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As you will know if you've read any of my previous reviews, Muse are my absolute favourite band ever. They released their fourth album Black Holes and Revelations in 2006.
This album marked a slight change in direction and a more commercial sound for the band. It was also their most obviously political record so far, with tracks such as Take a Bow inspired by the war in Iraq. The record has what I can best describe as a futuristic sci-fi quality with references to space and alternative worlds slightly reminiscent of 1984, particularly in tracks like Exo-Politics and Assassin, as well as Supermassive Black Hole. Starlight, with its piano melody, is a lovely song while Supermassive Black Hole is a 'little bit of RnB' (to quote Matt at one gig). Soldier's Poem and Invincible slow things down a little while many of the songs on the album are about political corruption and revolution, as well as conspiracy theories. The album closes with the brilliant Knights of Cydonia, often used to close gigs. All together now: "NO ONE'S GOING TO TAKE ME ALIVE!".
1. Take a Bow
3. Supermassive Black Hole
4. Map of the Problematique
5. Soldier's Poem
9. City of Delusion
11. Knights of Cydonia
So basically this is another fantastic Muse album. It's a bit different from the preceding records and some of the older fans weren't so keen. Me, I love all of Muse's stuff so I'm not complaining!
I've been a Muse fan since their debut album Showbiz in 1999 and I'm currently on a quest to review all of their albums here on Dooyoo. Granted, this isn't exactly an epic quest, but everyone has to start somewhere!
"Black Holes and Revelations" is the 4th studio album from Muse, and was released in 2006.
Once again, the band managed to break new ground and create a new sound, whilst still remaining distinctly 'Muse'. The 'space' theme, which is hinted at by the album's title, is clearly evident when you hear the heavily electronic and synthesised sounds, strong lyrical themes, and track titles such as "Starlight", "Suppermassive Black Hole" and "Knights of Cydonia" ('Cydonia' being a region of Mars which is of particular scientific interest).
For me, the stand our tracks are...
Knights of Cydonia - undoubtedly one of my favourite Muse tracks. A driving, energetic, exuberant rock epic which has been compared to Bohemian Rhapsody. This track builds to an incredible climax with one of the great modern guitar riffs - awesome!
Starlight - a great example of the changes Muse have made. There is no way a song like Starlight could have appeared on their earlier albums, and it's tracks like this which have widened the band's appeal. I know this is still a staple on Chris Evans' Radio 2 show in the morning, but it's great to see the band getting this widespread attention.
Map of the Problematique - the band's new electronic sound is clear for all to see here. This track lacks the screaming falsetto vocals and face-melting guitars that have characterised Muse before, but it is an accomplished and exciting new sound.
This newer sound is definitely a lot more polished and sleek than Muse's previous efforts. You could probably argue that it was more 'mainstream', but it has to be admitted that it doesn't have the 'raw' edge and energy that characterised 'Showbiz' and 'Origin of Symmetry'. For a lot of the fans this has been a negative point, and it may be seen that the more widespread recognition afforded to the band in recent years has been due to a softening of the rough edges which appealed to fans in the first place.
Fortunately I am in the privileged camp that loves almost everything the band has done, and I admire the fact that they are exploring new ideas successfully. Personally I do feel "Black Holes and Revelations" is one of the band's weakest albums, and although it contains several brilliant tracks, there are some weak points and less inspiring songs. However, these remarks really do have to be seen in context, as I am still a big fan of the album, and I am purely comparing it to their astoundingly good previous offerings. I would still happily give it an 8.5 out of 10!!!
It's fair to say that we like a mixture of music in our household and we really will listen to almost anything once. It was actually a friend of my husbands who recommend Muse to us a couple of years ago now and we've slowly but surely been working through their back catalogue and building up a nice collection.
This album is the fourth studio album from Muse and was first released in 2006. This album features 11 songs and can be purchased from Amazon.co.uk for £3.99 (June 2011), however, you can also find this in numerous other shops so, like anything, it's good to shop around before your purchase. When we originally purchased this it came from HMV as part of a 2 for £10.00 special offer so we were pleased enough with the £5 we paid for it.
1. Take a Bow
3. Supermassive Black Hole
4. Map Of The Problematique
5. Soldier's Poem
9. City Of Delusion
11. Knights Of Cydonia
I have listened to this album countless times now and it's one that I never tire of. We have some friends that we see on a weekly basis and this album is played numerous times when we are with them, sometimes in the car, sometimes at home, mainly just because we love singing along, mucking around and just generally enjoy the Muse sound.
'Take A Bow' is the opening song to the album, it's one that really shows how far the Muse sound has progressed over the years. The Muse trio are really starting to show off some of their instrumental talents on this song. It's a funky, electro opener and instantly intrigues me as to the quality of the songs that follow. The lyrics are singing to me, to us, lyrics about paying for the crimes against the Earth. There is a real message to this song and it's one that seems to be singing to me every time and always stays in my mind for days afterwards, along with several others from this album/
'Supermassive Black Hole' has a very different sound to some of the other songs on the album. It is quite high pitched and the lyrics are incredibly deep and meaningful. This is quite a fun song to sing with a group of friends and is one that is often played on long drives in the car to keep us laughing and occupied. It's been particularly useful in cheering up my husband when we've been stuck in traffic before as it's the kind of song you can't help getting swept along by.
'Assassin' is an absolutely fantastic blast of drums and guitar. It's heavy without being too much, it's thumping and energetic without being headache inducing. This song first was brought to my attention by the 'Guitar Hero' series of games and was what planted a little 'Muse' seed in my mind and when my husbands friend recommend them the seed just grew and before we knew it we were huge fans and loving every minute of their music! The song appears to have a simple rift running throughout it which just makes it all the more catchy for me.
'Knights Of Cydonia' is a fantastic closer for this album. This song really shows Muse off to their full potential. They are singing for their lives and singing with their hearts and souls. The music is absolutely amazing and this is one of the songs on my iPod that I really never tire of listening to. I could just listen to this song over and over again.
