. Especially after hearing the newest album "Threes" I can proudly declare this Sparta's best album.

Anonymous (December 6, 2004)

After a few listens i loved Porceilan and became a Sparta fan. Wiretap Scars is a good album too. It's just that this album sounds more mellower than the first album but in the long run I love
both records. If Your a Sparta fan then get of your ass and
get Porceilan and Wiretap Scars!!!

P.S.- All hail At The Drive-In & The Mars Volta!!!!!!!

Anonymous (December 6, 2004)

After a few listens i love Porceilan and became a Sparta fan. Wiretap Scars is a good album too. It's just that this album sounds more mellower than the first album but in the long run I love
both records. If Your a Sparta fan then get of your ass and
get Porceilan and Wiretap Scars!!!

P.S.- All hail At The Drive-In & The Mars Volta!!!!!!!

Anonymous (November 2, 2004)

To the guy asking what the hell theese guys are about:
Fuck you.. Their about making damn good music with poetic and personal lyrics. If you took some time listening to them maybe you'd realise that you ignorant fuck

biss22csu (September 29, 2004)

Sparta clearly out of control...saw the open for Incubus in Toronto and they fucking tore the roof off the place...they played for half an hour and I wish it was 2...

Anonymous (July 25, 2004)

This is a great album and even better then their first. End Moraine has to be their best song yet, when Ward screams "I want" its about as convincing as it gets.

Bryne (July 19, 2004)

The only complaint I have with it isthe length. I think it could have been just as good an album with 10-12 songs. It's still solid work, though.

Anonymous (July 19, 2004)

something about these guys and and the other band too...

what the HELL are they talking about? ever? what the ehll are these guys about?

Anonymous (July 19, 2004)

great -

Anonymous (July 18, 2004)

-My name is rafaa-
great album as good as wirteap scars, i recommend this is grat buy it man! peace, pray and read the bible man

Anonymous (July 18, 2004)

fucking great album. same style as 'wiretap' but a bit more mellow, melodic and atmospheric (thats a faggy art boy word, but listen to the outro to 'from now to never' and you'll know what i mean.).

fucking good. as good as wiretap if not better.

oh yea, quit it w/ the whole 'atdi is better than mars who are better than sparta...oh no no no, sparta is better than TMV who...' . just stop it. just have your opinion and deal w/ the fact that about an equal proportion of fans like any 3 of the bands more than the other two. i personally prefer sparta to atdi or TMV, but i know my best friend is the exact opposite. who cares.

opinions are like uneven nuts, we all have one that hangs lower. girls too i think.

Anonymous (July 17, 2004)

great album!

Anonymous (July 17, 2004)

Good album

CaptainCrunch (July 16, 2004)

Dude, we don't have ketchup chips, and we just recently got the dill ones. I am lucky enough to live 15 minutes from Canada and always bring back some bags of chips when I go visit. You guys even have better candy bars and the kit kats have a much more festive packaging too. Damn.

Anonymous (July 16, 2004)

Darkest Hour is MUCH better than Atreyu in my opinion. Has anybody heard the Velvet Revolver record? I received a promo of it MAN IT IS BALLS! Appetite for Destruction was a good rock n roll record. Velvet Revolver is trife

Barkley

Anonymous (July 16, 2004)

I eat balls!

Jones The Bones

Bones@bones

Anonymous (July 16, 2004)

whats a ketchup chip?

- jones the bones

- stevejones8770@yahoo.com

mikeinflames (July 16, 2004)

i'd rather eat Ketchup chips than listen to this cd
i heard that you peps down in the states don't get the ketchup chips
shit you don't know what you're missing out on

Benjammin (July 16, 2004)

Saw Sparta live..... thought they were pretty alright.

The Mars Volta is good. Unbelievably original and catchy and good.

At the Drive-In had everything the other two bands had, only they played it with more energy and passion and amazingness.

Sparta is pretty alright.

Anonymous (July 16, 2004)

so bored with the atdi / mars volta / sparta thing.

Anonymous (July 16, 2004)

are you saying your old band is on ozzfest?

ThreeChordsAndTheTruth (July 16, 2004)

"ATDI went on "haitus" because they were not content making the same cd over atleast thats what they said."

That's bull, they didn't say that, let alone do it. All their records have their style, yes, but they each have their own sound and personality, really.

Every time I listen to Sparta I am constantly put in mind of the backing vocals in ATD-I, and half-expect Cedric to come in singing, haha. They're a good band though.

Anonymous (July 16, 2004)

just got back from the free club show that they did. it was awesome!

