The occult and magic (however you spell it) is certainly no stranger to the musical industry. Musicians have often found inspiration from dreams, ghosts, and even visions of alien visitors. But when the popular and talented progressive rock group The Mars Volta came across an ancient scrying tool called “soothsayer,” they found themselves bound to create an album about the stories it told them. The next few months would end with them holding the finished product in their hands, deciding whether or not their creation could in good conscience be released or whether all copies should be destroyed.
The album was a massive hit, but the interesting thing about it was that for the most part the band credits the contents of the piece was largely not their doing, but rather the result of their own experiences and the stories “soothsayer” told them through the device. As the device got more of a hold over the band, they found themselves drawn to it more often than ever. They would regularly sit around it after a show to hear stories and receive instructions. The board began making “demands” that were followed by threats of punishment if the demands were not met.
As the band continued to develop the album they began noticing strange things happening. The studio that took them on to complete the album unexplainably flooded not once, but twice. Bixler Zalava suddenly needed foot surgery that required him to go through physical rehabilitation to learn how to walk again. The band’s drummer suddenly quit, causing them to look for a new drummer. Tracks, many of which required hours of work to create would suddenly disappear without explanation in ways that were considered “impossible.” And of course through the whole thing “soothsayer” continued providing material for the album and making demands on the band members. Who was behind this soothsayer that created such intricate stories and demanded they be released to the masses in the form of a musical album? And what was the ultimate result for these extremely unfortunate events that plagued the band?
Eventually Rodriguez Lopez, the band’s guitarist and producer broke the artifact in half and buried it in an undisclosed location in the desert. He then swore the band to silence, and they agreed to never speak of the object again until after the album “Bedlam and Goliath” was finished. And after it was released, rumors began circulating that the album itself carried with it a strange curse as well. In an attempt to look for more information on this alleged curse, it was difficult to find more than “friend of a friend” style accounts in an urban legend style. But is there something to this? Why would an unknown entity wish for its story to be told in an album? Is there another force at work here? Or is this simply the same kind of legend a band like Mars Volta thrives on? Either way, knowing that out there sitting in record stores all over the world could be a cursed album is an interesting concept to think of.