Overall I must say that this is an absolutely fantastic album. Most of the songs are as strong as each other and it'd be hard for me to pick a particularly favourite one. I could possibly narrow the 11 down to 5 or 6 at a push, with the above mentioned songs and 'Soldiers Poem'. The lyrics of this album are absolutely fantastic, whether it's touching on science fiction or playing their hearts out and crooning about politics there is probably a little something that can capture the imagination of most people.
This album is firmly imbedded in our collection now and I'm sure it's going to stay there for years to come. We've owned this album for around two years yet and even though it's five years old it still feels relevant and current and I just don't see myself ever tiring of listening to this with friends. Whether you are a fan of Muse or have never even heard of them then I strongly urge you to give this electro, progressive-rock a go!
Muse released Black Holes and Revelations in 2006 and it was their 4th studio album. Muse are Matt Bellamy, Dominic Howard and Chris Wolstenholme and each is amazing at their intsrument.
1. Take a bow
3. Supermassive black hole
4. Map of the problematique
5. Soldiers poem
9. City of delusion
11. Knights of cydonia
I must admit I was really excited after hearing 'supermassive black hole' on the radio for the first time. they seemed to be going in a more groovy direction and I was really looking forward to the album. After getting the album I was initially amazed by it. They have progressed the sound and made even more multi-layered. there were for me 4 standout songs which are knights of cydonia, supermassive black hole, exo-politics and map of problamatique. These are great songs and are amazing live too. i wasn't too sure about the other tracks.
Then I went back to a couple of their older albums. I soon realised that they have have lost alot of energy and drive from these songs and were going too experimental and dare I say it - mainstream. The songs don't have the riffs and driving bass of previous albums. This is not the Muse of old anymore and its hard to say hand on heart that this album is better than absolution, origin of symmetry or showbiz.
I don't like saying this and think that if this had been any other band, the album would be great. Due the fact that this is Muse, I have come to expect much more from them. This seems to be the first step backwards and has aleinating alot of older fans who yearn for the days of old. this is just my opinion as a long time fan of the band. However, they are still amazing live and most of these songs are better live than on the CD!
English progressive rockers Muse are renowned for their stadium filling extravaganza's of wild energetic revolutionary fused rock! The Teignmouth Trio of Matt Bellamy, Chris Wolstenholme and Dominic Howard formed 'Muse' in 1994. In the early nineties the trio were all members of different bands, but in an attempt to win a battle of the bands contest in their hometown, the trio joined forces and notably went on to win, thus taking their new found stardom seriously, and after a few different names changes 'Muse' decided to go full time moving from the sleepy depths of Devon to successfully establish themselves in British rock history with an enigmatic heavy metal presence, blending into space rock/electronica sounds
Matthew Bellamy - Lead Vocals / Guitars / Keyboards
Chris Wolstenholme - Bass guitar / Backing vocals / Harmonica
Dominic Howard - Drums / Percussion / Synthesizers / Backing Vocals
BLACK HOLES AND REVELATIONS....
Fourth Studio album Black Holes and Revelations released in 2006 marked a significant shift in direction for Muse, influenced by Depeche Mode, Nina Simone and Rage against the Machine and old Italian traditional folk songs, their sound has regenerated and moulded into an array of operatic structures and synthesizers. The album's theme is about a new world; in another galaxy it's all very sci-fi and atmospheric, covering topics such as love, aliens, war and political regimes. Selling over 115, 000 copies in its first week alone in the UK Black Holes went on to earn the band a Mercury Prize nomination and a third place finish in the NME Album of the Year; eventually August 2006 the album went platinum. Five singles were released from the Album, Supermassive Black Hole was first to hit the chart peaking at a highly respectable number four, second singles released was 'Starlight' which peaked at number thirteen, 'Knight of Cydonia' just entering into the top ten, 'Invincible' only reaching a meagre twenty first position and downloadable track 'Map of the Problematique' charting at number eighteen. Albums to date are...
Origin of Symmetry (2001)
Black Holes and Revelations (2006)
1 TAKE A BOW (4.35)
Opener Take a Bow was originally called Hex and was issued at the end of the album, However because of the key it was in and the continuation of the previous album decided to put it up front, Take a Bow is a politically motivated track, about the World's leaders and their corruption, urging them to think about their motives and actions. 'You bring death, and destruction to all that you touch / Pay / you must pay / you must pay for your crimes against the earth'. Kicks off and straight away you can hear the sound from 'Absolution' as you are hit with waves after wave of pulsating synthesizers and percussion that ripples and splutters, to an orchestral atmospheric sound, the track builds and builds, as it evolves into a techno electronica feel, as the momentum carries the vocals and guitars push onwards, it sounds like it could easily be the soundtrack to 'War of the Worlds' It's absorbing, highly structured and chaotic with layered sounds, you really get the feel of an inter galactic showdown or battle. The finale is a catastrophe of sound on the grandest of scales. I think it's a fantastic choice for an opener, it really sets the mood for the rest of the album, really pulls you in. 8/10
2. STARLIGHT (4.03)
The second single, Starlight was released in September 2006, it's an intergalactic love song, of striking proportions. 'You electrify my life / Let's conspire to ignite / All the souls that would die just to feel alive'. Used on Sky Sports for the opening titled music for the Euro 2008 football qualifiers it's of anthemia stature. Muse seem to have conformed to the mainstream market for this power pop ballad, from the booming drumbeat beginning and simple bass lines it's amazingly melodic and annoyingly catchy, the structure to this is much simpler than the opener, but still racing energy, the yearning in Bellamy's gruff voice in the chorus, really gets to grips of the storyline. This Piano melodic ballad in part is a triumph the piano and drum line are authoritarian and engaging and the chorus heartfelt and enjoyable, but the composition gets lost somewhere and fails to inspire me totally, I can take it or leave it, but it's a real fans favourite and probably a winner amongst the mainstream masses. 7/10
3. SUPERMASSIVE BLACK HOLE (3.29)