Anonymous (July 15, 2004)

Darkest Hour is no Atreau?.... blah, sorry.... Darkest Hour blows them out of the water

Anonymous (July 15, 2004)

man that stuff at the link below is pretty funny...wonder if they have won their school talent show??

Anonymous (July 15, 2004)

argue, argue. type, type. i'm so punk.

Anonymous (July 15, 2004)

anyone wanna hear somethin...check these out
funny...http://www.purevolume.com/thedoverpeaks

Anonymous (July 15, 2004)

Sparta slays mars volta, those drug-induced big haired 'retro 70's hippie fags!

Anonymous (July 15, 2004)

Sparta are probably the most boring band I've ever heard. To go from At The Drive-in to this is a pretty steep drop.

Anonymous (July 15, 2004)

ESAD!

Kidding. I already did make one. It was about how deep and emotional people think this music is.

-BSD

johnnydanger (July 15, 2004)

BSD you are hereby invited to make a statement with any coherency and sense

Anonymous (July 15, 2004)

I actually don't mind Darkest Hour. They are no Atreyu thats for sure.

Barkley"Doesn't know if he is joking or not"Barkster

Anonymous (July 14, 2004)

after listening to both albums...porcelain is good...but wiretap scars blows it away in terms of rocking and just overall goodness. it's no debate. the new one is just so slow and laid back and just not rocking. sparta rocks live though.

Anonymous (July 14, 2004)

what band were you in, barko?

ElVaquero (July 14, 2004)

We all lose, BSD, we all lose...

Anonymous (July 14, 2004)

Oh man touring with a shitty band like Darkest Hour! You lose, man!

-BSD

Anonymous (July 14, 2004)

in my final post of the evening hopefully I just became aware that my old band is touring with Darkest Hour. Fuck me

Barkley"Hidden Hands of a Sadist Nation"Barkster

Anonymous (July 14, 2004)

P.S I thought I was a cocky prick with anger issues, apparently BSD wrote a book on the subject

Barkley"See the Robot Walk"Barkster

Anonymous (July 14, 2004)

Other noteworthy albums coming soon

(I)nc-armed love (fully realized dance able fuck songs)
Dillinger Escape Plan-Miss Machine-good guitar parts
Libertines-st (sounds good)

Barkley"See the Idiot Talk"Barkster

Anonymous (July 14, 2004)

This "weird wording confused for deeply personal poetry" music has been so mainstream for so long...

It's like if I had a band called Rhino Furari. What the fuck is that? It sounds like this band spends all of their time partying then when they need to write new songs, they think "what would make people think we are lonely losers who don't party much?" "I dunno, some deeply personal lyrics, probably" "Ohhh shit... Get me the dictionary". So they look up random words. So what? That's all the lyrics are, when they are cliche bullshit, they're random stupid crap.

DISFUKKK

-BSD

Anonymous (July 14, 2004)

This sparta album kicks ass....totally a worthy succesor to Wiretap Scars. I think I like the mars volta just as much as sparta....
long live atdi.........

Anonymous (July 14, 2004)

ever notice they write songs about nothing? Just words that sound weird together? Wiretap Scars? What the fuck IS that?!
Looks like At The drive In Never REALY broke up. They did what a disgusting earthworm does when you cut it in half. It just regenerates and makes two nasty worms.

Anonymous (July 14, 2004)

this album kicks!!

Anonymous (July 14, 2004)

hey this At the Drive in album Rocks dude!

Anonymous (July 14, 2004)

you can't compare the mars volta and sparta. both bands do such different things then what atdi did that I think you have to compliment them both. at least there not rehashing the same shit and trying to put a different band name and album title on it. with that said, i still root for sparta over the mars volta, b/c i think omar & cedric walked out on those guys(jim, tony, & pall) thinking they were the fucking only ones who could be conceptually creative. when in turn jim and the boys have put some groundbreaking songs out, taking a big step away from there last band. rip atdi !

lostinthecrowd13 (July 14, 2004)

I like ATDI and Mars Volta but nice comment BSD. Haven't had a chance to listen to this but I never really liked Wiretap Scars so I doubt I'll be picking this up. Scores for the BSD comment below.

This band sucks, their fans are also idiotic.

"Dude ATDI changed my life"

Trust me, you were already shallow and a fake introvert, they didn't change anything.

-BSD

Anonymous (July 14, 2004)

mars volta sucks asshole. sparta is by far the superior of the two

Anonymous (July 14, 2004)

not as good as wiretap...

Anonymous (July 14, 2004)

How do so many people like this music????? I guess because i dont like tight jeans and shopping at salvation army i cant understand this music. oh well

BTW, BSD's comments have been sucking recently, but his comment in here is 100% on the mark

slippy (July 14, 2004)

So I guess BSD doesn't like At the Drive In.

