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ABSOLUTION

Muse

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Muse Absolution album cover
3.90 | 320 ratings | 43 reviews | 33% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 2003

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Intro (0:22)
2. Apocalypse Please (4:12)
3. Time Is Running Out (3:56)
4. Sing for Absolution (4:54)
5. Stockholm Syndrome (4:58)
6. Falling Away With You (4:40)
7. Interlude (0:37)
8. Hysteria (3:47)
9. Blackout (4:22)
10. Butterflies and Hurricanes (5:01)
11. Small Print (3:29)
12. Endlessly (3:48)
13. Thoughts of a Dying Atheist (3:11)
14. Ruled by Secrecy (4:52)

Total Time: 52:09

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Matthew Bellamy / guitars, piano, lead vocals
- Chris Wolstenholme / bass, backing vocals
- Dominic Howard / drums

Releases information

CD Mushroom 68587 (2003)
CD Taste Media Limited 8587 (2003)
CD Taste Media Limited 48733 (2004)

Thanks to Certif1ed for the addition
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MUSE Absolution ratings distribution


3.90
(320 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(33%)
33%
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(42%)
42%
Good, but non-essential (16%)
16%
Collectors/fans only (6%)
6%
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)
3%

MUSE Absolution reviews


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by horza
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars With this album Muse firmly establish themselves as major players in the music industry, and confirm what their fans knew, that they have the talent and the drive to be around for years to come. The 20 second intro leads into the piano pounding, opening of 'Apocalypse Please'. This track is amazing live and even in its studio form it has an energy and presence which makes it hard to believe that we are listening to a three- piece. Mathhew Bellamy on guitar, piano and vocals breathes life into this track and gives himself to the song totally. 'Time is Running Out' follows and is a builder, it has a Heep-like thread near the beginning (Heep fans might recognise it) but this is not to suggest they have obvious influences - their sound is uniquely their own and would be difficult to copy. 'Song for Absolution' comes next and is quite superb. It is probably the best song on the album and features heart-felt vocals and tight playing - the video accompanying this song is outstanding and you are advised to see it if you can. 'Hysteria' will probably be known to most people due to its MTV-airplay and it is another well-written powerful song. It cannot be over-emphasized that this band has a BIG sound which belies the fact that we only have three players - ELP and Rush have had similar comments in the past and Muse now join them, in more ways than one. A welcome addition to the Prog Archives. This album has many other highlights, including 'Butterflies and Hurricanes' and 'Thoughts of a Dying Atheist' and will surely feature on many prog fans playlists.

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Send comments to horza (BETA) | Report this review (#57466) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Review by Certif1ed
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars You know, there are times when I want to give an LP masterpiece status even when the context tells me it's clearly not a masterpiece of prog rock. This tends to happen when an album grips me in the right way, and I simply enjoy it with tremendous enthusiasm every time I hear it, despite its obvious imperfections.

However, I approach Muse's Absolution as if I was going to be listening to a Prog Rock album and sadly, this is not even in the running for a Masterpiece of Prog Rock award - it's proggy alright, but not proggy enough to compete with Genesis, Gentle Giant, VDGG et al.

In all fairness to Muse, while it's not a Prog Rock album, it is a complete masterpiece and a finely crafted and well thought-out concept, and I think it's just brilliant:

With Rich Costey of Philip Glass and TMV fame behind the knobs, Muse rise to a whole new level with "Absolution" - the riffs are bigger and crush more bones than ever before, the imperfections in the chord sequences are all but gone, Matt's voice sweeps Justin Hawkins away in lung-bursting, wine-glass shattering and spine-chillingly haunting style, Thom Yorke and Radiohead are all but forgotten, and the atmospherics are, er more atmospheric.

It's my habit to do a track-by-track analysis, so I won't do that this time, but simply dip in and pull out the interesting highlights...

The first of which is the introduction, and the second of which is the second track, a towering, apocalyptical colossus entitled "Apocalypse Please". "It's time we saw a miracle, come on, it's time for something Biblical". Stirring stuff indeed, and the music shifts beneath it, with huge power chords trading place with bubbling synths, beautiful quasi-classical dischords, delicate falsettos, pounding drums and crashing piano chords - if ever there was a piece written for the end of the world, this truly is it.