The first single from the album, Supermassive Black Hole, was released as a download in May 2006. The following month released as a single all ahead of the album release as a shock tactic to gain maximum impetus for the album's release. So big a hit 'Supermassive' has been used on the Twilight movie soundtrack and the computer game 'Guitar Hero 3'.A shift in sound for Muse brought us 'Supermassive Black Hole' a dance type beat, heavy, dark and electronic. It's an odd arrangement of different genre's funk and disco as this track slowly develops lazily. It's a sleazy little electro shuffle that never really get going for me, the riffs are mundane, the drum line to simple, and the vocal tones just annoyingly ridiculous. In a word I hate this song, its 209 minutes of inter galactic torture, shoot me Martian, shoot me! In fact id go as far as saying it's the worst ever song Muse have produced, although I know many will disagree, I just think it sounds sleazy and bland, and I want to sink into any black hole available. 2/10
4. MAP OF THE PROBLEMATIQUE (4.18)
Thankfully we move on to this ingenious track and my favourite of the album. 'Map of the Problematique' was the fifth and final single to be released from 'Black Holes and Revelations'. It was a download only single released following the band's two night performance at Wembley Stadium. So orgasmic the rhythm/melody it's used on film trailers such as 'Children of Men' TV series Prison Break and the Rugby World sevens series. The title is a reference to the 1972 book 'Limits to Growth' and masquerades the problematic global issues, and the challenges the world has to face in the nearing future. It's a song about fear and panic referencing to Mars and it's two moons Phobos and Deimos, the Greek Gods of the aforementioned issues. 'I want to touch the other side / and no one thinks they are to blame / Why can't we see / that when we bleed we bleed the same'. The song has been likened by many to a more feverish version of 'Depeche Mode's' 'Enjoy the Silence', where I can see the similarities it's on a grander more impacting scale of grandiosity. The Intro is sublime you can feel the intensity as a battle is looming on the Moon's surface, an ultra catchy start with the delightful spooky sound of the keyboard, interplayed with a gravely riff, the energetic drum line gives the impression of a chase, its incessant each strike drives down the back of your neck. It's a masterpiece of creativity, the mood so heightened that it could work with no singing and just a video, to develop the story further. Its rhythm and structure are perfect; you get the sense of danger, but without the anger of over complicated influx of noises. It's really all about the music; the singing just gives it an extra dimension, to this atmospherically charged espionage thriller, brilliant thumping feet tapping at a million miles per hour. 10/10
5. SOLDIER'S POEM (2.04)
Another political number featuring the ideals of war, but seen through a soldier's eyes, asking himself the questions of why, and what am I fighting for, the feeling of been abandoned by a world falling apart. 'How could you send us so far away from home / When you know damn well that this is wrong / I would still lay down my life for you / and do you think you deserve your freedom'. A real meltdown in speed from the previous track, as this timid little acoustic guitar fed poem delicately moves along to the twinkling of percussion. It's a simple short offering, double bass and jazz guitars to a military feeling rhythmic beat, it's minimal and quite sad, but joyful at the same time, it works well with the theme of the album, and sits nicely in the middle of the album, but as a single its not long enough, or imposing enough to last in the memory, mediocre 5/10
6. INVINCIBLE (5.00)
Invincible was the fourth single from Black Holes and Revelations released April 2007. The B-side to Invincible is 'Glorious' which appears as the track 12 on various editions of the album. This is an uplifting song, full of optimism and a sense of warmth, feeling like you're about to defeat the enemy. Don't be afraid / what your mind conceives / you should make a stand / Stand up for what you believe'. The track starts with the faint sounds of footsteps on a wooden floor, whilst recording the trio recorded the marching drums, by setting up a microphone by a window and matching towards it drumming, to build the impression of an army marching towards you, together with the marching, you get a mystical feel with the swirling echoing sound that accompanies throughout. The song is a romantic melody that's built around this marching beat, it's a simple arrangement, the space sounding guitar riffs and constant military drum line make this feel like your on the verge of something definitive in an antic galactic battle, which builds to an impressive finale. This song works well, its light and objective, Bellamy's yearning tones really fit the melody well, angular guitar solos towards the mid section are impressive, and well thought out. I'm not entirely sure about this number, it certainly has plus points, and it's easy to see what they are striving for, but it lacks something, make it needs to kick on about, and change pace somewhere its all a little slow. 7/10
7. ASSASSIN (3.31)
The song is featured in the 2008 game Guitar Hero: World Tour as a playable track, where there is also a secret achievement for the 360 version of the game called 'Muse to My Ears', requiring you to score 222,222 points or higher on Assassin, playing the drums. Assassin is calling upon the galactic hero to shoot to kill or dispatch the demonocracy, which means the government, smashing their powers. The intro is likened to the opening theme music of TV series Knight Rider, but its riffs are a little more distorted accompanied by various percussion, that gets more and more progressive as we reach the choruses. It's an energetic little number one of the fastest on the album progressing all the time. Smashing drums and a heavy bass line accompany a stuttering guitar riff, the drum line is very prominent taking control throughout most of the song, the use of extra microphone inside and outside of the snare drums to amplify the sounds and giving it as much definition as possible. The vocals are overdubbed, creating a operatic barbershop effect, complete with staccato and harmonized chords. Its an edgy 221 seconds worth of a chase, it reminds me of past Muse efforts from older albums a sound that I applaud, I especially like the chorus as we slow down and change chords, Assassin fits nicely into the album, stretching the composition of the album expanding the story in an understated manor. 7/10
8. EXO-POLITICS (3.53)