MarkieStabone (July 14, 2004)

if mars volta is the best album you own you may want to visit your local record store a little more often.

Anonymous (July 14, 2004)

ATDI breaking up forming sparta and mars volta in my opinion mars volta is the best of the 3, de-loused the comatorium is the best album i own, ill admit porcelan was incredible and i give them a lot of credit but how can you bash mars volta if you listen to ATDI, its the same thing with better lyrics, better fuckin everything. I sweat Mars Volta

Anonymous (July 14, 2004)

BSD, you are such a fuck ass. A stupid fucking comment for everything. And the funny part is, nothin you have to say makes sense, nor does anyone give a flying fuck. FAGGOT.

MarkieStabone (July 14, 2004)

separate is inherently unequal, you bigot.

skanknsmile (July 14, 2004)

Hey! im from el paso!

Anonymous (July 14, 2004)

i'm debating whether this score is for the multiple toilet references or BSD's comments. hmmm, can i get away with giving it to both....?

Jesse (July 14, 2004)

Relationship of Command was a sweet album.

The Mars Volta are a sweet band.

Someone already beat me to the toilet bowl joke in this thread.

And that's all that there is to know about this family of musicians.

ElVaquero (July 14, 2004)

People will bash anything nowadays. Even Refused.

hey_sailor (July 14, 2004)

I'm surprised anyone is bashing ATDI...if you do hate them I hope it's for a better reason than "their fans are idiots"...

Anonymous (July 13, 2004)

Fuck me, you're right. Not my fault the Texas flag is so god damn similar to Puerto Rico. I just assumed it was another Carribean nation. If you eliminate the Texan, there's still as many ex-ATDI international folk on both sides. Also, Cedric was the only Mexican guy batting for The Mars Volta. Fuck, it'd be fucking stupid even if he was correct about his nationalities.

Anonymous (July 13, 2004)

This band sucks, their fans are also idiotic.

"Dude ATDI changed my life"

Trust me, you were already shallow and a fake introvert, they didn't change anything.

-BSD

Anonymous (July 13, 2004)

"Actually, not one of the dudes in At The Drive In was of American descent. Whoops, looks like someone doesn't own ROC."

are you refering to the flags on the inside of RoC? Because if you are, look closer, one flag is the TEXAS state flag. Texas is pretty damn American dude.

Anonymous (July 13, 2004)

Also, both Sparta and Mars Volta claimed one Mexican from the band (that is if Paul is in Sparta, I never paid much attention past Omar and Cedric).

-El Vaquero
succesfully deflating offbase, unfunny commentary since a while ago

Anonymous (July 13, 2004)

Actually, not one of the dudes in At The Drive In was of American descent. Whoops, looks like someone doesn't own ROC.

And I'm still holding out for the hiatus to end.

-El Vaquero

Anonymous (July 13, 2004)

to the guy below,

we really don't miss you.

sincerely,
ATDI.

we're off to eat tacos.

Anonymous (July 13, 2004)

god how i miss at the drive-in

GYBE (July 13, 2004)

"i hate people you critique sparta saying they use the same "formulas" as atdi and old fucking sparta. that is rediculous. does it ever occur to you that these guys like playing that style?"

It goes farther than just sticking to a style. Honestly I would never be able to guess which songs are on Wiretap or which are on Porcelain. SOME evolution should be shown on seperate albums for God's sake. The only song that's obvious is the abysmally long one on Porcelain. It was just not a song that could hold my attention.

But I'm not saying Sparta is a terrible band. I just wish they could actually change or get better. These songs sound the same as their 2001 demos. Three years is enough to throw in something new. This will be one of those albums I'll always refer to as "okay" but never really frequent.

alkalinetrio0087 (July 13, 2004)

That cover art is pretty awful.

But even though Sparta can't touch ATDI or the Mars Volta, they're not half bad.

analogboy (July 13, 2004)

What the fuck is that cover art playing at? It's offensive to my eyes. Also, the album will be unlistenable shit.

Icapped2pac (July 13, 2004)

This is a sweet album. A couple of the slower songs drag, but other than that, it's really solid. I too dowloaded it a while ago, but I'm gonna support these guys and their kick ass music by picking it up tomorrow. "While Oceana Sleeps" is fucking amazing, probably the best song they've done yet.

slippy (July 13, 2004)

The review seems kind of overzealous, but from what I've heard it's pretty good. It's in the same vein as "Wiretap Scars", but with a few changes.