The next highlight is track 3. "Time is Running Out" may contain lyrics that whiff strongly of gouda, but the atmospherics in the quiet sections contrasting with the build ups to the massive choruses are textural genius and just seem to press all the right buttons. The range of guitar sounds that Bellamy uses is quite stunning - especially when you consider that this is not all studio trickery, and he does this live. What he also does live is that falsetto that makes your throat hurt in sympathy. OK, it's not a prog song, but its' gigantic anthemic splendour is surely something to admire.

Ye gods, the next highlight is "Sing For Absolution" - Muse may have produced some of the most beautiful ballads ever on their previous albums, but here they surpass themselves, with a melody of aching wistfulness, and haunting atmospherics. They also restrain themselves admirably on the first chorus, a feat which hightens the drama spectacularly. The only issue I have with it really is that it's very much in the tried and tested Muse formula, so seems somewhat familiar until it reaches the codetta, where Bellamy is at his most impassioned yet, and produces a fine tenor top C in natural as opposed to falsetto voce, with lush guitar counterpoint.

...and so it goes on. Another monster riff from hell kicks off "Stockholm Syndrome", which proceeds to grow and grow until another massive riff kicks in, redefining bombastic to it's core. This is where I run out of adjectives, and words like massive, gigantic and colossal don't seem quite enough to describe what's going on here - Muse don't play heavy metal, but the music is equally if not more intense than even some of the more intense metal bands - quite frightening in a way - and the piano arpeggios only serve to heighten the drama and power of this song. Essentially quite simple, but this is ROCK at a new level, and shows clearly why Muse are prog-related, and why Rick Wakeman himself declared Muse to be a modern Prog Rock band. The riff that finishes this piece defies all words. It's hard to imagine anything better...

With their astute sense of drama and overall album shape, Muse take it right down for "Falling Away With You", a sensitive ballad style opening, leading to the predictable but very welcome and absorbing huge chorus. The textures are experimentally arpeggiated and highlight the sense of falling away very well in a musically onomatapaeic way. There are more achingly wistful melody lines backed with unusual atmospherics, that segue straight into "Interlude", a tension-builder par excellence, and then...

It might be overplayed on just about every UK radio station, but "Hysteria" simply has the king of all riffs to its credit. I said it's hard to imagine anything better after "Stockholm Syndrome", but this is it. A fairly unremarkable song by Muse's standards is framed and underscored by this perfect creation of riffdom, a riff so awesome that even if you listen to it quietly, your ears bleed. Even the obligatory truly awful guitar solo doesn't take anything away from this riff - you keep listening because you want more - you need more - you want it now... all together, air guitars at the ready...

"Butterflies and Hurricanes" is the next highlight, the soft intro not kidding you for one second - you know that a monster is on its way and, while it can't and doesn't try to compete with "Hysteria", the build-up over a minute and a half is simply masterful, and has that unmistakable prog vibe about it. I'll say it again: How the devil do three guys manage to make so much noise? Did Matt have personal tuition from Lemmy?

The drifting, shifting harmonic progressions are pure bliss, and the string and piano layers provide full pretensions to progginess - the silence dropping into the Rachmaninovian cascades around 3:30 is simply inspired - you'd think Emerson would start looking over his shoulder eversoslightly... Bellamy keeps up the piano backing through the next verse - although it's a bit far down in the mix for my liking.

"The Small Print" is another adrenaline-fuelled rocker with yet another riff that would make Godzilla feel like an ant about to be crushed. Bellamy gets enthusiastic with the textures - this is, after all, what he is best at, and why there are so few guitar solos on Muse's output; Who needs them when the textural development is this good? With obvious inspiration from Johnny Greenwood, Bellamy really has an authoritative style combining rhythm and texture with wonderful angular chords.

"Endlessly" suggests that Muse have been listening to the later Radiohead output, as the intro reminds me a little of the textures that the latter explore on "Kid A", and the textural build-up is gentle and flows well enough, but stands out as a marked contrast from the other material presented here. The change in percussion texture around 1:30 provides an amazing sense of space, and helps to rescue what is otherwise a very plain song by Muse's standards. Some of the textural experimentation is brought forward around 2:40, and brings a new focus to the song, but really, it's just on to the next one.

The problem with a song like Hysteria is that it's pretty much unfollowable, and you really have to stick with "Thoughts of a Dying Atheist" to get the most out of it - and it does have much to offer, despite a couple of harmonic progression issues towards the end of the chorus, especially. However, there is more tremendous energy here, and the lyrics are thought-provoking, if not profound; "It scares the hell out of me, the end is all I can see".

