Black Holes And Revelations
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Black Holes And Revelations
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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 new dimension. Once again co-produced by Rich Costey [Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave], Muse incorporates influences from electronica and Prince to pure pop.
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
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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.
Song Track List
1. Take A Bow (4:35)
2. Starlight (3:59)
3. Supermassive Black Hole (3:29)
4. Map of the Problematique (4:18)
5. Soldier's Poem (2:08)
6. Invincible (5:00)
7. Assassin (3:31)
8. Exo-Politics (3:53)
9. City Of Delusion (4:48)
10. Hoodoo (3:43)
11. Knights Of Cydonia (6:06)
* Matthew Bellamy - guitar/vocals
* Chris Wolstenholme - bass
* Dominic Howard - drums
It took four long years for the band to come up with a follow-up to there hit album, Absolution, but the wait was worth it. In my estimation, they not only equaled Absolution with Black Holes and Revelations but eclipsed it.
When listening to Muse I cannot help but make comparisons to the mega band of the eighties and nineties - Queen. Yes, there are definite similarities to that wondrous band: diverse, eclectic song writing, ranging from the simplistic to the grandiose; style and delivery are in many cases similar to Queen; composition and arrangements also resemble Queen and lastly their vocals and harmonizing again, remind me of Queen. Yet, with all the similarities they are so different. Yes they remind me of Queen but I didn't say the sound like Queen. Maybe a little here and there but overall, they're Muse.
Until now my favorite Muse album was Origin of Symmetry. I doubt whether I will get Black Holes and Revelations out of my Cd player for awhile. It's not the kind of album that gets old very fast - five stars.
In the long run this album will surmount to as much of a jewel as 'Showbiz' or 'Origins of Symmetry' or 'Hullabaloo' -all fantastic but not as much of a monument as Absolution. If you're going to buy a Muse album I would still absolutely recommend Absolution. Unlike Blackholes and Revelations there are no track(s) worth skipping.
[On a side note I'd like to mention that I'm an avid concert goer and immediately after this album was released I saw these guys live and they conducted the best show I've ever seen (and I've seen around 100 concerts). If you get a chance to catch these guys in concert it will without fail fuel your admiration for Muse. Definitely put these guys at the top of your "bands to see live" list. If you need proof check out the live dvd that comes with their Haarp compilation.]