The song was added to Guitar Hero 3 as part of a track pack along with Supermassive Black Hole and Stockholm Syndrome. This song is obviously political but it has many sub categories to it, predominantly it's concept is the government and its direct assault at self destruction, but it also resembles conspiracy theories, unanswered questions about paranormal activities and secret projects, and in keeping with the theme of the album its about Zeta Reticulans invading Earth, an Alien invasion creating a New World Order. 'When the Zetas fill the skies / Will our leaders tell us why / Fully loaded satellites / Will conquer nothing but our minds'. So how do you get a song to sound like Humans fighting Aliens, well it doesn't really, a groove based bass line is opted for again with marching type drum lines, until we reach the chorus which indicates a shift, frequent fizzing grizzly guitar solos are erected, as the chords progress to lock back in and out of the chorus. The chorus is the high point of this, more charisma in Bellamy's tones the chorus is funky and the melody is totally uplifting, compared to the rather bland appeal of the verses. We end the song with the opening groove riff to a sudden halt. Not one of my favourites, but it certainly works as an album track and the chorus is exceptional. 6/10
9. CITY OF DELUSION (4.48)
This song is about lack of trust, and the city turning to dust with the corrupt powers governing it. It's a story of a man preparing to give his life for the cause, and causing acts of murder and assassination to get his views noticed by the scandalous corrupt officials. 'Destroy this City of Delusion / Break these walls down / I will avenge / Justify my reasons / with your blood'. City of Delusion is an acoustic guitar driven track, possibly with Italian influence as they spent a lot of their time recording and writing in Italy. It's a folky little number, and quite different to the rest of the album, it has an Eastern sound, but also a Spanish/Mexican like flavour with its laid back trumpets carousing in the desert. It features an orchestral section and strings mid section that really makes this unique and calming. 6/10
10. HOODOO (3.43)
Carrying on from the previous track as the mood is romantic and laid back, as we appreciate a quiet little number, with beautiful piano' sections and a Spanish-esque guitar. We sample a Piano concerto to begin with reminiscent of Tchaikovsky, until Spanish flavoured guitars are bled in with subtle, soft tones of Bellamy, strings and drums join to build some tension as the atmosphere rises, wall of noise as the romantic piano and Bellamy's pain staking vocals boom. The tension dissipates as the original section is restored. Its an adventurous little number, classically sounding, with the Piano playing the most prominent role leading in and out of the track, ably backed up with a strings arrangement, bass and guitar its an effective effort, the lyrics are also a highlight winning 'Lyric of the year' in 2009 by Q magazine members. 'You should never be afraid / You're protected from trouble and pain / Why, why is this a crisis in your eyes again'.
11. KNIGHTS OF CYDONIA (6.07)
'Knights of Cydonia' was the third single to be released from Black Holes and Revelations, originally released as a radio only single, until forming the finale on Black Holes, it's mainstream reception was outstanding featuring on various polls and list as one of the greatest tracks of all time. Adding to its fame, it's featuring on various computer games such as Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, 2 and the Wii. It's also been recognised for TV featuring on trailer for movie '300' and 'A Knight's Tale'. Essentially coming to the end of the quest, as this track represents the see through politics, and political analogies 'No one's gonna take me alive / The time has come to make things right / You and I must fight for our rights / You and I must fight to survive' this epic of a track starts with a synthesized sounding guitar riff that sounds like a soundtrack to an old western movie but added with a science fiction twist. Mixed up spiky riffs, trumpets and the sound of on rushing horses and guns the intro is dazzling and adventurous. Mixed in with flamenco guitars for a Spanish flavour, horns and keyboards we are set on a real journey through this thread bare desert of Mars. Violent mesmerizing riffs are battling to win this epic war, as we are witnessing the destruction of the universe with sirens, deathly explosions, and walls of unearthly noises. It's pulsating rhythm and beaten noises, ripped rolling guitar solo's all lead up to a long climax of henchman from the underground racing towards us on their galloping stallions. This is a well-crafted epic of sound, and works amazingly well as a live track, such atmosphere, its bold and beautiful 8/10
Black Holes and Revelations is an imposing, ambitious effort, and a far cry from Muse's first three albums. Following a theme of inter galactic battles and a brave new world, it's overblown and inventive. Steering clear of the obvious sex, drugs and rock and roll theme, Muse have developed their own little world upon Mars and although still political, it's not in your face or trying to preach to the masses, about how we should act, or try and revolutionize.
As a massive fan of the first three albums, I found Black Holes to be totally different and possibly a first real effort to change an already successful sound. As we explore this alternative universe, for substance the sounds need to be futuristic and atmospheric which they do well, synthesizers, effects, strings, trumpets, percussion and Orchestra's used to hype up and dramatize the sound.
Still, the stacked guitars and booming drum lines from before remain but used differently to create abnormal sounds and extra distortion, to inspire inter-galactic shootings, and horses moving towards us to the beat's of the drum.
Why is the sound different, well mainly its on a grander scale, and it follows a recurring theme, it's got more emphasis on glamour and verging on a rock opera, comparable to Green Day's latest two efforts with the continuing fictitious storyline. Muse are comfortable enough in ability to stray away from conforming to type and do a very different form of progressive/ space rock. This mixed album amasses many different genres from classical, indie to electronica, culminating in operatic structures, fizzing synthesizers and really stretching their boundaries for a head rush of quality sounds.
Does it work for me? Well on the whole, yes, I like the industry and originality, and for large parts of the album the music filled instrumentals outweigh the singing, which I really like due to the progressiveness of sound. However, that's not to stay the mercurial Bellamy's voice is not up to his highest standard, his efficiency to pitch shift to create a more viral, enigmatic sound is as good as ever. But what I would say is that it needs to be heard on a grander scale for full impact, Muse are renowned for electric live shows, and you can see why, with such material at Bellamy and Co's disposal.
Comparable to Depeche Mode, The Tornadoes, Queen and maybe the Killers and covering a plethora of genres, Muse's material reaches a wide target audience. I really like the album, but I think it works better as a whole, than any stand out singles, notable high's have to be track four 'Map of the Problematique', 'Take a Bow' and the finale 'Nights of Cydonia'. Negatives, it lacks a punch in making this memorable, and in my honest opinion I prefer its predecessor 'Absolution'. I'd recommend the album, but I think a listen to track four or eleven would be a good indication to if you would want to purchase the whole album, good but not great!
