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Black Holes & Revelations

4.4 out of 5 stars 354 customer reviews

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Audio CD, July 11, 2006
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

In 2004, U.K. favorite Muse broke through in the U.S. with Absolution and major performances across America that won legions of new fans. In 2006, Muse takes a bold new step with Black Holes And Revelations, a powerful, upbeat epic album that takes the band’s music to a whole dimension. Once again co-produced by Rich Costey (Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave), Muse incorporates influences from electronica and Prince to pure pop. The album is sure to be a revelation to those still unfamiliar with the 2005 Brit award winner for Best Live Act who headlines this summer’s Reading and Leeds festivals.

Sounding like the confident, ambitious superstars they already are in their native UK, Muse follows up their breakthrough Absolution with an album that tempers the trio's unabashed grandiosity and apocalyptic obsessions with a smart pop groove. The minimalist angst of the opening "Take A Bow" may bridge the goth-pop conceits of the collection's successful predecessor, but those expectations are quickly kicked aside by "Starlight"'s synth-pop bliss, the falsettoed, space-disco thump of "Supermassive Black Hole" and the chilly, New Wave redux sheen of "Map of the Problematic"; so much for being held hostage to those early Radiohead comparisons. Indeed, on the lilting "Soldier's Poem" vocalist Matthew Bellamy cannily channels Freddie Mercury while "Assassin" pulses with the familiar metallic nerve and lyrical dread of Muse past. But by the time "Knights of Cydonia" erupts in a wrenching, melodramatic climax that somehow fuses ELP, Davie Allan, Procul Harum and Chris Isaak with enough giddy abandon to suspend disbelief, Muse have long since proved their case as genre-be-damned rock world-beaters. --Jerry McCulley

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Take A Bow
  2. Starlight
  3. Supermassive Black Hole
  4. Map Of The Problematique
  5. Soldier's Poem
  6. Invincible
  7. Assassin
  8. Exo-Politics
  9. City Of Delusion
  10. Hoodoo
  11. Knights Of Cydonia

Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 11, 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Warner Bros.
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (354 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,185 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
If you are wondering if Muse's fourth studio album - Black Holes and Revelations is good, let me assure you, it is not only good, it's bloody well GREAT.

I thank my son for turning me on to Muse. Honestly, they are about the only thing musically that we have agreed upon recently. We used to have some common likes in the nineties but both traveled different roads in Y2K, he going the Hip Hop route and I heading to Europe for a dose of Femme and Symphonic Metal.

Muse of course, is neither, although they are European (UK). In the case of Black Holes and Revelations, their music is so wildly varied it defies labeling. From the angelic, harpy sounding, bombastic lead song - "Take a Bow," to the catchy rock song with piano and a strong beat - "Starlight," to the funky bass driven sound and high pitched falsetto vocal of Matt Bellamy - "Supermassive Black Hole," one might suspect they were listening to three separate bands.

Following songs like the complex, involved - "Map of the Problematique," the short but sweet slow ballad - "Soldier's Poem," the spacey Floydish slow paced, building toward a crescendo - "Invincible," to the speedy guitar driven - "Assassin," would only reinforce the feeling of different bands playing different music but sharing the same lead singer.

"Exo-Politics," a medium speed, percussion led rock number, is followed by the wonderfully complex flamenco sounding, "City of Delusion." The flamenco influence continues in, "Hoodoo," but is interrupted by a strong classical and operatic intrusion of piano and vocals. The last song, "Knights of Cydonia," is a kaleidoscope of interesting sounds and Queenesque vocal harmonies, set to a galloping beat. It is close, but this gets my vote for best song.

Song Track List

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Format: Audio CD
It's always a troubling issue when your "new favorite band" changes their sound. However, this issue is much less troubling than the potential release of carbon copy work based on the tunes that initially endeared them to you. Whether a band can navigate this delicate issue is a testament to their talent and vision. For example, Oasis was never able to recover from the sonic delicatessen that was "What's the Story, Morning Glory?" and despite the greatness of that album, their fame ended up being of the infamous "fifteen-minute" variety. On "Black Holes and Revelations," Muse's made a decisive yet subtle sonic shift, and one that is not as pervasive as some critics would have you think.

Thanks to reviews, I had mentally prepared myself for this possible shift in Muse's sound long before I bought the album. I expected the worst, but in the end, "Black Holes and Revelations" hardly turned out to be the major change of direction that some critics have made it out to be. Admittedly, there is a little more use of the "studio as an instrument," which challenges the "liveness" of the album. "Black Holes" prominently features trumpets, orchestras, and drum machines that confront my visualization of Muse's ability to reproduce these songs in a "power trio" format.

However, this initially unfounded criticism quickly gave way to the indisputable fact of the raw talent and vision of Muse as a whole. The songs on "Black Holes and Revelations" exude the same raw intensity and passion that "Absolution" exhibited. While there is a little more "studio" window dressing, the voices of the musicians in the group are strong and confident.
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Format: Audio CD
Muse broke out internationally with their stellar third album "Absolution," after two albums of just-as-good-but-not-well-known work.

Now they've returned with "Black Holes and Revelations," a simmering symphonic rock tapestry that expands their sound into darker territory. It's also more electronic in nature, but the core of the band still lies in their magnificent, haunting rock'n'roll and classical arrangements.

It opens with a rippling keyboard melody, which blooms out into a soaring guitar melody and lots of blippy electronica. That feeling only grows as Matthew Bellamy starts to sing of death, damnation, and corruption. "You behold/And beholden for all that you've done/And spin/Cast a spell/Cast a spell on the country you run/And risk/You will risk/You will risk all their lives and their souls..." Political? Sounds like it.

Muse heads towards more pleasant territory in the bittersweet, yearning "Starlight," as well as soft mournful balladry, and wistful pop that blossoms out into spare, sizzling electro-rock. Bellamy shows the beauty in the bleakness when he sings, "During the struggle/They will pull us down... Let's use this chance/To turn things around/And tonight/We can truly say/Together we're invincible."

But the heart of Muse is still in rock'n'roll, like Led Zeppelin fronted by Beethoven. They still specialize in walls of embroidered sound, like elaborate rock tapestries. They play symphonic rock that sweeps all over the board, explosive bass-laden rockers, and fast-paced violin rock that ends with a whisper.

Muse hasn't abandoned their sound in order to go mainstream, even after making it big on this side of the pond.
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