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ORIGIN OF SYMMETRY

Muse

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Certif1ed
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Muse provide another great addition to a prog collection, and improve on their debut in many ways, but push the edges of their creativity versus their abilities a bit too hard, and end up with a somewhat inconsistent effort that dazzles when it's good, and is slightly embarrassing when it's not so good.

On the whole, though, a throughly enjoyable romp through 3 reasonably creative and competant musicians that like to make a LOT of noise and make their presence felt without pushing hour-long solos down your throat.

THE MUSEIC:

"New Born" is a concerted break away from the Radiohead style that "Showbiz" threatened to sink into, and is fairly safely in Prog Rock territory. It's around 3:30 that Bellamy puts in one of his "anti-solos" and demonstrates that as a lead guitarist, he's a great pianist. The textures behind the music are the most startling aspect of this piece, although the chord progressions carry the quasi-classical and angular structures that are Muses' hallmark. The massive riff is the absolute highlight, of course - like Led Zeppelin at their most rockin' on steroids, this is a stonker.

"Bliss" begins with a surpising "New Age" kind of feel, but quickly drops into a more rock-oriented verse, with keyboard ostinatos and walking fuzz bass lines. The chorus is satisfyingly large and spacious, and is followed by some surprising rhythmic invention. As ever, it's the bridge I anticipate, and here, Muse return to the "New Age" feel - a keyboard ostinato reminiscent of Enya, but sadly (from a progressive point of view), build almost immediately back into the main verse/chorus. Great song, with wonderful progressive tendencies.

"Space Dementia" sets us up to expect more of the same - but listen carefully to Matt's developing piano style. There appears to be shades of Emerson creeping in there ( without the boxing gloves). This is more firmly in Prog territory, especially with the wonderful change around 2 minutes - hark! Are those Mellotrons? Mmmm!!! The ensuing section passes through some nice development and unexpected changes, using the intro piano ostinato for continuity. The dramatic tension is kept absolutely at a knife edge until just that moment that Muse choose to release it. There are plenty of subtle texture changes too - everything about this song would seem to fall into the category of 21st Century Prog Rock. Again, I wonder how 3 guys can make such a huge racket!!

I was wondering when Matt was going to begin torturing his guitar, and it's in the intro to "Hyper Music" that he does. This quickly drops into a Muse-style big riff, and surprisingly moves into a kind of funky passage for the verse. The transistions between the riffs are really quite masterful, and blur the standard structure underneath very well.

"Plug in Baby" is a frequent apparition to MTV watchers, and has a decidedly commercial slant, despite the heavy riffs, and shows why Muse have the respect they do in the industry - for daring to carve their own niche with their own style and approach. It's not a favourite song of mine, as it holds very little analytical interest, outside of Matt's falsetto masterclass, which is frankly awe-inspiring if you appreciate that sort of thing. My main gripe is that I find the repetitve rhythms a little on the annoying side.

"Citizen Erased" builds a massive groove in a fairly predictable style until the spine- chilling change around 1:30, which comes about in a smooth and subtle organic way. A wonderful ambient section follows, spoiled only by some guitar noodling from Matt that meanders around aimlessly. The return of the ambience is not far away, however, and the marvellous swirling organ layer combines perfectly with the walking bass and contrapuntal vocals. Then we smash back into the "massive groove" with some guitar work that sadly flounders quite a lot - Bellamy appears to be trying to imitate Johnny Greenwood, but lacks the latter's flair and feel. No matter, because the music returns to ambient textures - something that Muse as a band are exceptionally good at. The aggressive panning is a little uncomfortable for headphone wearers, but the developing music of the coda remains compelling.

Muse explore time signatures a little in "Micro Cuts", with convincing switches between 4/4 and 2/4, giving way to a solid 6/4 and back to 4/4 for the chorus. The quasi-classical influence pervades, and Muse get into the quiet and ambient/loud and crunchy patterns that they are so good at. The codetta is a little unconvincing in places, but with a riff from hell like that, you just gotta stick with it, and wish it was longer!!

A plethora of wierd noises - everything from wind chimes to bones and bubble wrap - begins "Screenager". Some inventive guitar and percussion work layer themselves over the drums, which have a kind of Tabala flavour. Around 1:30, the music takes on an almost Disney feeling - but in a dark way, if that makes sense... Reminiscent of "New Born", this pretends to build, with more falsetto, but drops back to the ambient.

"Darkshines" comes across initially as a kind of middle Eastern "Another One Bites the Dust", but Muse build the atmosphere well, and the big chorus is what we've been waiting for. An odd song, with odd instrumental passages, including what sounds like a distorted viola solo - but we like odd. Bellamy finally puts in some tasty little licks on the guitar, and the final codetta is a nice touch, if rhythmically a bit too repetitive for my tastes.

"Feeling Good" is a Muse-special power ballad... although the main riff is hardly original, Muse's treatment of it is, and Bellamy's already dynamic voice has rarely been quite so dynamic as here - he seems to be influenced by Janis Joplin in places.

Finally "Megalomania", an odd song, that begins with a kind of slow foxtrot, and moves towards a massive, anthemic chorus replete with church organ.

An odd way to finish - with 2 ballads back to back, and I had issues with the way "Showbiz" ended too. It's obvious by the way the tracks segue into each other, that Muse have attempted to present this album as a complete concept (as opposed to a concept album), and yet the overall shape of it doesn't quite work.

Apart from a few niggles with the music, it's quite obvious to me that this is an album at least as good as its predecessor - really, I couldn't choose between them. "Origins..." has more textural experimentation, and comes across as the more progressive, but "Showbiz" has an overall passion that puts "Origins..." very slightly in the shade.

Whatever, a good addition to any prog rock collection, let alone prog music. A very enjoyable and mainly accessible album with some genuinely nicely crafted touches and a huge amount of energy and conviction.

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Send comments to Certif1ed (BETA) | Report this review (#57528)
Posted Wednesday, November 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars I listen to so called "Rock" over 32 years now. This album is one of the best I have ever heard. The vocals are great , the guitars are great, the rythm session is great as for the keyboards ... what can I say ? Perfect. I couldn't believe that still exist in rock, bands like Muse. New born, Bliss, Space Dementia, Hyper Music, Citizen Erased, Micro cuts are simply excellent and all the rest are very good songs. If there is anything that Muse could improve ? Well, may be the lyrics, but this is a negative point for the most so called "Progressive" bands.This was one of the reasons of Punk revolution.

HL

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Send comments to Happy Loss (BETA) | Report this review (#57540)
Posted Wednesday, November 23, 2005 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
3 stars Muse's second album was my first contact with the band but I had never really pushed investigations further because they had sounded a little too derivative of Radiohead and a tougher R.E.M. with a twist of RHCPeppers rythms. But the permanent debate of the Muse lobby in our forum did intrigue me enough to re- investigate the band and by a twist of fate, I went to rent from the library two of their albums the day before they got included in the Archives.