"Ruled by Secrecy" marks the 3rd album in a row out of 3 from Muse in which I feel unsatisfied with the ending. It starts to feel like a lot more of the same, with nothing really new to offer from the deep bag of Muse's trickery. It's worth sticking it out, though, as more Rachmaninov-inspired piano is forthcoming around 3:30, and from there to the end, the ride is very enjoyable (and prog related) indeed.

In summary, then, a slightly over-long album jam-packed with proggy goodies and musical highlights, with more drama per square inch than RADA, and more passion than Mills and Boon. If the word "Bombastic" turns you off, then look elsewhere for entertainment, otherwise, very much an album for everyone (even if you only ever listen to the first half), with some of the best riffing outside "proper" heavy metal - and some riffs that outclass even that. Oh, and a fair smattering of progginess.

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Send comments to Certif1ed (BETA) | Report this review (#57667) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, November 24, 2005

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
3 stars Well due to overpowering demand of the Pro-Muse lobby force that put the NRA (National Riffle Association - for the non-Americans see real patriot Michael Moore's amazing Bowling For Columbine film) to shame, Muse did finally get in our beloved Archives. I must say that while having a good notion of what Muse were about I had not really deepened my research since what I heard on radio seemed to be enough for me. Out of professional curiosity ten days ago, I went out to the library and rented the two albums I will review today. My original idea about them was that they were an intelligent alternative rock group (in their case I refuse the pop term or even Indie rock) that obviously listened to R.E.M. and The Levellers during their youth during the 80's and were actually taking pattern on Radiohead in the late 90's. Only excellent references you can see if you like that particular type of rock, but hardly groundbreaking at the turn of the century. But I would suggest those people downplaying the Radiohead similarity to wake up and re-listen to them.

While I am not a major fan of this type of rock, I always thought that Muse were maintaining with Radiohead the level of rock above the waters, but I hope not to raise the ire of fans by saying that their music is highly derivative of the afore- mentioned bands although they have moments on this album that are unusually metallic - the middle part of the title track and its follow-up Stockholm, that is almost Motorhead sounding if it was not for the typical vocals and later on Small Print. I can actually tell you my original impression was completely confirmed but I have actually listened to this album and the other over ten times hoping to fond what the big deal was to progheads. Some might argue that ten spins are not enough to get the substance out, but this old geezer with his almost 1500 reviews behind him, has enough experience to do so. So aside the infectious grooves, tight power chords, concise songwriting and an honest attitude, I found little to seriously make a proghead actually be heads over heels about such an album. Compared with previous album, I would say that there are two added dimensions: a Rachmaninov-styled piano (Rach is one of my fave classical composer) and Muse actually listened to a whole lotta Porcupine Tree before writing this album. These two new elements brought even more pressure on the PA citadel and an inquiry was set-up to see if the added vitamins were enough reinforcement to the usual Muse formula tracks for inclusion in the Archives, aside from the obvious PT influences.

"Well there is a very good prog group, Porcupine Tree!!!" I hear from the peanut gallery. "Yes, PT is a good prog group but they are already included in the Archives, but let's stay on topic: is this derivative album really worth the proghead's investment?" answers the lecturer to which dead silence is the only possible reply to such a pertinent question. Then a Muse-NRA lobbyists pulls out a Kalachnikov shoots the reviewer, the chairman of the board, the president of the SOPRHA (Safeguard Of Progressive Rock Honour Association) and the lecture-giver and yells "Mute" (not Muse) to the panicking crowd. Out come blaring from huge speakers and at unbearable volume this fairly good heavily guitar-fed rock for the next 500 hours. As the hostage crisis is obviously not getting resolved by the authorities outside as they call the army for snipers and special assault troops. But finally as the record had spun for the 473rd time, the deck rendered it laserhead at the end of their most intriguing (lyrically anyway) track on the album (Thoughts For A Dying Atheist) and the lobbyist was completely lobotomised as were the hostages, they all came out calmly but completely brainwashed yelling that Bellamy was the new prophet and started out to form yet another lobby to change the Muse Archives sub-genre to Avant/pop or even better RIA (Rock In Affirmation).

Did anybody say that reviews were made out to make sense? Well this one is supposed to! Let's not get over-excited with this neat and professional album (the artwork might just be worthy of Storm Thorgeson), with its share of highlights but also poorer moments. Unfortunately I would argue against them for being a little too focused (funnily enough I generally complain of the opposite) as most of the tracks are simply still too Muse-like formula and brings almost nothing new. I did enjoy the piano and hope to hear it more in future albums. In retrospect I am happy the Archives gave me the drive to review this group, but so far, none of their albums will join my collection! A worthy inclusion in the prog-related page, but hardly anything essential as far as the prog dimension is concerned!

