But you must agree that Cedric really dropped the ball from Octahedron onwards (even on Ampu a little bit)...he lost that spontaneity and was just reacting to the music. Maybe part of it is the music Omar served up, but the other members of the band were doing fine, it mainly seems like it was Cedric who brought about the downfall of the band. Not blaming him or anything, if it was necessary it was necessary.
I'm not into Bosnian Rainbows that much (I'm waiting for an album release though), nor did I love the last few solo albums that he put out. I already miss Cedric. He is half of this band and as much as I love stuff like Se Dice, Calibration, AMD, and Apocalypse, it just isn't as interesting without Cedric.
Terri is cool, but is no Ceddy Bear.
I adore CBZ's voice. It's the most expressive vocal I've heard in music.
Actually, though, I realize that it's not that simple, I think the drummer limbo after Theodore's departure took a lot of the steam out of the band. The essential TMV sound to me is basically Omar + Cedric + Jon, the rest of the stuff might as well have appeared on Omar's solo albums (some Xenophanes tracks are interchangeable with TMV tracks). And I don't think Cedric and Deantoni ever really gelled. To me, Deantoni plays the drums as a lead instrument. He's constantly switching up the beat and wrestling control of the music back into his own hands. Jon Theodore was the ultimate groove drummer and that worked really well for Cedric to take the lead.
Respectfully disagree with what you said about Cedric dropping the ball on Octa and Nocto. He did the best he could with what Omar gave him. For me, Cedric's vocals are the best part of Octahedron and the only reason why I consider it a decent rather than a shitty album. I also loved his vocals on Nocto (In Absentia, anyone?). Cedric was never the problem for me, it just seems like Omar has been getting bored with it. Deloused, Frances, and Ampy Wampy were all masterpieces or near-masterpieces, and Bedlam was a chaotic shitstorm of awesomeness with a couple of weak spots. Octa was average and Nocto was solid. That's how I view things, at least. But Cryptomnesia showed that Omar could still put out a genius release.
At the end of the day, it seems that Omar is trying too hard to "switch things up" for each subsequent release, which he has actually mentioned as part of his thought process when writing an album. It's obviously not my place to tell Omar what to do with his life or his music. But to me, those first 4 albums (also, much of his solo work including Crypto) just had some sort of magic to them that has been missing since 2008-2009. Jon Theodore was the drummer that was made to play for The Mars Volta, but some of the stuff Omar released after he left showed that he could still craft magic without him.
And who knows, maybe we will see a reunion with Jon in a few years. If the boys in ATDI can mend fences and get back together, there's no reason to think that it could never happen with Jon. Just my two cents.