Some very pleasant tracks if you enjoy strong, intelligent and moderately creative high-energy alternative rock such as New Born, Space Dementia, Citizen Erased, but they tend to be relatively noisy and repetitive although almost every track has some merits but none are flawless either. Micro Cuts is actually vocally impressive, Bellamy having a real good voice that unfortunately sounds too much like Thom Yorke for his own good. But I must say by listening to this album, I have a little trouble still to find what the big deal is made of MUSE by some progheads: Sure the musicianship is apt than the playing is impressive but so is the RHCP, and not a tenth of the hype is made on the forum about that band. By the end of this album, you feel actually relieved that the silence returns as the painful threshold was coming a little too close for comfort. If I want HI-NRG RNR, I'll get Sex Blood Sugar Magick and get a load of adrenaline that Muse is incapable of delivering to me, although I realize that this is not the goal of Muse. There are too many delicate moments (Screenager a.o.) to actually compare them further, but listening to the whole album in one session is proving too much for me - too much bombardment of the same stuff. I believe Muse would gain a lot from an extra player such as a violin/cello player to widen if not their musical scope, at least their sound spectrum.

A pleasant but hardly groundbreaking album from a higher than average alternative rock band, but nothing really worthy of inclusion on our beloved archives but a bloody good RNR album nevertheless!! Enough to warrant a third star on the PA rating system even if not prog! But simply not enough to join my living room shelves in a more permanent fashion!

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#58739)
Posted Thursday, December 01, 2005 | Review Permalink
rojo7@frisurf
5 stars It was bound to happen sooner or later, that this masterpiece from MUSE also would enter prog archives. Ok, it's not prog. So what, it doesn't matter. Anyone that's interested in good music with some quality in it knows that this is a true masterpiece. This album contains an absolute minimum of weakness in itself. M. Bellamy makes music like few others can match and the fact that he writes in minor makes it also very special. He is also using his voice like few others in the business without sounding false. Fans of RADIOHEAD will find a much greater band in MUSE. Others will not regret checking them out. You might very well be positively surprised. I think this is a "must buy" album for all of you that takes music seriously.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#58804)
Posted Thursday, December 01, 2005 | Review Permalink
mmfloyd@gmail
4 stars In my opinion, this is the most progressive album to date by this inglish power trio. 'Space Dementia' and 'Citizen Erased' combined space rock, smooth passages and a lot of distortion. These are the great epics of the album. There are heavy Mellotrons in the style of early KING CRIMSON and a thousand Hammonds in the closer track 'Megalomania' and spacey pianos in the intros of 'New Born' and the excellent 'Bliss'. Bellamy´s voice is almost operistic in 'Micro Cuts' and it´s a nice display of his talent as vocalist. So potent and versatile. Others tracks like 'Hyper Music' and 'Plug in Baby' have wonderful choruses and it won´t let you stop singing all day long. A highly reccomended album by a wonderful band. "Origin of Symmetry" is a gem and one of the best recordings of the decade. Very in the style of his predecessor "Showbiz" but more experimental. Excellent addition!!

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#60566)
Posted Saturday, December 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Just wanted to point out that "Feeling Good" is not Bellamy's song at all. It's a cover of a song by Nina Simone. This fact, however, doesn't in any way undermine this album and the inclusion of a Jazz-like song actually broadens the already broad style of "Origin of Symmetry". And Matt uses a megaphone when performing this song live - what more do you want?

Definitely their best album (although not their most prog - listen to Absolution if you want Muse prog)!

Gets 4 stars simply because nothing is perfect and since this is a prog site, Origin of Symmetry doesn't really blend in as much as Absolution does. Rather, it's a masterpiece of music on its own, without any styles applied. Definitely recommended to everyone!

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Send comments to Zodiak (BETA) | Report this review (#64947)
Posted Monday, January 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Though it is debatably much less progressive in nature than their latest album, Absolution, Origin of Symmetry is in my opinion Muse's strongest work yet. From the incredibly dynamic, agressive opener, New Born, to the incredibly contrasting hammer-horror finisher, Megolomania, the album is both ambitious in construction and varied in scope - showing the band's appreciation for a wide array of styles, from classical (or certainly neo- classical) to metal. Matt Bellamy asserts his ability to play guitar and piano proficiently, whilst also displaying what is a sometimes-bordering-on-ridiculous vocal range. Admittedly there are some weaker moments (I find the vocals on 'Micro Cuts' slightly annoying since the words are undecipherable) but each song has merit in it's own right and it is a very strong album in it's own right.

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Send comments to profskett (BETA) | Report this review (#78253)
Posted Monday, May 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Though finding Absolution a brilliant effort, that album didn't stay very long in my cd player. So I gave a try to OOS without much enthusiasm. I was wrong. I loved Origin from the first listen, mainly because of Bliss, a mini prog-pop jewel that has become one of my favourite songs of 2006. The rest of the album lives up to the standard set by that song: dramatic, theatrical, intense. They have this huge emotive impact on the listener, that sometimes leave you brethless. They have a sound of theyr own, but they make me think of a grat postmodern puzzle where you can find, setting your imagination free, Queen and Radiohead, Genesis and Rush, Joy Division and... who knows what else. Great record indeed. 4 extrasolid stars.

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Send comments to giuliano (BETA) | Report this review (#79817)
Posted Tuesday, May 30, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars I remember when I first heard this album in 2001 and it is still the most listened to record in my collection. An eclectic mixture of Hendrix riffs and prog keyboards hardly scratches the surface of this record. Rachmaninov and Nirvana can be heard battling alongside swirling church organs and Spanish guitar, yet despite these enormous range of influences and styles, Muse have almost miraculously made a sound which is their own. Instead of a fractured record they have moulded these seemingly incompatible genres into a satisfying and complete whole.

Newborn opens with disarmingly quiet piano before launching into a huge behemoth of a guitar riff which thunders up the interval scale and smashes through your speakers. Suddenly a fantastic synthetic bass sears into the song and drives it to its huge anthemic chorus. Bliss arrives with prog keyboard arpeggios emerging from the depths managing to both reference the past and sound thoroughly modern with its synthetic edge. A Nirvana style chord progression then bursts over the song, somehow complementing it excellently and creating a true modern gem. Space Dementia brings Matt Bellamy's exceptional piano skills to the fore with a Rachmaninov style progression played at warp speed under vocals wailing 'I'll destroy this world for you.' Hyper Music sees the guitars crashing back with a riff Hendrix would have been delighted with. It also features one of the finest bass progressions you will ever hear. Plug In Baby is perhaps the highlight. A classical inspired distortion guitar motif drives the song towards a huge chorus. There is truly no equivalent reference point in music past or present. This is an album of two halves and Citizen Erased is the turning point. A huge distorted guitar playing jazz chords moves this incredible slow burning song towards its incredible finale, closing with Matt crooning over delicate piano: 'wash me away, clean your body of me, erase all the memories they only bring us pain.'