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#58741) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, December 01, 2005

Review by el böthy
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars It´s weird for me to put 5 stars to an album that lacks the complexety that I find so amusing in prog...but whats right is right! This album deserves the whole 5 stars. Every song is excellent and what is even more important (what really makes a 5 album) is that they all work so good with each other.

What I find so great about this band is, first of all their Radiohead infuence ( another of my favorite bands), second how much emotion all the songs have and I dont mean that they are ballads...as a matter of fact there are no ballads in this record, but how Mathew Bellamy´s voice and music sound so perfectly raw that its honest...thats the word, honest...from the first time I heard Muse I noticed that the words and music of this band are honest...and thats something i really apreatiate in music!!!

My favorite songs must be "Apocalypse please", "Time is running out", "Stockholm syndrome", "Hysteria" and "Butterflys and hurricanes", but the rest of the songs are also great!

...Mike Portnoy was right...the best album form 2003!!!

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Send comments to el böthy (BETA) | Report this review (#62027) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Review by richardh
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Muse are not just a mere band, they are a phenomenon.A hard rocking trio lead by the lavishly talented Matthew Bellamy this is undoubtedly their greatest album to date.The first time I heard Absolution I literally lept around the room jumping on the settee and playing imaginary air guitar! They are as pompous and loud as anything around and inevitably have drawn comparison to that other famous trio Emerson,Lake And Palmer.Bellamy is every bit the showman like Emerson although he sticks mainly to lead guitar while Dominic Howard drives the music forward with all the ferocity of a young Carl Palmer.Simply breathatking at times this band are on the edge constantly but somehow always manage to hold it together.The songs are nicely varied with some quiet ones in amongst the carnage.The best songs though are the heavy ones.Just listen to Stockholm Syndrome as they crank it up a notch.The spirit of ELP in guitar form is well and truly alive!

5 stars and you better believe it!

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Send comments to richardh (BETA) | Report this review (#62320) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, December 30, 2005

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Two reasons why I tried spinning this CD of Muse that has been in my son's collection: first, some people did mention that there was some influence of Muse style with Dream Theater "Octavarium" album and second, some prog sites reviewed this album as well. On first reason I think it's good that fans of both bands (Dream Theater and Muse) can introduce one another. Fans of Dream Theater would explore the music of Muse (Like what I do now) and fans of Muse would explore their music boundary to progressive metal scene - Dream Theater's music.

"Absolution" in my opinion is a good album by Muse. Musically, when I listened to this CD for the first time, I could only relate the band's style is in the vein of Radiohead and sometime U2 - even though it's not 100% correct. Look at the composition and singing style - it's quite tending to Radiohead. For me personally, enjoying this CD is like a retreat from having enjoyed other spectrum of prog music like symphonic, art, psychedelic or even krautrock.

Of course I cannot tell you the history of the band and who's who in the band as I'm just a newbie in Muse. But as any other prog band this album starts off with ambient short introduction (22 seconds) followed with "Apocalypse Please" with its floating style music that reminds me to Radiohead. Composition-wise, it's not as complex as symphonic prog music but it's good to comment that the band opens this album with nice song like this one. I enjoy the simple keyboard punch in the middle of the track.This song seems to be a popular track as many FM radios as well as local bands that covers this song. "Time Is Running Out" is another good track which is also popular in my country. I like the guitar fills and singing style.

Preceded by short "Interlude", it's fascinating to enjoy "Hysteria" which has good composition featuring a dragging vocal style - yes, similar with Radiohead singing style - combined with nice distorted guitar and effects plus keyboards. The ultimate enjoyment is the guitar solo portion during interlude which sounds simple but it's engaging the mind.

It's a good choice for a break. If you like Radiohead, you'd better give it a shot with this album. There is practically no bad track right here. All of them are good ones. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#82146) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Review by Melomaniac
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Bought this album yesterday on my friend's (also bandmate) advice and listened to it twice, and all I can say is Thank You to my good friend Richard. The fact that this band is listed in ProgArchives surprises me a bit, but when bands like Radiohead and Anathema make it onto this site, I should not surprised.

The only way I can describe their sound (for Absolution at least) is as follows : à la Radiohead (The Bends / OK Computer period) but with more guts, more rock, less psychedelic, a bit more straighforward and a bit less experimental. Compelling, to say the least.

