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Muse Origin of Symmetry album cover
4.01 | 472 ratings | 35 reviews | 33% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2001

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. New Born (6:03)
2. Bliss (4:12)
3. Space Dementia (6:20)
4. Hyper Music (3:21)
5. Plug In Baby (3:39)
6. Citizen Erased (7:19)
7. Micro Cuts (3:38)
8. Screenager (4:20)
9. Dark Shines (4:47)
10. Feeling Good (3:19)
11. Megalomania (4:38)

Total Time 51:36

Line-up / Musicians

- Matthew Bellamy / lead vocals, lead & rhythm guitars, keyboards, piano, Wurlitzer (10), pipe organ (St. Mary Church, tr. 11), string arrangements
- Chris Wolstenholme / bass, double bass (10), vibraphone, backing vocals
- Dominic Howard / percussion, drums

- Clare Finnimore / viola
- Jacqueline Norrie / violin
- Sara Herbert / violin
- Caroline LaVelle / cello
- Chris Brown / programming

Releases information

Artwork: William Eagar

CD Mushroom ‎- MUSH93CD (2001, UK)

2xLP Mushroom ‎- MUSH93LP (2001, UK)

Thanks to Certif1ed for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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MUSE Origin of Symmetry ratings distribution

(472 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(33%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(41%)
Good, but non-essential (19%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

MUSE Origin of Symmetry reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by 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.


"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.

Review by Sean Trane
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!

Review by sleeper
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.

Review by richardh
5 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.
Review by ZowieZiggy
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.

Review by Mellotron Storm
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.

Review by The Pessimist
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.

Review by russellk
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.

Review by Conor Fynes
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.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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)

Review by aapatsos
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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.

Review by Warthur
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.

Review by siLLy puPPy
5 stars MUSE spent most of the 90s building up their fanbase after a surprise win in battle of the bands that sent a semi-serious band into becoming one of the top British bands of the 21st century. On their debut "Showbiz," the trio of Matt Bellamy, Chris Wolstenholme and Dominic Howard took their native Britain by storm with their unique take on alternative rock meets progressive pop. While showcasing their ambitious musical adventurousness on the debut, things hadn't quite simmered down into that addictive MUSE formula that propelled them into the next level, which is exactly where their second album ORIGIN OF SYMMETRY took them. On this album, they ratcheted up their experimental practices manyfold all the while finding more cohesive ways of fermenting them into a more organic formula. The album title signified a more intellectual approach in lyrical themes as it came from the fertile conceptual mind of theoretical physicist Michio Kaku from his best selling book "Hyperspace." The real MUSE had come of age.

While the band was becoming all the rage in their homeland, there were problems getting their music across the pond due to the fact that their US record label didn't care too much for Matt Bellamy's idiosyncratic soulful styled falsetto and demanded the band re-record for better airplay reception. After the band refused so did the label and the album would not be released in the US until 2010 therefore never managed to attract a North American audience as it had in the UK. Stylistically MUSE went for broke on ORIGIN OF SYMMETRY which found drummer Dominic Howard expanding his drum kit exponentially and even tried a little balaphone and animal bone percussion on "Screenager." The closer "Megalomania" displayed the unmistakable pipe organ and a whole army of new instruments with guest musicians were employed to bring an over-the-top bombast to MUSE's insatiable pursuit for new dynamics and timbres filling every nook and cadence to the maximally allowed allotment, thus there are healthy doses of violin, viola, cello, vibraphone as well as the expected rock guitar, piano, keyboards, bass and drums. Add to this all the mixing and production teams and what you have here is a seriously professional album that on paper sounds overproduced but in reality delivers quite brilliantly.

As if they were advertising their coming of age, the appropriately titled opener "New Born" goes for the gusto although gently treads through various movements as to ratchet up the tension instead of burying the listener with their barrage of creativity. Right away it's clear that MUSE were adding New Romantic period classical music with particular emphasis on Chopin-esque keyboard melodies as the backbone for their bouncy energetic rhythmic groove that borrowed a bit from the 70s NU-ENRG disco era and added a little tango bounce to it. Matt Bellamy found his perfect stomping ground with an 80s Bono (U2) passionate vocal style that found a touch of Prince falsetto. With a healthy dose of ostinato bass grooves, sizzlin' guitar riffs that shift from hard rock to funk with wah-wah-ish solos, "New Born" is an instantly addictive hooky progressive pop track that is incessant in its ratcheting up effect and throws in a few surprises for good measure. "Bliss" follows up with the famous synthesizer bombast that harkens back to 70s ELO but the melodic underpinning continues on with the classical meets rock fusion, interesting dynamic variations and stylistic changes.