The second half then well and truly begins. If the first was a lesson in futuristic rock then the second descends into a pit of madness and atmospherics. Micro Cuts sees Bellamy singing in staggeringly high falsetto whilst guitars swirl menacingly before crashing into another classic heavy riff for its climax. Screenager sees Spanish/eastern acoustic guitars creating a strange sense of paranoia superbly complementing the lyrics: 'who you were was so beautiful.' Darkshines then cuts in with beautifully haunting Spanish soloing and descending deeper into Muse's dark world. Feeling Good therefore provides a welcome relief at this point raising the mood briefly, with a superb cover of Nina Simone's classic, before once again lowering us into Megalomaniac. Here church organs swirl forbiddingly with Matt singing with great range and passion: 'paradise comes at a price that I am not prepared to pay.'

This is a genuinely revolutionary rock record that manages to look both forward and back. It is a classic lesson not only in innovative rock guitar and piano, but also in masterful atmospherics and ambience. I have been searching ever since for a record to hold my attention in the same way or show the same staggeringly masterful perfection in song writing and musicianship whilst maintaining its character. I've come close a few times but I am still looking.

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Send comments to static_shadows (BETA) | Report this review (#80153)
Posted Friday, June 02, 2006 | Review Permalink
sleeper
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Origin of Symmetry is Muse's follow up album to the decent, if slightly samey, Showbiz. Right from the opening track you notice two things that have changed in the two years between Showbiz and Origin of Symmetry. The first is that the band has found a real flare for the dramatic in their music, and display it regularly in this album. The other is that they are not afraid to experiment with effects, whether it be on guitar, bass or with keyboards.

The opening track of the album, New Born, starts on a similar not to the opener of Showbiz, Sunburn, by using a solo piano track to get the ball rolling. However, the piano is used as an integral part to the song and nicely lulls you into a false sense of security before the song really rams home. Its right here that the music gets dramatic with guitars sounds that alternately crunch and soar throughout the album, but always tastefully to fit the song.

On the musicianship front I think the band really pushed their boundaries on Origin of Symmetry, with bassist Chris Wolstenholme really coming forward as a capable bassist. At times I would find that the bass would only do the bare minimum required for the song on Showbiz but here he really moves to the fore alongside Matt Bellamy. I'm beginning to find effects from his bass here that I would normally expect to here coming form a keyboard, yet he makes some of the strongest bass lines going in recent years that really grove. Bliss, Plug In Baby and Citizen Erased are perfect examples of this and show just how much he has improved when comparing to earlier tracks like Fillip and Escape.

Bellamy's guitar playing hasn't really changed here. He still takes the stage with some really spiky, tortured guitar riffs and solo's that grab your attention. However, Just like bassist Wolstenholme, Bellamy has really come forward in his musicianship but for him its on the keyboards, which take a much more prominent role in the music than before. This helps to flesh out the sound of the album, giving them new options, but also helps build up some of the atmosphere. Bellamy's singing is also top notch here. I personally believe that he is one of the best singers of the current generation, to be mentioned in the same breath as the likes of Daniel Gildenlow and Mickael Ackerfeldt. Sadly, the drumming of Dominic Howard doesn't seem to have improved as much as the playing of the other two band members, it's a little wooden and lacks real expression in all but the heaviest and softest of parts here. Still not bad though.

So what of the songs, the music, I here you say. Well, it's a bit of a mixed bag here, though on the whole an impressive collection of songs. New Born, Space Dementia, Citizen Erased, Dark Shines and Feeling Good are the songs that really show the dramatic flare that has grown in the bands music brilliantly. Bliss and Feeling Good are the two songs that prove that Bellamy has really improved drastically with the keyboard and Bliss and Citizen Erased does the same for Wolstenholme and his bass playing. A few of these songs still show overtly the bands commercial clout by being little more than powerful rock songs, though rather good ones. Plug In Baby shows this best but Hyper Music and Dark Shines show this rather well too.

Citizen Erased deserves special mention as a brilliant track, and, in my opinion, the best song that Muse have ever recorded. I just love the way it builds instrument by instrument to an early crescendo, and then slowly fades to a much slower, smother passage before building and then slowing again, a great contrast between dramatic bombast and eerie beauty. However, I'm none too keen on some of the tracks beyond here. Micro Cuts, Screenager and Megalomania all sound like the band have just started to run out of ideas and are half heartedly trying to take certain aspects from earlier songs and flesh them out. They make for nice, but not particularly grabbing or memorable music.

Origin of Symmetry is a good album. Any Prog fan looking for something different and unique could do a lot worse. I give this album 4 stars as this album contains some real gems, but doesn't have a complete track list of special songs that it could have had. Particular highlights are New Born, Bliss, and Citizen Erased, but a couple of the tracks in the second half of the album could be worth skipping after a couple of listens to the album. Pretty damn good, but no masterpiece.

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Send comments to sleeper (BETA) | Report this review (#97471)
Posted Monday, November 06, 2006 | Review Permalink
richardh
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Slightly overated album in the Muse back catologue.Yes it has loads of keyboards ..well more than Showbiz or Absolution anyway..but it lacks the rock edge of the former and the cohesiveness of the latter.The impresive thing about Absolution is the way the songs fit together while this feels to me like an aimless collection of songs.Admittedly some of them are very good..Megolamania and Space Dementia are as 'proggy' as Muse has ever got ,but the best quality Muse material for me is on Absolution and their last Black Holes and Revelations.

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Send comments to richardh (BETA) | Report this review (#98256)
Posted Saturday, November 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars It sounded like Muse didn't hang around recording their second album. Not that it's in any sense lo-fi, it just has the breathless energy of a record that was made in a frantic few weeks. The lyrics he sings are just standard angsty fluff, so they don't lose much by being submerged in theatrical vocal twists, wobbles and falsetto leaps, reaching an extreme on "Micro Cuts". The music is the clear attraction. Their ability to write exhilarating riffs and choruses, hinted on their debut "Showbiz", is confirmed here. All of the trio are quality musicians, and their intricate web of detail becomes clearer on every listen.

Bombast and pomp is as much in their spirit as headbanging techno-punk. "Space Dementia" is introduced with some piano theatricals that could easily have continued into Rachmaninov's third concerto, and finale "Megalomania" is puffed up with a church organ. The quirky accompaniment going in and out of focus makes "Screenager" an underrated highlight, while the jazz standard "Feeling Good" is given a sarcastic-sounding, toe-tapping indie reworking. It's pretty much powerful and absorbing stuff all the way through.

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Send comments to Open-Mind (BETA) | Report this review (#108150)
Posted Saturday, January 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars A classic opener for a Muse album : some sweet piano to start with, and a brilliant and wild tempo for some five minutes. This album will feature some longer songs than usual : three over six minutes which is rather long, considering Muse as a pop-rock band (which they are IMO).

There is no fainted tactics for the wonderful "Bliss" : Matthew's high pitched voice, an extremely powerful band and a superb melody. A great Muse song. At least, the type of Muse songs that I really like.

Same intro for "Space Dementia" as for "New Born", with a very nice keyboard providing almost a classical moment. This other longer number, will mix more complex intrumental parts (mostly piano, really in the foreground here) with sweet vocal ones. Another very pleasant track.

The noisy part at the end is a "smooth" transition with "Hyper Music". It is quite a hectic track, almost desarticulated. Very strong bass but this number really sound irritating and very (too) loud. Fortunately, it is the second shortest ones of the album. Also the weakest one.