Singer Bellamy sounds a lot like Radiohead's Thom Yorke, only better in my opinion. His melodies send shivers down my spine in every song, and he is really intense. His guitar and piano playing are inspired, and his songwriting skills have nothing to envy to anyone out there.

The rythm section, with Chris Wolstenholme on bass and back vocals and Dominic Howard on drums is a solid team, more on the reliable and creative side than on the technical side. They have good chemistry and are the perfect base upon which Matthew Bellamy can evolve.

They are the modern day proof that trios make more than excellent bands (Rush, The Police, The Tea Party, etc...). Undiluted, powerful, they sound as one.

Two spins don't allow me to call this album a masterpiece, but my breath was taken away by the intensity of this album. A few weeks more, and this album would have had five star rating, courtesy of little me.

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Send comments to Melomaniac (BETA) | Report this review (#83576) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Review by Tristan Mulders
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Muse - Absolution

Muse is one of those mainstream rockbands with similarities to progrock. "Absolution was the album that really brought Muse to my attention. Before, I only was familiar with the occasional single but until recently I never felt the urge to go out and buy and album. It was with the release of their most recent album (and the accompanying single and hype) "Black Holes and Revelations" that I decided to check upon their music. Since I already knew several songs from "Absolution," I thought this would be a good point to start.

Muse has this very typical sound. They use a lot of sequenced keyboards and bombastic piano playing to accompany the heavy guitar fills. Matt Bellamy's voice is rather awkward for a mainstream band with its highpitched tones and lots of breathing 'segments' (intake of air while singing).

"Absolution" has the feeling of a concept album. Part of me says this was their intention, basically because of the inclusion of a song called Interlude and the fact that most lyrics are sort of connected by theme.

The album starts rather eerie with the song Apocalypse please. It works rather good as an introduction despite the fact that it took me a while to get used to (and like) the opening section because of the odd melodies.

What follows is the song Time is running out, which was also released as a single. The introduction is rather un-rockish to these ears with its ultra low keyboard pattern and 'finger snapping' but with the chorus the guitars come out to play. Lyrically this song is rather political, which was even highlighted in the video that was shown for the single on MTV: generals and other military staff members marching while the band is seen performing.

Up next is the album's second single: Sing for Absolution. This epic song is a trip on its own. Each time I hear the song I have to visualise its animated videoclip: the band is presented as pilots of a space shuttle which makes a trip through space and ¾ in the song they crash and they crash land in a totally ruined London. thus meaning earth was abandoned, because they left from another planet and still represent human beings, but now I'm drifting. great aspect about the video in connection with the song is that the crash scene in the video is shown as a background for the guitar solo. This guitar solo also really gives the feeling like something is crashing. The destruction of London, that and the lyrics also give this song a bit of a political touch.

Stockholm Syndrome is the first big rock tune on this album. The song's title has always been on my mind ever since I saw Muse on TV performing the song live. During this performance they totally trashed most of their onstage gear. They left only one working unit per instrument so they were able to finish an extended version of the song with wrecked guitar amps, giving it all a very unearthly feeling. I know I loved it at least.

One of the main issues with this album is the fact that the overall mix is sometimes a bit too 'narrow'. I personally like a lot of spacey, atmospheric artists such as Porcupine Tree and those artists mostly have brilliant production in which every instrument is well balanced and noticeable. From time to time the sound is too compact for the compositions on "Absolution". During other moments it works perfect though, such as the bombastic instrumental piano part in the final song on the album Ruled by Secrecy or the minimalist composition Blackout with its classical music feeling to it.

Butterflies and Hurricanes must be the most varied song on this album. It seems as a rather odd choice for a single and I know that around the time it was released it did not impress me that much. but now it must be one of my favourite songs by Muse. With its slow built-up intro and several vocal harmonies, it is not the catchiest of songs presented here. I absolutely love the little piano bridge that marks the transition between the quieter intro and the uptempo sequence that follows it. What's even more beautiful is the section just after the 3minute mark. The song breaks down until only the piano remains and now we get to hear Bellamy's true skills on this instrument. This lasts for a while until we're back for a reprise of the openingsection of the song and another go at the up-tempo chorus.

The small Print is perhaps the most mainstream song on the album. This is the least progressive song perhaps, but it is definitely a great tune to listen to. The chorus is really good too and extremely catchy.

