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Black Holes & Revelations
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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.
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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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Love this CD. Bass ripping with guitars. Great in typical MUSE fashion.Published 1 day ago by Amazon Customer
I've been a fan of Muse since Absolution came out in the US. For whatever reason I never bought the follow up, even though i'd heard it over the late 2000s at parties. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer