Saturday, July 01, 2006

Retro Review: Black Holes and Revelations by Muse

I'm on my partner's sister's laptop so this isn't me being back officially, but I do have the resource to put up a review or two. Vote on the new poll if you can be so kind. I'll be back officially, and writing officially hopefully in the next week or two. In the mean time, enjoy another retro music review.

Black Holes and Revelations by Muse

It’s safe to say that Muse have made a great impact on the rock scene and it’s undeniable that they have produced some of the greatest guitar riffs in rock history. “Origin of the Symmetry” has been called one of the best albums in the past ten years. But this is not about the past, this is about the future. Do Muse still have “it” or are they going to join a number of other bands who fail to maintain an impact on the music scene?

Of course they still have “it”, but it’s a different kind of “it” this time around.

If you have heard “Supermassive Black Hole”, the thundering tech-rock (and, in a slightly amusing way, very Prince-esque) new single by the trio from Devon then it’s clear that they have took a new route into their music. There is a lot more dance and pop in this album, and as much as it sounds like a bad thing for the rock scene, it surprisingly enough isn’t. Muse’s previous attempts have all sounded slightly similar; their powerful riffs and pianos were the two diverse but recognisable trademarks on all three albums. However there is no main sound on this album, some of their trademarks are visible; the piano makes a reappearance in the beautifully tranquil “A Soldier’s Poem” and powerful ruffs are easily evident in the ever-so-slightly “Bohemian Rhapsody” influenced “Knights of Cydonia”, “Starlight” represents similarities to the previous Muse sound with Matt Bellamy’s bellowing vocals, the deep bass and passionate lyrics. However the rest of the album sounds very different. “Map of the Problematique” is a great example of their new direction its rumbling drum solo and its electronic sounds make the whole song sound so otherworldly it cannot possibly be compared to their previous attempts; whilst “Hoodoo” is completely different again, starting off with a mixture and Indian and Mexican sounds before building into something resembling an early twentieth century opera.

Despite all this, change is still a debatable subject, even in music. A change in sound can also mean a change in appreciation; many people may think this is a poor attempt from the trio because of its diversity. I personally found this album hard to get into at first because of how different its sounds were and how much anticipation I had for hearing new tracks with amazing riffs like “Stockholm Sundrome” and “New Born”. This album for previous Muse fans may be hard to absorb at first but it’s definitely worth trying to do so. For new fans and listeners, it is hard to say “But this album now!” because of how different it is. If you like “Supermassive Black Hole” and are expecting ten other mind-blowing tech-Prince-pop-Prince-rock-Prince-electronic tracks then don’t bother. If you are expecting songs like “New Born”, “ Muscle Museum ” and “Time is Running Out” then listen to one of their previous albums. BUT if you are looking for a new musical experience that can mix in so many influences and sounds, then you are in the right place. This album is definitely a new, complex, diverse and fascinatingly difficult route into Muse’s world.

Rating: **** stars
Stand-out tracks: Supermassive Black Hole, Knights of Cydonia, A Soldier’s Poem

This is more the type of layout I'll be leaning towards in my new work, the review is quite short, but in terms of what it covers and how well it's written, it's probably the best review I've ever posted in the past. Feedback would be most welcome. Have a good day.
Another note: If I were to review this again it'd get a much higher rating, around ****1/2 stars because it's a brilliant album.

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  1. Yay this is really well written johnny mo. very prood :)
    i only have 1 thing to say, i disagree with your opinion of the album in parts. it has elements from previous albums, almost every song would fit, particularly absolution (i count a good 5-7 choones).
    the epic pianoness of the choones is very 'origins', supermassive is this albums equivalent of 'time is running out', take a bow is very 'hurricanes and butterflies', soldiers poem sounds like it could be on any of their albums, mainly hullabaloo. i could go on but i think you get my point :)
    this album isnt much different, there are a couple of new sounds, they are just becoming more epic and queen like. it is a definite sign of what direction they are goin in (the resistance is even more 'epic') but not a patch on the almost genius of this album :)
    do more reviews, i love hearing your opinions!

  2. Hmmm some songs do sound similar but as a whole, I felt Muse evolved their sound with this album. I mean my opinion on this album is different now than it was here, which was 3 years ago, but that opinion hasn't.

    But thanks Claire I appreciate the difference in opinion and thanks for the words of encouragement =)