Not being a Muse expert, I did not know that one always has to expect at least one song that's quite a contradiction to the others, so the song Endlessly rather surprised me with its almost dub like groove and chilled-out keyboard rhythm. This is also the song with the biggest quantity of weird noises and awkward melody changes.

The last uptempo song before closing track Ruled by Secrecy is the beautifully titled Thoughts of a dying Atheist. Its chorus is rather catchy, not to mention moody with its lyrics about being afraid to die. The song features a typical Bellamy guitar solo.

After an album filled with mostly uptempo songs, Ruled by Secrecy is a beautiful closing track. With its guitarless composition and only a minimum of rhythmic patterns, this piano song is a song that will be engraved within your memory for quite some time, mainly thanks to the brilliant bombastic piano section around the 3minute mark which gives me shivers each time I listen to it, not to forget Matt's fragile vocals during most of the song.

The one thing I can conclude from this experience is that I was stupid to neglect them for this long but they definitely managed to get me addicted to their music. Hopefully it'll also work the other way around, that Musefans will decide to give prog rock a chance, because both definitely seem to collide one time or another.

Muse: An introduction to prog?

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Send comments to Tristan Mulders (BETA) | Report this review (#86153) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 3.5 stars. First of all the album cover is brilliant.The music is a blend of Prog and Alternative music, with a definite reference to RADIOHEAD. I think it's the vocals really.The first time my daughter had me listen to this cd a couple of summers ago, I was reminded of Thom Yorke and RADIOHEAD right away, with the mournful and haunting vocals and the alternative sound.This is just more uptempo and energetic for the most part with a QUEEN vibe. The theme of this record seems to be death and the end of the world. Actually a young guy , I would say in his early twenties came in the store while this was playing, and he asked if I was listening to a cd, I said yeah, it's MUSE. He said who ? I said MUSE. Anyway, he stayed for about three songs and then asked for a piece of paper and a pen, so I gave him these and the cd, to write down the band's name and title of the disc. Another convert.

The first song "Intro" is twenty seconds of vocal samples that end with the piano pounding away and continuing into the next song "Apocalypse Please". The vocals on this song are excellent, and the melody is bombastic with the drums leading the way. "Time Is Running Out" is a song that opens quietly that builds to a full sound.The melody is catchy and again bombastic. The drums and vocals are the focus. "Sing For Absolution" opens with piano,light drums and reserved vocals that build. I like the way Matthew holds the notes as he sings. The guitar comes to the fore and is really good. A definite RADIOHEAD vibe to this song. "Stockholm Syndrome" really rocks out pretty good ! Great in your face guitar leads and pounding drums along with the Thom Yorke style vocals. This would be great to hear live. "Falling Away With You" really contrasts the mellow, beautiful acoustic passages with the full, heavy sounding passages quite well.

"Interlude" is about 30 seconds of distorted guitar sounds. "Hysteria" is an uptempo, catchy tune thats pretty good. "Blackout" is a mournful song with cello and some real Post Rock sounding guitar melodies. "Butterflies & Hurricanes" has a lot of tension in the intro, as if the band is having a hard time holding back. The drums signal a change of pace as they do let loose. "The Small Print" features some good piano and guitar. This is an energetic, emotional song that is a highlight for me. It's great ! "Endlessly" is reserved and melodic."Thoughts Of A Dying Athiest" is an uptempo and surprisingly fun song with amazing lyrics. "Ruled By Secrecy" opens with fragile vocals and piano, drums eventually come into this powerful song.

Clearly if your a fan of RADIOHEAD or Alternative rock, this is a must.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#104985) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, December 30, 2006

Review by imoeng
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Absolution

Not a really progressive rock album, I suppose, but nonetheless it is a very cool album. I actually bought it around 3 years ago, but I haven't had any chance to talk about this album. Now it's the time.

Since this album is not a really progressive rock album, I reckon this is more of a "true-rock" album, maybe has a bit alternative aspect in it. With a quite proficient musical skills and well-composed songs, also cool sound effects. But for me, the best thing is the feeling everytime I listen to the album, which is very important. Honestly, this is a kind of albums which I like all the songs in it. As a comparison, as a hardcore Dream Theater fan, sometimes there is a song in an album which I don't like. However, different with Absolution, which all the songs are really cool. Again, not progressive metal songs, but they are very good songs, more mainstream actually.