But Muse is back on track with "Plug In Baby", a good pop-rock number which leads to "Citizen Erased". Very dense song, somewhat heavy at times but there is a very melodic and soft passage for about two minutes. Just to convince non-Muse addicts, that the band can also produce noiseless music. It is as melodic as "Unintended" for about half of the song. This might sound as a strange combination if you are new to the band, but it is the essence of Muse music. This is again highlighted in "Micro Cuts" pure rock followed by "Screenager" a 100% light tune.

The final part of the album is a bit weaker, I'm afraid. But still pleasant.

At times Muse music sounds almost like a rock opera. But more rock than opera. I do not consider Muse as prog, neither prog related.

Just go and attend one of their convert and you will be convinced. "Origin Of Symmetry" holds more "bearable" musical moments than their debut album. Being a long- time fan, I do not have any problem with this side of their work. This album is pretty good, combining solid rock numbers and very passionate vocals. Four stars.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#121818)
Posted Saturday, May 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars This album's strong suits are the dramatic vocals and the ever present keyboards.

"New Born" opens with keys and vocals as the band picks it up a notch after a minute with distorted guitar leading the way. Lots of energy and a good beat to this one. "Bliss" has some beautiful piano melodies with the vocals being the focus."Space Dimentia" is probably my favourite song here with piano opening the proceedings as the sound quickly builds.The drumming is out front and very well done. It ends in a bombastic and experimental way."Hyper Music" is punk influenced, as witnessed by a lot of noise. The guitar gains some attention on this one.

"Plug in Baby" is a good uptempo tune,while "Citizen Erased" is a little heavier and one of the better tunes on this record. There is a quiet section 2 minutes in. Nice. Some raw guitar melodies follow as the tranquility does come back."Micro Cuts" has Yorke-like vocals to open and the vocals steal the spotlight on this song. "Screenager" is a laid back tune with some good vocal work. "Darkshines" has some good drumming while "Feeling Good" is catchy. "Megalomania" is slow going with organ and a haunting conclusion to this album.

I would suggest starting with "Absolution" to those wanting to check out this band, but if you have that one already and liked it then definitely get this one, you won't be disappointed. For me this one is a notch down from "Absolution" but still worth getting as they are both strong releases.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#122452)
Posted Wednesday, May 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars It's proggy.

It's a masterpiece.

Unfortunately, the 5-star rating does not say "A masterpiece of proggy music". So, this gets 4 stars. However, let me say this.

This, is quite easily one of the best rock albums released since 1990. It's energetic, it's aggressive, and it's just damn cool. For prog fans, highlights include the classic opener, "New Born", that combines 80s like keyboards with some of the most face-crushingly thrashy riffs you'll hear from that side of the Atlantic. Of course, it's not really prog, but prog fans will like that song. EVERYONE likes that song. Except people without souls.

ACTUAL PROG is to be found in Space Dementia, a creepy piano POWAR BALLAD-ish song, with some truly amazing keyboard sections that will no doubt appeal to the Wakeman-Emerson audience. Even more actual prog is found in Citizen Erased, the 7:00 monster (which is kinda like a 20 minute epic in pop terms). Citizen starts with an amazing riff that I definitely heard somewhere before, before progressing(!!!) into one of the most beautiful songs on the record. Seriously, that ending? God.

And, unfortunately for prog fans, the rest's pretty much pop with prog tinges. It's brilliant pop, though. Bliss, Plug-in-Baby, HYPAR MUSIC, Dark Shines, and Feeling Good are all excellent, catchy rockers with nice keyboard parts. THe only flaw with these is that they tend to sound same-ish, if you listen to them all at once, anyway.

Which is why there's some other odd stuff on the record. The boring-as-hell Megalomania doesn't work, and the "???" Micro Cuts doesn't either. But Screenager. Screenager. It's a song about cutting, as in the long-standing tradition of Linkin Park, and Limp Bizkit, and who freaking cares. Somehow, this is a good song, and the best on the album. The falsetto delivery (if you don't like falsetto, this album probably isn't for you) of the chorus is simply chilling, and the overall FEEL of the song is brilliantly creepy.

So, in conclusion, don't expect a Foxtrot, or a CTTE when you buy this. Expect something along the lines of In Absentia, but without the slow numbers. It's not full-blown prog, but fans of energetic prog, like PT and such, will love this.

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Send comments to billbuckner (BETA) | Report this review (#127520)
Posted Wednesday, July 04, 2007 | Review Permalink
The Pessimist
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars this is a great album. the best muse album in fact, but yet they still fail to touch the definition of "masterpiece". every song on this album is good, monotonous but beautiful still, soaring vocals, Radiohead influenced moments, great guitar work, great drumming, filling basslines, but lets face it, hasn't all this been done before?

the highlights of the album for me are 'hyper music', 'plug in baby', 'new born', 'feeling good' and 'bliss'. the others don't stand out as much as they lack the catchy parts of the above, but there is still nothing nothing wrong with each song.

i'm giving this album a noble 4/5, as it has good musicianship, a good constant quality and some brilliant prog rock moments, however it lacks the variety for me to call it a masterpiece. Very listenable on the other hand and worth the buy.

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Send comments to The Pessimist (BETA) | Report this review (#140883)
Posted Friday, September 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
russellk
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars MUSE find their voice.

MUSE are the true gunslingers of rock, the aggressive and outrageous inheritors of the front-foot attitude last demonstrated by QUEEN. Here they offer a promise of things to come by packaging five brilliant, proggy songs with half a dozen album fillers. Their voive is almost entirely MATTHEW BELLAMY's, with his THOM YORKE-like vocal delivery and from-the-hip DUANE EDDY twang and roar. This is not the crushing low power chord riffage of an OPETH or MESHUGGAH, but rather a slightly more trebly, distorted chunter, effective nonetheless.

There are some outstanding songs here. 'New Born', 'Bliss', 'Space Dementia', 'Plug In Baby' and 'Citizen Erased' are well worth a listen. The other tracks seem to me to be a level below: still worthy, but not compelling. The five aforementioned songs swagger self-confidently through your brain, sophisticated rock (not pop, there is a mid-way point between prog and pop) with a progressive colour provided by the keyboards and the complex riffs. Listen to the album's opening low-slung monster riff: all pace and verve, reaching out a greasy hand and yanking you into the record.

This is not an album in the prog rock sense, where effort goes into giving the songs cohesiveness. It is merely a collection of songs, not all of them memorable. But it is a good album, worth the investment. I can imagine 'Origin of Symmertry' might perturb the prog purist, who abhors any whiff of commerciality, but for those willing to listen to the music it will entertain and, on occasion, enthrall.

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Send comments to russellk (BETA) | Report this review (#142341)
Posted Saturday, October 06, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Two years after Muse's Showbiz we are presented with their new album Origin of Symmetry Would this album live up to expectations? after Muse showed a promising musical career, OOS truly remarks as progressive album.