"Space Dementia" debuts the unaccompanied Chopin-esque piano chops which Bellamy cranks out with concert pianist precision, a trait that would continue to develop well onto future albums. "Hyper Music" cranks out some serious noise and distortion and starts out with a beefy Hendrix guitar riff which the band skillfully weave into the classically infused rock sound that they call their own. "Plug In Baby" follows suit at least in the noise department but becomes one of those signature passionate vocal pleas with the heavy guitar and bass backup. "Citizen Erased" unleashes the heavy alternative rock minus the fancy shmancy classical leanings with Bellamny cranking out his conspiracy laden lyrics about the powers that be keeping us all down, down, down with the rotten ass system! Yet another track that skillfully alternates heavy rock with more downtempo chilled out contemplative moments.

"Screenager" is a fairly weird track with the use of a baraphone and animal bones for percussion. Also different is a classical guitar piece that is on full space rock mode with clean echoey reverb and set to chill mode, well at least until the NU-ENRG synthesizers runs create a hyperactive backdrop adding an interesting contrast. "Dark Shines" has a bit of a spaghetti western feel in the guitar riff as it remains mellow, but as it picks up steam it creates a hard rock tango which is hardly apparent but if you follow it, it has Astor Piazzolla meets Dick Dale surf rock doing spaghetti western all over it! "Feeling Good" goes for a loungy jazzy blues feel and reminds me most of Mike Patton's style on some of his 90s projects (such as solo, Faith No More and the later Mr Bungle.) "Megalomania" takes the MUSE style established on the album and adds a seriously heavy church organ sound although it for the most parts retains that sea sailing up and down ride the waves sort of groove. They actually recorded this piece at St. Mary the Virgin's Church in Bathwick, England thus showing MUSE's restless ambitiousness to walk the extra mile to make diverse and eclectic music that both captures the listener off guard as well as instantly hook them with infectious grooves and catchy pop hooks.

ORIGIN OF SYMMETRY was a grower for me. While certain tracks toward the beginning were instantly contagious and had me hopping and bopping like doing the Crocodile Rock, some of the tracks on the second half had to sink in to win me over. Many of the ideas presented on this album would be further developed into more satisfying crescendoes on futures albums such as "Black Holes And Revelations" and "The Resistance" however that does not mean for a minute that things are not presented in a perfectly balanced way without being more evolved. In fact, the simplicity of some of the tracks here only demonstrate how skillfully intertwined the disparate seeds of inspiration are crafted together like a fine woven tapestry. While there are times such as on "Citizen Erased," Bellamny's vocal style can sound more like Tiny Tim ready to belt out "Tiptoe Through The Tulips" rather than some seriously crafted progressive pop, they never go too far into parody territory to detract the overall listening experience. While i personally favor the above mentioned albums that ARE more sophisticated, ORIGIN OF SYMMETRY has ultimately won me over with the collection of over-the-top bombast that i find irresistible. While this album would make them huge in the UK, the millennial British invasion would have to wait just a wee bit longer.

4.5 but round UP!

Review by Kempokid
5 stars 'Origin of Symmetry' sees 'Muse' applying the same sort of angsty, alt/indie rock style full of abrasive tones yet accessible melodies, but sheds a lot of the Radiohead influence along with having a much harder edge to them. Overall, this fixes a lot of the issues that I felt 'Showbiz' had, including having more varied song, a wider range of emotions (although all of them still fall under a similar category, but eh, it's a start) and just better songwriting overall. These changes make this album end up leaps and bounds above 'Showbiz', along with being extremely consistent in its brilliance all the way through.