Anonymous (July 13, 2004)

This is the shit!
-BSD

Anonymous (July 13, 2004)

Hey! Porcelain! Just like the bowl where this belongs!

Anonymous (July 13, 2004)

from what I hear, the album kinda lacks direction and has many a good moment but songs tend to drag on. This is evident in 12 songs in 60 minutes. It's hard to captivate a listener with long song.

But still I'm dying for it to be released here in New Zealand

Have a nice day.
Red

Anonymous (July 13, 2004)

Argh why can't anybody spell ridiculous. This is way better than wiretap.

Anonymous (July 13, 2004)

i hate people you critique sparta saying they use the same "formulas" as atdi and old fucking sparta. that is rediculous. does it ever occur to you that these guys like playing that style?

Anonymous (July 13, 2004)

" not content using the same formulas AtDi and sparta used there first albums"

ATDI went on "haitus" because they were not content making the same cd over atleast thats what they said.

Anonymous (July 13, 2004)

Sparta > ATDI. They've proven it twice now

nope, but close... ATDI is genious.

GYBE (July 13, 2004)

Why the hell did Sparta use the classic "This is forever" line in Hiss The Villian. Hey, nothing seperates you more from your former band than using the exact same line (albeit cliche) in your chorus that was in the chorus of one of AtDi's most well-known songs (and my personal favourite).

Still a pretty good album. I see no change from Wiretap Scars though. Say what you want about the Mars Volta, at least they're progressing and changing their sound, not content using the same formulas AtDi and Sparta's first album used.

thriceequalsgod (July 13, 2004)

and ATDI > Sparta, by far.

thriceequalsgod (July 13, 2004)

this grew on me from the first time i listened to it, and the drum solo on P.O.M.E. is fucking awesome.

noreply (July 13, 2004)

'Sparta > ATDI. They've proven it twice now'

oh noooo you didnt.

Anonymous (July 13, 2004)

Sparta > Mars Volta.

But then again, Every crapy local band in my town > Mars Volta.

I saw this band live 2 years ago and thought they were boring.

Anonymous (July 13, 2004)

Don't listen to the prick ten posts below. This band blows the house down live.

Anonymous (July 13, 2004)

Pretty good album!

Anonymous (July 13, 2004)

Excellent album. The song variety is a lot stronger than Wiretap. Go see this band live. You won't leave dissapointed.

Anonymous (July 13, 2004)

I watched them open for Incubus last week in Toronto - Amazing

New Album gets a 9 out of 10 - Amazing

_Sexy_Pants_ (July 13, 2004)

Sparta > ATDI. They've proven it twice now

Anonymous (July 13, 2004)

Quite the improvement over the last one. The last one wasnt bad, just incredibly mediocre. Theyve stepped it up a notch.

Anonymous (July 13, 2004)

I really like the guitar work on this album and "wiretap." I'm still at the point personally as a guitarist where after a decade or so of playing I can't tell exactly how the guitar parts are played just by listening to it. Upon listening to sparta with my guitar in hand, the parts are suprisingly easy-however they really don't come across that simple. The sparta guys like to borrow from the Edge(u2) with those amazing delay parts. Well Done

Barkley

hey_sailor (July 13, 2004)

This album blows Wiretap away...no competition...

inagreendase (July 13, 2004)

I don't know, I've listened to this a couple times...it just isn't as strong as Wiretap...

Anonymous (July 13, 2004)

"as opposed to bad religion who rock their walkers with style and grace"

fuck off

Anonymous (July 13, 2004)

as opposed to bad religion who rock their walkers with style and grace

Anonymous (July 13, 2004)

saw these guys with bad religion. They were awful. Im very surprised anyone thinks they are even worth listening to.

Anonymous (July 13, 2004)

I respect Sparta's musicianship, but I just don't enjoy listening to their music.

timis (July 13, 2004)

wiretap was ok, however their new album blows it away. i highly recommend it -> also the UK version which has an additional tune on it->farewell ruins

loserage (July 13, 2004)

I really like this C.D. I admit to downloading it about a month ago, but will definitely be purchasing it this week. It flows really well, just as Wiretap Scars did. Did anybody else notice how much the intro on "Guns of Memorial Park" sounds like the intro to "Arc Arsena" on ATDI's Relationship of Command???

Bryne (July 13, 2004)

Good review.

I haven't heard this yet but if it's as good as the last one I'll be picking it up.

Anonymous (July 13, 2004)

awesome album. go!

Anonymous (July 13, 2004)

this album is better than the last. buy it now.

Anonymous (July 13, 2004)

FIRST

=smatchymo the trumpeteer

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