Let's begin with the first look at the album: the art. It is simply remarkable, very conceptual by all means. When I first looked at it I thought it was mars with a whole bunch of forks tipping....there is more than meets the eye. I leave it up to the listener to figure out the concept behind the art...it's very cool once you find out what it means.

Anyways, nice art, there's a good start, gets you pumped for the album!

The Album starts with an incredible Piano/Guitar change progressive masterpiece by Bellamy and Co. Newborn proves to be a change from the previous muse sound, it is more progressive, more technical and changed in structure, it simply sounds AMAZING. Matthew seems more mature in his vocals and his musical skills shine in numerous ways.

This said, the album is followed by a series of highlights. Bliss Proves to be that arpeggio masterpiece that Bellamy foreshadowed in Showbiz...truly progressive, from the piano synths to the bass line, it is a mind-blowing experience.

In Space Dementia Matt changes things a bit to show-off his piano composition skills, to any piano fan out there, listen to this track...a good work by Bellamy!

Each song of the album is a masterpiece of its own, it took Muse two years to do this? Woah, not a long time but they made such an improvement by all means from their debut. Citizen Erased Oh man oh man! Progressive/conceptual masterpiece, a 7 minute song revealing Muse's tendencies to go prog! Darkshines the most experimental song by Muse that reflects future tunes like City of Delusion and Hoodoo by one, they're in the same key.

Fundamental album for Muse's future work, a true masterpiece by all means, and an underrated album in the music world. Simply put, your next step to Muse is Origin of symmetry!

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Send comments to ichigo14 (BETA) | Report this review (#160575)
Posted Saturday, February 02, 2008 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars 'Origin Of Symmetry' - Muse (7.5/10)

Muse's first album 'Showbiz' was a bit dissapointing for me, and seeing as I listened to the debut after listening to two fantastic records by the band ('Black Holes And Revelations' and 'Absolution') I found myself in a bit of a rut with the band. The debut had very little going for it, and wasn't very distinguishable from the loads of alternative rock getting spewed out of the UK.

But enough about 'Showbiz.'

After having lost my faith with the band for a little while, I decided to pick up the one album of theirs that I had missing 'Origin Of Symmetry.' I had heard some very good things about the album; Q Magazine even rated it as the 76th Greatest Album of All Time. Naturally, I was intrigued and wanted to see what the buzz was about.

After having given 'Origin Of Symmetry' a fair amount of listening time and consideration, I would have to say that it stands as being the band's second most enjoyable album, after 'Black Holes And Revelations.' Despite not being as amazing as the aforementioned winner was to me, this feels like the quintessential Muse album nontheless. There is everything here that the band is known for - ethereal melodies, soaring melodies, and a bombastic sense of 'epic' that makes the band's sound both memorable and powerful.

This album also has the band's best song (in my opinion) 'Citizen Erased.' While it never really hit me at first (the main riff sounded very noisy and unnecessary initially) I realized how perfect of a composition it was. Being a mini-suite of sorts, it covers a wide range of emotions, and is sure to appeal to prog fans provided they give it the time of day.

All in all, 'Origin Of Symmetry' is a good album for someone to start out their experience with Muse. Despite being flawed in a few areas (for example, 'Hyper Music' is frankly hyper-irritating) but there is some fantastic material here, that deserves to be explored. Four stars.

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#210133)
Posted Saturday, April 04, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Muse, a very popular alternative rock band is also commonly known as a progressive rock band among the media. Hearing their pop singles, a listener would not hear any prog elements at all in their music. However, their albums do contain a respectable dash of progressive tendencies and creativity, and works like Origin of Symmetry are good albums in their own right.

Of course, Muse is first and foremost an alternative rock band, there is no other way around it. Listeners in Britain are most likely all to familiar with the energetic guitar melody and the soaring chorus of "Plug In Baby", which of course besides the noise in between it and the previous track has nothing progressive in it. Other tracks are mostly straightforward, all the tracks are in standard songwriting format, and there is really no virtuoistic playing in the band's music save for perhaps some extremely difficult-to-reach notes sung by Matthew Bellamy.

That being said, there is certainly a reason why they are labeled progressive. Keyboard arpeggios and ostinatos like in the second song "Bliss" are commonplace in their music, and the synths are mixed towards the forefront. The riff in "Hyper Music", after a fair amount of unusual noise and strange feedback, opens with a somewhat unconventional and dissonant riff before leading into a midtempo alt rock song. There are even some odd and shifting times like in the song "Micro Cuts", which also contain some of the most difficult falsetto singing in the album.

The album suffers a bit though in terms of construction. The opener, "New Born" builds dynamically into some of the big bombastic sounds for which Muse is known, leading into the similarly fast-paced "Bliss", and then into the haunting and energetic "Space Dementia". The first half overloads the listener with as much over-the-top wall of sounds that alt rock can dish out, and then the second half boasts some of the least inspired slower tempo songs that really do little emotionally. As an album, it seems a bit thrown together and uneven.

All in all though, Muse put out a good effort on Origin of Symmetry and showed some great writing in a genre where creativity or progressiveness isn't necessarily praised. The group clearly has a good understanding of music and has the potential to write interesting stuff. While they will probably stay in the mainstream alt circles they still have something to show for their competent musicianship.

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Send comments to topofsm (BETA) | Report this review (#231602)
Posted Friday, August 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Muse is newly born!

Origin of Symmetry is the breakthrough album of Muse as we know them, and damn right did it break through, the amount of ways I can describe of how this album is perfect aren't countable on two hands! The mixing is just like how it should be, and the band sounds like they have their life plan all ready to go, giving this album its secure and confident sound.

For our punchy grand piano sound we have New Born, for our synthesizers we have Bliss, for our complicatedness we have Space Dementia, for our heavy guitar riffs Hyper Music, for our spicy guitar licks Plug in Baby, and so on and so forth. Matt Bellamy's piano solos are all around the ebonies and ivories, Dom Howard's hi-hat rhythms are 'roudn your sound system and Chris Wolstenhome's sound is just IN-YOUR-FACE-BASS!

This album is considered by many to be Muse's greatest album, and by some as their worst, but each to his own opinion, so this album can be amazing in the eyes of one person, and the worst piece of music in the eyes of another nonetheless, but in my opinion it's just plain awesome.

This album is a guitar heavy album, with tracks like Plug in Baby, Hyper Music, New Born, and CItizen Erased, but also features grandiose piano solos and parts on songs like New Born, Space Dementia, and Feeling Good. I have to say the producer for this album did a fantastic job that could not have been done better, especially in this case.

New Born starts with a piano line, similar to songs on previous Muse EPs and albums, then turns into a guitar-oriented distortion riff which starts to sounds like Muse, as we like and know them. The song features heavy use of speedy guitar strums and distorted bass lines, so to proggers coming from that sort of music, give this song a listen before (or if) you get the album.

Bliss is a keyboard song, mostly synthesizer-heavy though. It's a more poppy song but it's as great as pop can get and the bands amazing playing on this track can make up for anything. The track can fit into the genre of Electro-pop-prog, but in the end, it's just prog related, right?