From the opening moments of 'New Born', it's already clear that this is a far more mature effort, with much tighter interplay between the instruments, along with a much smoother progression. Then the song kicks into high gear with an awesome, scratchy riff that ups the energy of the song tenfold, before returning to the intro melody, now a great deal heavier and powerful, all before climaxing in an incredible chorus. This chorus also displays the much better sense of intensity that the songs bring, slowly building rather than working on the principle of peaks and valleys, making for a much better listening experience for such music. 'Bliss' immediately shows another side of 'Muse' through a song much more along the lines of synth-pop, just with some rock instruments thrown in, but constantly having a very spacey feel to it, overall being a great song. 'Space Dementia' is a definite higher point on the album for me, because of how intense it gets, starting off slow before erupting into pure emotional anguish, and while it does come off a bit over the top, it just works here. The album overall has this really great flow, where you're constantly looking forward to the next track, as each one is a banger in its own right, be it the funky 'Hyper Music', or the perfection of the riff in 'Plug in Baby'. The album's high point is definitely the amazing one-two punch of 'Citizen Erased' and 'Micro Cuts'. 'Citizen Erased' begins with a great, abrasive groove that develops excellently, with everything being filled with such pure intensity and power, building further with the vocals, further improving with the breathtaking chorus. The first 2 and a half minutes of the song are essentially an extended song climax, all before it briefly dies down before coming back just as powerfully as before. This is without a doubt in my mind, one of best songs 'Muse' have written, other than possibly a couple from 'Black Holes and Revelations'.

The transition into 'Micro Cuts' is also amazing, going from the slow, somber ending of 'Citizen Erased' into a faster pace is wonderful. I really like this song, can I understand any of the lyrics at all? No. Do I care? Also no. I just love how much Matt belts out his voice here, reaching extremely high notes with quite a bit of power behind them, even if it does happen to sacrifice his clarity, it just sounds so cool for me to not enjoy. While I originally found the album past this point to start being a bit lacking, after a few listens, I began looking forward to these songs just as much as earlier ones, be it the genuinely great, subtle atmosphere of 'Screenager' or 'Darkshines', with a funky intro and one of the best vocal performances on the album, with Matt sounding amazing when he screams the chorus. I also love the piano freakouts that take place right before each time the chorus comes in. The final two songs are both ballads, 'Feeling Good' being a cover that definitely adds enough of 'Muse's' flair to it to make it their own. 'Megalomania' is also a great song, and this is probably the only 'Muse' album I can think of in which I fully enjoyed the pure ballads present on it.

Overall, I must say that I enjoy every minute of this album, furthermore, almost everything the album has to offer impresses me, with amazing intensity and power. Furthermore, the songs have the perfect mix of accessibility with more complex, abrasive elements, leading to it having an extremely dramatic, yet still enjoyable, and very accessible album. Each song is incredible in its own right, bringing its own ideas, while also all having a habit of worming their way into your head and staying there for ages. This is an album that I definitely would recommend to anyone wanting some extremely dramatic indie rock, and think that it could be enjoyed by quite a lot of people.

Best songs: New Born, Space Dementia, Citizen Erased, Micro Cuts, Darkshines

Weakest songs: none

Verdict: Anyone with any sort of interest in indie rock, check this album out immediately if you haven't already, as this is absolutely amazing. For those who don't, but are open minded, I also highly recommend it. In general, I just highly recommend this masterpiece.

Review by The Rain Man
4 stars "Origin of Symmetry" is the 2nd album by UK 3-piece rock outfit Muse. Muse didn't waste any time following on from their debut album, Showbiz, which was released in 1999. Meaning a sharp 2-year turnaround between albums. But would the album build on the success of Showbiz or did that come further down the line. Well, it's obvious now. This album for me is the best thing Muse have ever done. The band clearly think so too. Although it is clear the songs have always been mainstays in their setlists. However, they did release a remixed and remastered version of this album in 2021. Which shows that maybe they weren't happy with the production on the original.

It's one of those ones that people with a keen ear will notice the differences between the original and the latest remasters. But for me I prefer to appreciate the songs as they are and would never go into such a depth to analyse the differences in production. Unless it was so bad that it made the album unlistenable. This album definitely did not fall in that category by any stretch. Not in 2001 or 2022. This album to me is a classic album. The reason for this is that Muse pushed themselves even further in every way and created something which was so good and really set themselves apart from anything out there at the time.