My favourite song in the album is probably Sing For Absolution (track 4), which has a nice vocal and lyric. The song is more of an easy listening song than a metal song, but then again, I like it. An example of a song that needs a "quite" high technical skills is Stockholm Syndrome (track 5) and Hysteria (track 8). Both of these songs can be compared directly to Octavarium's Panic Attack from Dream Theater. That song has an intro like Stockholm Syndrome and a solo like Hysteria. Now think, if the song is similar to Dream Theater's, this album should be a cool album.

Bottom line, I should have given this album 4.5 stars, maybe 5 stars for a hard rock or alternative rock album. However because this is a progressive rock review, four stars can really exemplify the coolness of this album. Okay, time is running out.

Sing for absolution!- Imoeng

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Send comments to imoeng (BETA) | Report this review (#110360) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, February 01, 2007

Review by OpethGuitarist
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Edgy music.

Absolution is the breakthrough album for Muse, one of the proggiest of prog-related bands on this website. While they may be a little too young at heart for their own good, they are a very entertaining band that puts on a show and knows how to compose. This album is a testament to that if nothing else.

If there is one complaint is that the music, despite having many energetic and interesting moments over the traditional alt. rock band is that it seems to be much too formulaic. Many of the songs have the same or similar qualities to them. I see a lot of comparisons to Radiohead, but possibly only in vocal style, as artistically they are two very different bands with vastly different approaches. For one, this band is much heavier and more rock driven whereas Radiohead relies more on electronica and experimentation (as can be evidenced by albums like Kid A and OK Computer).

That being said, Absolution is still a well done album and worthy of having, especially for those who may be looking to cross the bridge from rock to prog, they work wonderfully, as I have been able to get several friends of mine to enjoy Porcupine Tree because he had an interest in Muse.

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Send comments to OpethGuitarist (BETA) | Report this review (#117353) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Review by The T
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars According to the ratings description here in PA, a 5-star album is "essential: a masterpiece of progressive music." So, giving 5 stars to an album that is not 100% prog would be somewhat of a contradiction, as for something to be considered a "masterpiece" representation of any category, it has first to FIT that category.

Even though, from that perspective, giving 5-stars to a prog-related album such as Muse's ABSOLUTION would seem completely incoherent and out of place, let's approach the matter from a different perspective. Let's agree that the concept "progressive music" is still matter of discussion, and that we should be able to decide whether a particular band is progressive or not by our own considerations, of course under the guidance of the principles that rule this website.

In that case, for me, ABSOLUTION is a masterpiece of music, and if not of "true" progressive music (in the style of Yes, Genesis and others), a masterpiece of music that shows progression, that has so many elements of interest that transcends the boundaries of the genre. So, before I start talking about the music itself, let me start by saying that for me this album is worthy of a perfect score.

The music in ABSOLUTION is a mix of many different genres and styles: most of all, we have strong influences from British-pop; we hear sounds from bands like Blur. Another big influence, if not as big as some suggest, is the music of Radiohead. For me, the sounds, the structures, the tone of the music itself is not really similar to that successful band, but we can't deny that Matthew Bellamy's voice sounds very much alike Thom Yorke's, though less in distress, slightly more optimistic and more centered, less nerve-shattering. But that's not all: we can find strong alternative influences here, some punk influences (as in any alternative music) and even a few hints of metal. Yes, there are many riffs here that remind us of the heaviest of genres, played, of course, with the utmost restraint and control. That's what this music mostly is about: emotion but under control; there's a showing of anger, love, hate or happiness but always focused in an objective, which is: making the best music possible. That's why most songs are short, there's no time wasted in delicacies or solos or displays of power or virtuosism. Muse's music is strongly song-oriented, and no doubt the three British musicians are quite the masters of compelling song-writing. There are many progressive-elements here, too, with interesting harmonies, textures and instrumentations, but, as said before, never for the sake of any of them is the music allowed to lose any cohesiveness.

A brief song-by-song:

Intro (?/10) Well, this is just noise, the noise of a marching band. But it blends so perfectly with the start of.

Apocalypse Please (10/10) What a start! Powerful chords signal the beginning of the end of everything. The rhythm is heavy, fate is upon us, the end of the world. But this is more of a reflection about what's coming than a lament. Bellamy's voice is desperate yet never annoying or over-indulgent. Some rays of light of all colors in the way of piano arpeggios and distorted guitar make a fantastic bridge. The vocal harmonies are excellent. A masterpiece of a song.

Time Is Running Out (9.5/10) A groovy, sensuous rhythm of the most minimalist expression, just some percussion and here-and-there piano notes; it grows in power until the chorus explodes with desperation. Such a simple song, such a great song.