Black Holes and Revelations: Audio CD £ 4.77
Black Holes and Revelations (Download) £ 4.49
Black Holes and Revelations Tour Edition/ + DVD £11.99
Black Holes and Revelations Vinyl £15.99
Having been an ardent Muse fan ever since i first got Origin of Symmetry (which was the most amazing album i had ever heard!) in 2001, i acquired this album with great expectations.
At first, i have to admit, i didn't like it (though that is my usual first response to new albums with huge trepidation behind them). However, i did come to my senses very quickly, casting off the shackles of the glorious past and accepting their new direction. As could be expected from Britains greatest rock band of today (dare i say that?!), this album is fantastic. Hints of cosmic beauty and auditory splendour are ever present in the music. The lyrics (even though sometimes a little too political for my liking) are intelligent, melodic and, as ever, extremely well written and sung by the genius that is Matt Bellamy (even if he is a bit nuts!). Every aspect of the bands pure talent has been churned out, from beautifully slow paced, lighter-waving songs (Soldier's Poem), to the simply mosh-worthy stampedes of rock (Knights of Cydonia, Map of the Problematique) and the excellent, thought provoking 'listen to over and over again' tracks (Starlight, City of Delusion).
Muse really do now have a musical repertoire, surely, worthy of mounting in some 'hall of fame for amazing bands', and a mind-blowing live show to match (which i have experienced twice - so if your still waiting to encounter the best gig of your life, dont hesitate - see them!).
I gave the album 4 stars only because i still feel their earlier music was unsurpassable - i dont think Origin will ever be shifted from its podium! (also because i thought Hoodoo was a bit of an anomaly!)
Muse truly are an inspirational band and i hope all who come across their music are equally impacted on as i have been for the past 5 years.
Black Holes And Revelations is yet another great album from Muse, and although each album seems to be getting progressively more poppy, this is still a winning mix of prog-rock and classically heavy guitar riffs, and of course, Matt Bellamy's sublime vocal work. Here's a selection of my favourite tracks:
#1: Take A Bow = it begins slowly with a hypnotic sound, as Bellamy's vocals creep in, and then it gets heavier and heavier, sounding almost apocalyptic at times. It was used heavily in the promotion for Zack Snyder's film Watchmen.
#2: Starlight = probably my favourite track, this has a very strong bass line throughout and also wonderful typically strong piano work and vocals from Bellamy. It also gets heavier as it goes along and is very empassioned.
#3: Supermassive Black Hole = the first single, and has been used in a lot of adverts and films, this is a very energetic and pop-like song, but the combination works well.
#4: Map Of The Problematique = a psychedelic, gorgeously written song that is also one of my favourites. It is probably the most prog-like song on the album.
#5: Soldier's Poem = not so keen on this one. It's more of a ballad, and the opening riff BLATANTLY rips off REM's Everybody Hurts.
#7: Assassin = one of my favourites, this is an incredibly intense track and has also been used in a lot of adverts. One of the best songs they have ever written, in my opinion. One to rock out too for sure.
#11: Knights of Cydonia = the really divisive one to me. This is a very daft track and I don't think the tone really suits the rest of the album; it is like a goofy spaghetti Western, and seems totally opposing everything else on the album.
It's not better than Origin of Symmetry, but this is for the most part a real corker of an album.
I find that I get hooked on one or a few albums at a time; I've been like this all my life. I'll listen to a couple of albums over and over for a few weeks or sometimes longer, and although I try to move onto something else, if I'm hooked on something I always end up going back to it.
For the last few months one constant on my mp3 player has been Black Holes And Revelations by Muse. Released in 2006, it was their newest album until the recent release of The Resistance. It features several hit singles and was highly praised by all the critics at the time of release.
Muse are a rock band, but not your straightforward guitar-bass-drums combo. They use a lot of synth, and this coupled with Matt Bellamy's voice leads to some really fantastic music.
1. Take A Bow
3. Supermassive Black Hole
4. Map Of The Problematique
5. Soldier's Poem
9. City Of Delusion
11. Knights Of Cydonia
The album opens with the somewhat ethereal Take A Bow. It features a lot of synth, accompanied by Matt Bellamy's ghostly voice. The opening is very light, until the bass comes in and the synth becomes heavier. Further in there is a slow yet epic sounding guitar riff which contrasts with the fast paced synth. This riff is almost Queen-esque in its sound. Take A Bow is an incredible opener to the album, and really shows off Muse's songwriting talents.
Take A Bow is followed by the lighter and more upbeat sounding Starlight. It opens with drums and a single repeated guitar note in a lively tempo, and then a cheerful piano refrain comes in. This refrain is repeated throughout the track. There are heavier moments, with guitar, drums and synth backing the vocals. Starlight is one of my favourite tracks on the album, featuring the title line of the album. It is a good rock track, the kind which Muse do so well, but with a little something more to set them apart from other bands.
Track 3, Supermassive Black Hole is without a doubt one of my favourites on the album, one of my favourite Muse songs and definitely on my list of all time favourites. Since the movie Twilight came out, I've associated this song with vampires, as it features in the baseball scene. Some may think this is a bad thing, and that Muse deserve better than to be linked to Twilight, but in my world nothing related to Twilight is a bad thing! Supermassive Black Hole has a heavy repeated guitar riff, steady drums and a driving bass which goes right through you on high volumes. It is a absolutely fantastic rock song, yet features Bellamy singing in the upper range - not necessarily something you would associate with rock music. The rhythms are fairly straightforward, but again Muse bring something more to it and make it an absolutely stand out track, one which I often listen to on repeat.
Map Of The Problematique is another fast paced track, with gentle piano refrains and clear guitar riffs at the intro. The guitar becomes a little heavier before the vocals start, and again there are fast synths in the background. After Supermassive and Starlight, this is more like the ethereal sound of Take A Bow, but is much more upfront and loud. Bellamy's vocals again sounds rather ghostly and perfectly compliment the drums and guitar underneath.
Soldier's Poem is the first slower track of the album, and is written to a waltz beat, with brushes on the drums and a repeated arpeggio on the guitar. It is a beautiful track, but comes almost as a shock after the speed and noise of the previous three tracks. Again Bellamy is singing in the upper range, with beautiful backing vocals in perfect harmony.