My favourite track off the album is "Citizen erased". This track has been my favourite Muse track for the duration and although I haven't done a top 10 songs of all-time list recently. This song has been on that list or up there constantly. It's a song of ups and downs where the riff actually feels like the chorus. It is absolutely huge. It lasts 7 minutes and 21 seconds with a wonderfully spacey outro. It was tracks like this that nudged Muse more into prog land. Although they always managed to keep in the rock category itself. I was lucky to see this song performed live on the "Drones" tour and it is just as good live if not better.

But this isn't the only 5+ minute track on the album. Opening track "New born" and third track "Space Dementia" are both 6 minutes each. "New born" is such a great opening to an album. Like on "Showbiz" where the piano driven "Sunburn" opens the album. "New born" Similarly opens with a quirky piano part. But then the magic starts to happen and if you see this part live it's great. Bellamy will get up from the piano, swing round his guitar from behind his back. And launch into a mighty fine riff. The song takes off from there and is another classic Muse track. "Space Dementia" is another one which sees Bellamy dance his magical fingers on the piano. A great track but I feel it's gone into the background over time due to Muse's now extensive back catalogue.

Another single which was released at the time was "Plugin Baby". And what can you say, but another absolute banger. More big riffs and probably the best chorus delivery on the album. But when you start looking through this album with "Bliss", "Hypermusic", "Microcuts", "Screenager", "Darkshines" and "Meglomania". There is not a bad track on here. Special mention must go out to penultimate track "Feeling good" which is a cover. I love this track as it's so upbeat and positive. It's a real mood lifter.

I should point out that a year after this release Muse released a double A side single "Dead Star/In your World". 2 fantastic songs which clearly didn't make the album but I'm so glad the released this as they are great singles which I would recommend checking out.

Overall, this is an absolute corker of an album. I thought that at the time with the album cover poster up in my room during my uni days and CD which I still have. And I still think that now. Maybe as I listen to Muse albums going forward, I'll change my mind. But for now, I think this should be an entry point for people wanting to get into Muse. This album probably turned them into an arena band at the time and set the way for stadiums later. An iconic album.

Latest members reviews

5 stars It's absolutely brilliant feeling when you figure it out that some young band like Muse keep some of prog culture in their works. Origin of Symmetry is personally my favourite Muse's album. Full of prog elements, passive-agressive atmpsphere and brilliant falsetto voice by Matthew Bellamy is full sh ... (read more)

Report this review (#1652922) | Posted by darkshine41 | Sunday, December 4, 2016 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Origin of Symmetry is Muse's heaviest and probably their weirdest album. It's also their best. A major improvement from the angsty, alt rock-based Showbiz, the band's first involvement with symphonic aspects occur here, never taking a central role but present in more than one song. The lyrics beg ... (read more)

Report this review (#1424823) | Posted by Insin | Sunday, June 7, 2015 | Review Permanlink

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 real ... (read more)

Report this review (#1014303) | Posted by voliveira | Thursday, August 8, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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 st ... (read more)

Report this review (#733596) | Posted by mohaveman | Friday, April 20, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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 a ... (read more)

Report this review (#288131) | Posted by R-A-N-M-A | Friday, June 25, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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 Be ... (read more)

Report this review (#258360) | Posted by arcane-beautiful | Tuesday, December 29, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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 c ... (read more)

Report this review (#241829) | Posted by FatalV | Monday, September 28, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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 the ... (read more)

Report this review (#238577) | Posted by The Runaway | Friday, September 11, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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 creativi ... (read more)

Report this review (#231602) | Posted by topofsm | Friday, August 14, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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 remarkabl ... (read more)

Report this review (#160575) | Posted by ichigo14 | Saturday, February 2, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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. ... (read more)

Report this review (#127520) | Posted by billbuckner | Wednesday, July 4, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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 vo ... (read more)

Report this review (#108150) | Posted by Open-Mind | Saturday, January 20, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#80153) | Posted by static_shadows | Friday, June 2, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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. T ... (read more)

Report this review (#79817) | Posted by giuliano | Tuesday, May 30, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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 bo ... (read more)

Report this review (#78253) | Posted by profskett | Monday, May 15, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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 me ... (read more)

Report this review (#64947) | Posted by Zodiak | Monday, January 16, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#60566) | Posted by | Saturday, December 17, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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 o ... (read more)

Report this review (#58804) | Posted by | Thursday, December 1, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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 bo ... (read more)

Report this review (#57540) | Posted by Happy Loss | Wednesday, November 23, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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