Space Dementia, roughly translating into Moonmadness (Camel anyone?), is again a more keyboard influenced track, but its complicated, euphoric feel along with its creepy lyrics gives it an odd sense.

Hyper Music is more of a song for the progressive metal fans, featuring a heavy riff, weird guitar sounds, and a metal-like song structure all together. Bellamy's voice sounds so melodramatic on this track, so I thought it would be mentioned to you Peter Hammill/VdGG/Long Hello fans.

Plug in Baby is a Muse classic and still remains one of the most famous Muse songs up to date, with its signature guitar riff and sound.

Most of the songs later on the album are lesser known Muse album, and also worse, but still great, and deserve an ode, so here's an ode to Screenager, Micro Cuts, Darkshines, the FANTASTIC Feeling Good, and Megalomania.

5/5, because this album rocks, and Muse should be treated accordingly!

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Send comments to The Runaway (BETA) | Report this review (#238577)
Posted Friday, September 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Wonderful...Wonderful....

''Origin of Symmetry'' is the 2nd release of the band. After a promising debut, Muse come back with a wonderful album.

Matt's Bellamy voice is incredible, out-spaced to be true. This guy manages to connect Thom's Yorke (Radiohead) voice and develop it with his own character. The only singer, in my opinion, that is so close to him. His guitar playing and ideas are marvelous, too. They consist in psychedelic sounds and parts that, pratically, give this band its unique character. You can notice immediately all these strange and psychedelic effects that are wisely put together. Matt's keys are in the same planet as his guitar. Extremely well arranged and atmosheric. So good work here. Chris' bass performing and Dominic's drum playing are also the essential elements to this beautiful creature. They are such a great rhythm duo, but they also have clever and sophisticated ideas to present. Everything is perfect here.

The album's production is so perfect and clear, something that, in my opinion, is very difficult, when you have to arrange so many instruments' parts, effects and vocals. Perfect work here. ''Origin of Symmetry'' shows that the band is now mature and well proficient. Muse are about to become the connection of the Psychedelic Rock sound of the 00's, the Atmosphere, the Melody and the Progressive paths, something that render them music masters.

Highly reccomended band and extremely highly reccomended album! 4 stars really...

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Send comments to FatalV (BETA) | Report this review (#241829)
Posted Monday, September 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Muse have always been a kind of safety net for me. The only prog band that have been able to achieve as much sucess as a pop band in todays modern musical culture. To be honest, I wasn't the biggest fan of them when this album was released, For some reason they scared me a bit, expecially Matt Belamy's hair in the video for Bliss. I was a bit scared of them, they seemed to be from another planet. But I was brave enough to listen to Plug In Baby, there breakthrough single really.

This album was very experimental for Muse. They were starting to flirt with electronics and other keyboard instruments like pianos, mellotrons and organs. A lot of drone and noise was used as well, which gave the album a very rustic appeal.

Although this album isnt my favourite of theirs, I really respect what they were trying to achieve...finding their sound. They wouldnt have completed this quest until their next album was released, but this albumwas a great attempt. I didnt really like this album on my first listen, but it has grown on me.

1. New Born - This is a great opener for an album. I love the bassline flowing through the song. I can see why they get criticised for Matt sounding a bit like Jeff Buckley, but at least he can pull it off.

2. Bliss - God Muse love their arrpeggios, and they work really well, they give the song a new life. This is a really hauntingly beautiful song.

3. Space Dementia - I love the broken chord passages, it really gives the song a kick. There is alot of Space Rock influences in this song and another criticism that is quite common is another relation to another singer...Thom Yorke.

4. Hyper Music - A really kick ass song with an amazing disjunct riff. Reminds me of Led Zeppelin.

5. Plug In Baby - Their breakthrough into popular music really. An amazin classicaly inspired main riff and an amazing vocal performance from Matt.

6. Citizen Erased - The first riff of this song is another one that will kick you in the face. It's very groove orientated and reminds me of Clucth. An amazing break down with some spacy feelings. This song reminds me of Paranoid Android. Long, epic and weird.

7. Micro Cuts - This is a normal appearance on a Muse album. For those that wouldn't be aware of Arias, especially Italian Arias, then this is Muse' attempt. There is usually one of these on every Muse album. It is a low fi piece of music where Matt is able to show of his amazing vocal skills. I liked the idea of singing in falsetto. It was pulled of really well because Matt has an amazing vocal range.

8. Screenager - Everytime I see this title, it reminds me of Therapy?. Yes a very avante garde song which reminds me of Sleepytime Gorilla Musuem.

9. Darkshines - Not the best song on the album. Probabbly the weakest, more of a filler.

10. Feeling Good - One of the best covers in my opinion. It is the perfect example of how a cover can be arranged to meet the bands needs. The original Jazz elements are also kept in tact.

11. Megalomania - This is a very eerie song that reminds me of something from The Wall. A great ending.

CONCLUSION: Although not my favourtie Muse album, still a great album. Buy it f you already have all of Muse's albums, or if you like a little something different.

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Send comments to arcane-beautiful (BETA) | Report this review (#258360)
Posted Tuesday, December 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is the album where Muse really prove themselves as a unique and rocking band. Certainly all Radiohead comparisons should stop here. Origin of Symmetry is a massive step up from their debut, moving from more typical angsty alt rock to their own brand of rock, with guitar and bass driven riffs and a solid dose of epicness.

New Born and Plug in Baby are typical of the Origin sound, with big riffs, bass driven verses and massive choruses. Bliss shows sonething new for the band, and something that stays- synthesizers. Space Dementia is a very impressive show of Bellamy's piano skill (due to his newfound love of Rachmaninoff- the verse even quotes Rach II!) and the explosive coda is something special. Hyper Music is crazy, angry riffing, and Micro Cuts features Bellamy's screaming falsetto, with a heavy and harsh chorus, and the greatest riff outro. Citizen Erased is often said to be the best Muse song ever, and it's also one of their most progressive. Howard's fantastic drumbeat leads to a fantastic riff (again), big chorus, soft but up-tempo interlude and Orwellian lyrics. But what makes this song is the guitar solo, and moving slowdown at the end to a piano coda. Screenager is an emotive acoustic song with tribal drums and rolling synthesizers, Feeling Good is a simple cover of the Nina Simone classic with Wolstenholme's big fuzz bass, Dark Shines is an angsty tune with a Spanish feel and a fake trumpet solo (on guitar, via MIDI) and Megalomania is a massively epic song on church organ.

Matt's lyrics also improve here- rather than teen problems, they include semi-cryptic warnings about technology and religion. Sonething that's also bugged me about this album is the muddy sound, and how much better the tracks are live. But that's always the case with Muse live.

This is really an album you must listen to. Citizen Erased, Space Dementia and maybe Megalomania are the more prog- influenced numbers.