With Invincible, Muse take yet another turn. It is slower than the first four tracks, more similar in tempo to Soldier's Poem, but has a completely different feel. It opens with drums and synths, and slowly builds to a crescendo. The way the instruments come in in layers gives the track an epic sound, with the drum beat steadily driving it along. Invincible is a truly wonderful piece of music, with fantastic lyrics- "Tonight we can truly say we are invincible". After the first verse and chorus, the guitar comes in with a simple repeated riff, and by the time Bellamy starts singing again this has changed to a faster sounding riff, but the tempo doesn't change. After the second verse, the instruments pick up again, but the tempo remains steady. There is an absolutely incredible guitar solo at this point, which sounds simple on the surface but if you listen carefully you realise just how complex it is. Still the tempo remains steady. Invincible for me is a perfect showcase of Muse's collective talents.
Assassin, track 7, is nuts. Opening with an insane guitar riff, it just gets madder and madder. The rhythm on this is a really tricky one to pick up, as anyone who has tried it on Guitar Hero will know! The guitar riff never stops, even when Bellamy comes in on vocals. The guitar sound changes, from clear to heavy, but it just keeps going. At times the drumbeat mirrors the guitar riff and at other it steadily keeps the beat. I do like this track, but the rhythm is so off the beat that I find it hard to relax into Assassin because I'm constantly trying to pin down the rhythm.
Exo-Politics opens with a more classic rock sound. A basic drum beat accompanied by a steady guitar riff is the intro before the vocals come in. It is quite sparse, just these rhythms behind the vocals for the first verse. It fills out a little bit more further in, but these rhythms form the backbone of the track. It is fairly upbeat, with a steady pace throughout. This isn't one of my favourites tracks on the album but I still love it - it's just that Muse can and do produce better.
City of Delusion opens with an almost Spanish-sounding acoustic guitar, which then provides the only accompaniment to the vocals. When the bass joins in its rhythm reinforces the slightly Latin or Mediterranean feel to the track, as does the short string section before the track becomes a little heavier. Further on a trumpet solo brings back the Spanish sound. I find this track intriguing, as Muse are playing with yet another different sound. Again this isn't one of my favourites but I do really enjoy it.
Hoodoo opens with another riff which sounds a little Spanish, and continues into a little toreador type music, before slowing down completely to simply Bellamy's voice accompanied by sparse guitar chords. It continues into a rhythm which is very similar to that of Soldier's Poem - a slower waltz beat with arpeggios. The vocals are completely different, but it still sounds similar. It then changes again, and there is some classical piano, drum rolls and heavy guitar. It ends by returning to Bellamy with only guitar chords to accompany him. One song, three styles. It is much more experimental sounding than some of the earlier tracks, and is a strange one to listen to. It doesn't play like one song, but rather three movements of one work - although it is not long.
The final track, Knights of Cydonia, opens with horses hooves and a sustained synth note. It moves into more epic style, with choral style vocals and matching a slow guitar riff. Then it really gets going, with a fast drum beat and distorted guitar riff. This is going back to the earlier rock sounds of the album, and it really is a great finale. I love this song, and would rate it among my favourites on the album (do I keep saying that? It's just such a great album!). The beat is steady, the vocals beautiful and the guitar nicely rocking. There is an interlude, which is piercing harmonised vocals accompanied by a subtle synth backing, which then builds up and leads back into the rock beat, before moving into a brilliantly simple guitar solo but which is so effective.
Black Holes And Revelations is truly an outstanding album, I can't rate it highly enough. Hardly a day goes by when I don't listen to some of it, and I can see it being on my favourites list for a long, long time. It took me a while to get into Muse, but now I can't turn back. They are supremely talented and write incredible music.
Black Holes and Revelations is the album that really got me into Muse. I had heard bits of their stuff before and liked it but hadn't got round to actually purchasing an album. Since I bought Black Holes and Revelations I have gone on to acquire the whole record collection!
'Black Holes' is jam packed with anthems and songs that make you sit up and take notice. The skill used to create this sort of music is staggering and the amount of time they spent going over different pieces of music/instruments etc to see if they worked must have been ages.
Here is my run through analysis of the album:
1) Take A Bow - Great opening to the album, the lyrics are very powerful from the start with 'burn, you will burn in hell' being the most intense. The electronic guitar sound on this is incredible. Fantastic stuff. 9/10
2) Starlight - When I first listened to the album this was one of the two songs that really stuck in my head and I was singing it for months! 9/10
3) Supermassive Black Hole - Like the first two songs this is an anthem in the sense that the chorus stays in your mind and theres a lot of fancy guitar work and synth sounds. Great stuff. 8/10
4) Map Of The Problematique - Fantastic Intro on this song and in general a really nice song although perhaps not in the style of the first three - not so anthem like. 9/10
5) Soldier's Poem - Beautiful song, much gentler and almost lullaby like in style. 9/10
6) Invincible - Gentle start, lovely lyrics and Matt Bellamy's guitar solo is wicked! 8/10
7) Assassin - Great Intro, the rest of the song is decent but not amazing. 7/10
8) Exo-Politics - More of a rocky style song, the guitars are again incredible (although they seem to be on every song!). Supposedly about an alien invasion. 8/10
9) City Of Delusion - Nice use of bass on this song which compliments the unusual trumpet fanfare very well. Stands out somewhat. 9/10
10) Hoodoo - Another track which brings together different instruments that you might not think would work with a strange sounding guitar, mad piano and great lyrics. 8/10
11) Knights Of Cydonia - Absolutely EPIC this song is totally unforgettable and is one of the best put together songs I have heard - credit Muse for all their efforts to branch out and put together different sounds, it has worked on this album but for this song it is an absolute triumph. 10/10
I would definitely recommend a purchase of this album if for some reason you have't yet purchased it! Just listen to Knight of Cydonia in particular on youtube and you will see that you need to purchase this album!
