In 2001, At the Drive-In, those great prog-hardcore rock ‘n’ rollers from El Paso, went on “indefinite hiatus.” The resulting split-up was something like the Great Schism, where two great powers emerged from the ashes of one. Two members—Cedric Bixler and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez—formed psychedelic math-rockers The Mars Volta. The remaining three—Jim Ward, Paul Hinojos, and Tony Hajjar—created Sparta, ATDI on steroids, rock loud enough to fill stadiums but intelligent enough to avoid simple anthems. The group, now with its third label in five years, released “Threes” on Tuesday, a departure from the band’s normal muscular sound; this record is looser, where the others verged on the overblown. But Sparta doesn’t stop doing what they’ve always done well: turning the amps to eleven and leveling the crowd with good old rock ‘n’ roll. (John Thompson)
October 29 at Metro.