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Send comments to Kazza3 (BETA) | Report this review (#269972)
Posted Sunday, March 07, 2010 | Review Permalink
Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
3 stars Just like most teenagers I had to partially rely on mainstream media to get my own music exploration started. Since I'm not accustom to rejecting any particular genre or artist just on the general ideology of my surroundings, when time permits, I give any new artist what I consider to be a fair chance. It was only after a few years of listening to local radio and music TV stations that I came to an understanding that I had much more to gain by going online and meeting like-minded people to find the music that would fulfill me. But there were a few exceptions to my failure to gather interesting music from the mainstream and Muse was definitely one of them.

My first encountered with the band was through their video for Bliss which was probably the second most creative use of the music video format that I've seen since Tool! It did create enough impression on me at the time but somehow I just never bothered to pick up any of their albums. Still it didn't stop my younger brother from investing his money into their albums which is quite surprising since we usually have polar opposite tastes related to music. Since we, at that time, lived in the same household it was unavoidable to hear bits and pieces of Origin Of Symmetry and all of the band's follow up releases over the period of the next few years. Eventually I even copied a few of their albums to my MP3 player and gave them a proper listen.

To tell you the truth I felt originally disappointed by this particular release because the bits and pieces that I've heard previously gave a much more interesting representation of the band. It was as if I already heard all of the best moments and what was left might sometimes be great but for most part consisted of non-essential material. It's as if the band packed the first 3/5 of the album with their best material while leaving the remainder of the album pretty hollow. I do enjoy all of the five singles (i.e. New Born, Bliss, Hyper Music, Plug In Baby and Feeling Good) plus there are two highly enjoyable lengthy pieces called Citizen Erased and Space Dementia that are well worth checking out. If only the band didn't insist on making a 50+ minute album then this would have easily become a much better record.

Origin Of Symmetry was a breakthrough album for Muse and even though some of their later albums made them even more popular over the years it still holds up pretty well in their discography. Still I don't consider it more than a good, but non-essential release due to all the filler.

***** star songs: New Born (6:03) Bliss (4:12)

**** star songs: Space Dementia (6:20) Hyper Music (3:21) Plug In Baby (3:39) Citizen Erased (7:19) Feeling Good (3:19) Megalomania (4:38)

*** star songs: Micro Cuts (3:38) Screenager (4:20) Dark Shines (4:47)

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Send comments to Rune2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#281948)
Posted Friday, May 14, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars I'm continuing with my efforts to try to review Muse's entire studio discography in order. From Showbiz to Origin of Symmetry, Muse really began to coalesce into the band we know them as today. The most of the elements were there on Showbiz, but the chemical reaction hadn't taken place yet. The aptly name lead track New Born sounds similar to Showbiz, but rocks much harder than anything there. It sets the stage for a more, though not wholly, exploratory and entertaining album.

Origin of Symmetry is also where Muse began to take a more progressive route musically. I do agree with the assessment of the PA music ober-clerks and their opting to place it them in the Prog Related section rather than the mostly likely alternative of Crossover Prog. They are however one of the most adventurous groups of music makers today and probably the only one in the mainstream.

Why not all the way prog? Because, I get the sense that Muse have set boundaries for themselves that they have to date not quite been able to break free from. From Showbiz right on to Resistance there is continuity to their sound and aesthetic. A lot of people I know speak very highly of Muse, but I think they could really do themselves a favour by breaking out of this moody brooding behaviour his surfaces time and again.

I suppose I can't really argue though, they make a fine living making the music that they do, it just means they won't become my favourite band at this pace. Enough about that, on to the music! New Born as I mentioned before blasts off in a way which immediately breaks away from the preceding album. It has a calmer introduction which gives way into a pounding hard rock riff. It's head bangers paradise. I've never really been able to get my head all the way around Mathew Bellamy's singing style. It can be very good at times, but I find I tire of it quickly. The best part of the track is certainly instrumental rather than the vocals.

Following New Born is Bliss. Bliss starts with a by now trademarked piano introduction. The main portion of the song is an excellent mix of hard rock essentials with electronic music. Bliss ranks as one of my favourite Muse tracks and the best song on the album. Bliss' driving beat makes you feel like you are traveling at high speeds with some spacey interludes along the way.

After the head rush of Bliss and New Born comes Space Dementia. It's a tortured and lamented piece. It has a rapidly repeating piano scales underlying so heavy a fuzzy guitars. Especially when compared to the preceding tracks it feels like a bit of a relic from Showbiz. It more technically interesting and doesn't sound anywhere near as forced as anything from Showbiz though. It also does err more to the progressive than the first two tracks as well. I'd say it is roughly definitive Muse's general sound.

Hyper Music is another up tempo rocker set in a minor key. The guitar effect does make it sound brighter though. The main riff, smashing riff and pounding bass line reminds me a bit of Audioslave. From a vocal perspective they aren't quite in the same league though. Bellamy is screaming for most of the track where Cornell would likely be flexing his considerable vocal abilities. It's short and fairly standard but still good.

Plug in Baby is different than a lot of the other tracks on the album, because I get the sense the Bellamy is actually trying to sing for once and he's actually doing a half decent job of it at times. It rocks pretty hard, but it doesn't really stick its head out of the crowed on that front. Another not exceptional, but solid track which I'm happy to report doesn't actually sound like it's listened to by people who cut themselves!

Citizen Erased is the longest track on the album. It starts off heavily distorted guitar work and industrial strength synthesizers. A little more Audioslave is tucked in there too. The opening verse is fairly weak but Bellamy really shines when he hits his high falsetto. The fuzz melts into a softer jazzier portion which has him sounding interchangeably strong and weak. Loud and fast and soft and slow alternate again. Its highest point comes during the guitar solo in the second loud portion. The second soft portion sounds like something ELO might have done. It is piece which progresses pretty well but it does suffer from some inconsistencies.

Remember when I said I was happy to hear a song that didn't sound like it was written for the hardcore self loathing crowed. Well there's a song of them too on this album and it's Micro Cuts. It feels like a straight flashback to the worst parts of Showbiz. The vocals are blurry and distant. The song quite deliberately sounds like someone is being tortured. Sadly, I am being tortured too.

Screenager is a short track not a phenomenal one, but a well played one. It has some interesting percussion work. I like it mostly because it doesn't explode into another wall of fuzz like most of album is want to do. Dark Shines on the other hand is another pretty average Muse piece. Lots of angst and emotion and yes, walls of fuzz. It makes an all too brief foray into Doors territory, but it could have easily been dropped from the album and I don't think anyone would miss it.

Feeling Good fits into another Muse archetype which I brought up on Showbiz: James Bond Song Auditions. To me it sounds like its primary influence was probably Sheryl Crow's Tomorrow Never Dies. If by influence I of course mean straight rip off. Sorry boys, Sheryl did it better. Kept trying, maybe you'll pass the audition on the next album.

The last track on the album is Megalomania. It starts its life another film send up. Rather than James Bond, this time it's spaghetti westerns. It quickly looses interest and explodes, but this time it isn't the same old wall of fuzz. It's a much more welcome full pipe organ. Megalomania fits, even Rick Wakeman left it a few more albums before he went to the cathedral. I'm being harsh though. It's typical Muse, but the organ makes for a nice change of pace.