Released in July 2006, Black Holes and Revelations is the 4th studio album from Muse, following up 2003's Absolution. It features the massive hit single "Supermassive Black Hole" as well as "Starlight".
In my opinion this is up there as some of their best work since debut album Showbiz. By giving this album a listen, you can tell the band have matured quite a bit, this results in a slightly different sound to their three previous records. But the great guitar rifts & anthems that we love the band for are still going strong. My favourite tracks are the opener "Take A Bow" and the beautiful "Invincible".
Due to the slightly different direction this album takes, it may not be one that appeals to you after the first few listens, even if you are a Muse fan. But after a good few listens, you will start to appreciate how good it really is, so this is definetly a grower.
In my opinion, this has to be one of the best rock/indie albums out there, so if you like that genre of music, give this a listen for sure, I guarentee you won't be disappointed. It's readily available for under a fiver online so you have absolutely nothing to loose.
Also If you get a chance to see the band, make sure you do, they are amazing!
Prior to this album I was never a fan of Muse. I thought they were very "arthouse" without much substance. This album however changed my attitude towards them, so much so that I am more or less certain to buy their next album when it is released in a couple of weeks time and may go back and listen to "Absolution" which was the previous album.
This album spawned 5 UK hits singles, 2 of which reached the top 10 and 2 others which reached the top 20, "Invincible", the other single even reached number 21 so was hardly a failure.
"Take A Bow" is a more than satisfactory opening track. People who are familiar with Muse's music will probably class this as a typical Muse track.
Although there is no title track, "Starlight" contains the title within the lyrics and is a very good song.
Next up is "Supermassive Black Hole" and I think this is the track that probably turned me on to Muse. It is probably their most commercially aware song to date and explains why it is their biggest hit so far having reached number 4. I had always felt the vocals had been overlooked in favour of the instrumentation in the past but this track changed all that for me. This is my second favourite track on the album.
"Map Of The Problematique" is a rather dark tale exploring relationships and their difficulties. The lyrics here are quite deep as they often seem to be.
"Soldier's Poem" is a much slower track with a hint of "Bohemian Rhapsody" harmonies about it. A very short track at just over two minutes, there are obvious political references here.
Continuing in the more relaxed vein "Invincible" takes a while to get going but is not a bad song either.
"Assassin" rattles along at a fair pace whilst "Exo-Politics" is similarly aggressive and sees more deep lyrics, there is a hint in the title after all.
"City Of Delusion" has a gentle opening before building up the tempo a little.
Don't be put off "Hoodoo" by the spaghetti western style opening. What follows is very good.
"Knights Of Cydonia" finishes things of in style. I think it is the medieval feel to the song that does it for me and it just explodes into classic rock at the end with superb vocals. This is my favourite song on the album and in my opinion the best Muse song to date. I hope there will be more tracks like this on future releases.
The album lasts just over 45 minutes in total and I think this is just about the right length.
I can see why Muse might be classed as a Prog Rock band but for me it is more inspiring than what might have been classed as part of this genre 20 or 30 years ago. I'm not a big fan categorising music anyway and my opinion is that Muse are unique in some ways in the current market.
I would certainly recommend this album. It must be some good as it was nominated for the 2006 Mercury Music Prize and it may have won if Arctic Monkeys debut album had not also been on the list.
As you've probably established from my previous review of their 'absolution' album im a mahoosive fan of muse and have been since i heard them the first time!
After their massive amounts of sucess already thenprove with the release of their 4th studio release that they've still got amazing musical ideas which show their talent and progression musically!
Listeners will instantly recognise that they have taken a bit of a turn in this album compared to previous ones but i guess thats one of the things i love about the band is that they're not scared of sounding different to everyone else in the charts!
The band say that the influences from this album came from where they were recording at the time, tracks such as 'supermassive black hole' were recorded while they were in new york and you can certainly hear the pop/dance elements that tend to hang in that industry at the moment!
From one extreme to the other you can hear major italian elements in tracks such as 'knights of cydonia' which have that old fashioned kind of 'spahetti western' sound produced by ennio morricone back in the day!
Each track takes you to a whole new place and definently shows some easily listening for whoevers got it on! Theyve managed to keep a steady balance of electrical synths to orchestrations which makes it a very balanced album overall!
1. Take A Bow
A mellow intro of soft syths which build and build into quite an epic track!
A very simple but effective song that will have the melody embeded in your head within a very short amount of time no doubt!
3. Supermassive Black Hole
What i would class as the 'anchor song' of the album, it was the first single of the album to be released and had fans puzzled for a short period of time but everyone soon caught onto the new style and adjusted to it!
4. Map of the Problematique
A very complex production of guitars going through sequenced gate filters for an opening guitar sound that you will not have heard before! very powerfull song that is one of my faves!
5. Soldier's Poem
A stripped down and more mellow song compared to the previous, consisting of light instruments such as double bass and acoustic guitar as well as a brush drum kit. Very nice listening and the lyrics will drag you into the story!
Again another slow mellow starting song which builds into a huuuge track! Massive guitar parts and the solo will blow you away! an insane solo compared to any other heard on a muse track and youll find yourself listening to it on loop!
Probably the heaviest sounding song of the album, kind of like 'Stockholm syndrome' of their 'absolutio'n album, very complex drums in this song with layered harmony guitars, youd have to be in the mood for this song but youll love it none the less!
Another relatively simple construction here but again the simple melody will drill into your head and have you whistling once its finished playing!
9. City of Delusion
A Real spanish sound to this song, hard hitting acousitc guitar rhythms at the beggining to be joined with a real solid bass line which compliments it nicely, drums finish it off to give it the all round spanish tone!
In my opinion the most stripped down song on the album, really raw song consisting of simplicity but a great song none the less!
11. Knights of Cydonia
The massive finisher on the album! A very odd mix of rock with that 'spaghetti western' sound! But it works! A repeating guitar riff flows other the top of this hard hitting power! Every tiny piece of sound in this track makes it more and more random but with a huge tone! bit of a tricky one to explain youll just have to listen to see what i mean!