To me, Muse is best in small doses or when favourite tracks are cherry picked from the pack. By the point of Origin of Symmetry they still aren't quite capable of putting together a consistently excellent album. It is the beginning however of the tall poppies which I mentioned on my review of Showbiz. If they could have kept up on the pace they set on New Born and Bliss this album would certainly have warranted a four and maybe even a five. My feeling though places Origin of Symmetry squarely in three territory, good, but not essential.

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Send comments to R-A-N-M-A (BETA) | Report this review (#288131)
Posted Friday, June 25, 2010 | Review Permalink
aapatsos
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams
3 stars Muse were never my "cup of tea" on listening several samples from radio stations and due to the popularity they enjoy in the media. I have always considered them another copy band of Radiohead and thus preferred to stay within reasonable distance from their style...

Origin of Symmetry is apparently the second full album by the band and features works from different artists and a rather simple but eye-catching album cover. Musically, what Muse deliver is basically alternative rock filtered through a number of influences, ranging from punk and indie to pop, heavy prog and alternative metal. Matthew Bellamy is the single composer, vocalist, guitarist and keyboardist of the band. His vocal style definitely resembles to Thom Yorke of Radiohead, but Bellamy has taken this a step forward and tried to develop his own characteristic sound. Personally, I feel the vocals are unfortunately the least impressive aspect of this album, sounding extremely pretentious at times and undermining the spirited instrumentation.

Bellamy's great contribution to the album is the smart use of keyboards (e.g. Bliss and Space Dementia) and the amount of catchy alternative riffs that blend nicely with Wolstenholme's solid and punchy bass performance. For an alternative rock three-piece, the result is surprisingly complex. The first half of the album is full of heavy riffs and powerful compositions like the opening track, Hypper Music and Plug in Baby, although all of them have the "required" commercial touch. The second half is generally mellower with some interesting continental-Europe sounds (Screenager) coupled with an entertaining cover of Feeling Good. The impressive closing riff of Micro Cuts reminds of Rage Against the Machine but the track is spoiled by the annoying "industrialised" vocals.

Origin of Symmetry should appeal to prog fans who have an ear for alternative rock. Although not a landmark album, this release exhibits excellent musicianship - to my surprise. The way of singing (and not the vocal capabilities themselves) puts me off from enjoying it to the full and prevents me from assigning a 4-star rating.

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Send comments to aapatsos (BETA) | Report this review (#340006)
Posted Wednesday, December 01, 2010 | Review Permalink
AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
4 stars Muse are an amazing power trio of creative visionaries; Bellamy, Wolstenholme, and Howard. Their music has really captured a generation and features proggish elements and downright heavy rock with unusual sigs and very original vocal styles. Bellamy doesn't hide his intakes of breath making it part of the emotion as heard on the thumping rhythmic 'New Born'. His falsetto is a really powerful component of the music. The guitar style is indie style or alternative, very grungy and raw and the lead breaks are usually repetitive figures that are almost neo classical. The bass and drums are an incredible rhythmic device with constant pulsations.

This album is very melodic and injects a decent amount of prog sigs and some intriguing passages of creativity. I have the live DVD and most of these songs appear on it so I am used to hearing these in a live format, seeing the band in full flight belt out these hard driving tracks with so much passion, but they are equally as good in the studio. 'Bliss' and 'Space Dementia' are two of my favourites with incredible musicianship and astonishing vocals. 'Plug in Baby' is a catchy thing with a sing along chorus and strange lyrics. I like the scratchy guitar on this and lead break. 'Screenager' rocks along nicely and always captures me and the aweseme version of 'Feeling Good' is mesmirising. It ends with a great showstopper in 'Megalomania'.

I like the album artwork too with iconic field of tuning forks and the simplistic art continues in the booklet. This album along with Absolution are excellent albums. I liked Black Holes also but the enigma of the band exists in their earlier material without a doubt. At the time of release this album really inspired many to be drawn to this new form of music. I must have played this album dozens of times in the car, at home, and even at work while typing up documents, and it did turn out to be an inspiring er... Muse.

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#625942)
Posted Saturday, February 04, 2012 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Muse's second album showcases the brilliant burst of creative development between the recording of Showbiz and this one, and in particular finds the band taking on their signature sound - an original and incredibly bombastic reimagining of what the indie rock end of crossover prog could sound like.

Matt Bellamy firmly establishes himself as the creative leader of the group, and with his falsetto vocals, furious guitar playing, surprisingly versatile keyboard work (which incorporates a Keith Emerson touch here and there) and penchant for conspiracy theories, he's certainly an off-the- wall character. No surprise, then that "off the wall" describes the music here - loud, brash, unafraid to sneak a classical music reference in here and there, and with an absolute devotion to their towering, monumental, explosive musical vision.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#642888)
Posted Tuesday, February 28, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars My favorite of the Muse albums. Best tracks are "Bliss", "New Born", "HYper Music", "Plug in Baby" and "Citizen Erased". Unfortunately the end of the album bogs down with lesser tracks keeping this from being a 5 star album. But an easy 4 stars is deserved. This is already 12 years old! But it is still fresh and a frequent resident on my Ipod. I keep hearing how if you like Muse you should like Radiohead as well, but I don't get it. Radiohead has never done anything for me for reasons I am not certain of. Oh well..I still got my Muse

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Send comments to mohaveman (BETA) | Report this review (#733596)
Posted Friday, April 20, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars 9/10

A bolder step, revealing more of the genius of one of the greats of modern music.

If the debut Showbiz alienated some people (I'm not being included), Origin of Symmetry definitely consolidated the success of Muse. Sound more ambitious and ferocious than its predecessor, the band really starts to gain the prominence it deserves, while it is clear that its various influences - from classical music romantic (as evident in the always well used piano Bellamy ) the space rock, with very prominent pro progressive rock and alternative.

Perhaps the biggest difference between Origin of Symmetry and Showbiz is the greater presence of bassist Chris Wolstenholme. Practically in some songs is the distorted bass who is the main driver, with the guitar being conducted Bellamy pro background. With this, the lead singer of the band has a chance to stand out more on vocals and piano and string arrangements and keyboards - see just how sublime with which he uses the church organ in closer Megalomania (which appropriate title). It's my favorite track here. Tell me what he can't do!

The average of the music is higher than in Showbiz with three of them exceeding six minutes - all of which my favorite as well as Megalomania. New Born is a demonstration of the power of low Wolstenholme, especially when it explodes in about a minute and a half. Space Dementia is a legitimate range of space rock, with distorted vocals and electronic effects really cool. And Citizen Erased is a crowd favorite, one killer riff with a great driving, until in about five minutes the music suddenly calms down, leading to a great end. Other highlights include Hyper Music, the sinister Micro Cuts with their alternating bars and more a display of Bellamy's falsetto, Screenager with his percussion and Latin flavor and deliciously sexy Feeling Good, a song that my girlfriend and I both enjoyed. Incidentally, I owe her my entry in the world of Muse and therefore will be dearly grateful. God, how I love her!

4.5 stars, rounded up.

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Send comments to voliveira (BETA) | Report this review (#1014303)
Posted Thursday, August 08, 2013 | Review Permalink

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