Let me finish by saying some people listen to certain music when theyre in certain moods and this album will cater for each and everyone of those moods! Slow and saw, fast and dancy! its got it all!
I would easily recommend to all!
You would think that after three successful concerts and lots and lots of live tours that Muse would sit back and count their profits but no this is their fourth studio album. Singles released from it include, Supermassive Black Hole, which featured in the Twilight movie, Starlight, Invincible and of course Knights of Cydonia. After this album was released they even released a 2 disc complication containing tracks and videos from their H.A.A.R.P. concerts at Wembley.These are my standout favourites from this album:
(2) Starlight, this was the second single released from the album. This is such a good track and it really shows off Chris' bass playing, there isn't much guitar playing on this song but the parts that are there are great and the keyboard accompaniment is also very good. The lyrics are also great on this song.
(3) Supermassive Black Hole, this was the first single released from the album and now one of my firm favourites. I actually didn't like it at first but when I listened to it again it grew on me. Matt definitely shows off the higher end of the vocal range and Chris does some great backing vocals.
(4) Map of the Problematique, this is another great song, the combination of keyboard and guitar works really well. All the instruments are excellent as usual as is Matt's singing.
(6) Invincible, this was the third single released and again a firm favourite of mine. It starts off slowly; Matt uses his guitar effects to great effect (excuse the pun). I really like the lyrics to this song and also the way that it builds and builds. Matt's tapping solo is also brilliant.
(8) Exo-Politics, this isn't exactly a well known song and as far as I'm aware there is no professionally shot live footage yet but it's one of my surprise favourites. The riff is simple but it works really well. The lyrics are the best part of this song, Matt sings about conspiracies and government satellites.
(11) Knights of Cydonia, this is my favourite song off this album. It has a definite space/western feel to it. Matt's guitar playing is excellent as is Chris' and Dom's playing. A definite fan favourite.
Many hardcore Muse fans seem to think that this album isn't as good as their older stuff, my guess is that it's because this album is more mainstream. I really like this album although I don't think it reaches the standard that Absolution and the previous albums set.
Muse's latest album, is in my opinion equally as good as its predecessors. its catchy tunes, consisting of brilliant vocal and guitar elements. muse are one of those bands that even if you dont know the name of the song you will know the tune for it. this is one of those albums, i can't help but believe that 4 or more of the songs on this album would be instantly recognisable to any music fan. these being starlight, supermassive black hole, map of the problematique and knights of cydonia. knights of cydonia is, maybe surprisingly to some, my favourite ever muse song. its catchyness is unrivalled and the length of it just adds to the spectacle, this coupled with a stunningly good video to match can only increase its appeal to all music fans, me in particular. this is the album which got me to notice muse as a band seeing as i had never really looked in to the music they play/have played, but now i look back i am really pleased i did. muse are great and so is this album!
This is the fourth album by the exceptionally good Muse. There are songs on this album that are in some ways influenced by other bands, most notably Queen and Depeche Mode, however the album is completely and distinctively unique Muse. I do not like dwelling too much on how influenced muse are by other bands, I only mention it as a passing note, and as a matter of interest. For example their earlier songs are often compared to Radiohead, however, muse are entirely unique.
Take A Bow:
A very catchy yet also very serious and political song 'take a bow' opens the album brilliantly for muse, the song seems to be about corrupt politicians needing to take responsibilities and paying for actions.
This is a simple but very nice and catchy song, that is probably the most poppy sounding song on the album. This was released as a single in the UK and reached number thirteen. The lyrics, like the rest of the song are very sweet.
Supermassive Black Hole:
This has to be classed as one of the best songs on the album, and is their most commercially successfully single to have been released at this point in time reaching number four in the UK charts. This song is very very well produced, with unusual but fantastic lyrics.
Map Of The Problematique:
This excellent song reached number 18 in the UK charts. It is a rather bleak but very accomplished song with an excellent arrangement that is clearly heavily influenced by Depeche Mode, or although again has a unique Muse twist. It has a very distinctive melody that drives the song.
This is a very mellow song, and although is musically nothing particularly special by muse standards, it has some very interesting lyrics. I would say that it is rather dreary and is maybe the weakest track on the album.
Another of the songs from black holes released as a single is the song invincible. This is a beautiful and hopeful song. Matt Bellamy apparently believes this to be the heart of the album. Some could argue that it is relatively tame and dull for a muse song, but I disagree I find it to have lovely lyrics and an equally lovely melody.
This is a very energetic song, and has that distinctive muse feel. The guitar riff at the start is almost reminiscent of metal. Not one of their best but still a good song with a good energy and pulse.
Not one of my favourites from the album this is still a solid song, with a solid bass line and a guitar riff based on progressive chords, and hey it is about aliens invading earth so have to like it a little :)
City Of Delusion :
This song has a great pulse and energy and so brilliantly contrasts loud and soft. The trumpets also give it that unique muse twist. The song also has a very impressive string arrangement. Worth a few listens to get into it maybe!
This is another good song with a mix of acoustic and electric guitars. It is not one of my favourites as for me personally Muse are not at their best when in more mellow songs. Saying this it still has quite a beautiful melody and the massive piano chords help to build this song up very nicely. Unusually for the amazing Matt Bellamy I also find it a little difficult to hear what he is saying during the vocals at points during the song.
Knights Of Cydonia:
This is my favourite song on the album, building slowly to the crescendo of the Queen style harmonies and amazing guitar riff, this song is fast paced and exciting from the start and is driven as always in muse by excellent drumming from Dominic Howard and bass from Chris Wolstenholme creating an effect of a horse galloping. This was one of the songs released as a single from the album and reached number ten in the UK charts.
Definitely worth getting for any music fan, this is the latest released album from one of the most exciting bands in the world today!! If you are discovering muse for the first time I might not necessarily suggest this album, maybe absolution instead, but this is still by any standards a very high quality album.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Take a Bow
3 Supermassive Black Hole
4 Map Of The Problematique
5 Soldier's Poem
9 City Of Delusion
11 Knights Of Cydonia