Sing for Absolution (9/10) This one starts quietly, elegantly, piano over a soft, perfume-filled atmosphere. This song starts with such class, an atmosphere of smoke, velvet, luxury, yet sung by a distressed person. The chorus is less brilliant.

Stockholm Syndrome (10/10) This track is so incredibly amazing that it would get more than 10 if it was possible. The main riff is very metallic, yet so in control. This is the riff that Dream Theater heard for sure before writing "Never Enough". Such a driving, powerful, energetic, dramatic song I've yet to hear again. Bellamy's voice only adds to the unfolding tragedy; then the chorus: what a perfection of a texture, the piano notes underlining and the guitar spacey arpeggios it just complete the magnificent picture. A true anthem of a rock track, one of the best of this decade.

Falling Away With You (9/10) After such a song, the only good decision was to give us a quiet, mellow, atmospheric moment of relax. And Muse deliver in a fantastic way. A beautiful ballad with acoustic guitar over piano arpeggios and Bellamy's dramatic voice. The music clearly reflects the "falling away" theme of the song, with a descending theme that creates a wonderful, sad, romantic, emotional atmosphere. Another success.

Interlude (?/10) Again, just transitional noise. So brief it doesn't hurt the album.

Hysteria (9.5/10) Another epic track, not for its proportions but for its quality. The riff is, again, very reminiscent of what DT gave us in OCTAVARIUM, and the fact that the New York band chose Muse's music as source of inspiration shows the quality of this British trio. A dynamic, kinetic track that only speaks of drama, controlled drama. An excellent song.

Blackout (8.5/10) A very slow, mellow, quiet, romantic, sedated song. It takes us to a canal, to a canal at night, in the middle of a beautiful city, in a European city, in France, in Italy, where it's normal to let oneself be driven by the movement of water while being lost in the glare of the street lights. Good, very good song.

Butterflies and Hurricanes (10/10) This one starts ambiguously, quietly, with dark, secretive notes. The music depicts the butterflies, and with electronica rhythms it takes us to the hurricanes. Powerful piano chords, a heavy drum rhythm, energy, the fundamental force behind this album: DRAMATIC ENERGY, always presented using the best musical resources to do it. A varied track, the middle section is almost impressionistic in nature, but then it turns romantic, passionate, and then we go back to the 21st century . Outstanding. Marvelous.

Small Print (8/10) A more conventional rock start. A fast, pulsating song. The chorus is not that great but it works. This track is slightly more noisy and less brilliant than most of the songs in ABSOLUTION. It's good that it's so short. Another proof that Muse put much effort into the structuring of the album as a whole. Endlessly (8.5/10) What a classy beginning! Soft percussion and sensuous piano chords, in pure pop style. The texture gets more interesting, yet the song doesn't change that much. The bridge with the spacey, narcotic atmosphere is a welcome addition to an otherwise linear track.

Thoughts of a Dying Atheist (9/10) The fastest song in the album, full of energy, of speed, of relentless drive. The song in itself is pretty simple, standard pop-rock, with a Salmon flavor to it (only one person will understand this), with some Cure or U2. Great simple rocker.

Ruled by Secrecy (8.5/10) Over guitar and piano arpeggios a doubled-voice sings, cries with the utmost peace. A lament expressed after all has been already said, so that there's no need to physically manifest the suffering any longer. A quiet, atmospheric, sad song that closes the album in decent fashion.

All in all, let me quote a phrase from a fellow PA reviewer, Cert1fied who, talking about "Stockholm Syndrome", said that this music is "essentially quite simple, but this is ROCK at a new level, and shows clearly why Muse are prog-related, and why Rick Wakeman himself declared Muse to be a modern Prog Rock band. The riff that finishes this piece defies all words. It's hard to imagine anything better.... Maybe he was speaking about that single track, but the definition applies to the whole album. A masterpiece of rock, a proof that popular music hasn't got to be bad, a testament to the fact that we have to allow ourselves the pleasure to discover music even if it implies us exploring the most "commercial" territories of this, our beloved genre, rock, and progressive-rock at that.

No doubt this is progressive-rock.

Recommended for: Any rock lover; fans of simple, accessible, brilliantly written songs with a flavor or "Brit-pop" to them; fans of great riffs and fantastic texture-work.

Not recommended for: People that dislike emotional, dramatic, energetic, bombastic rock music; people that can't stand their prog not to be long and full of solos; people who think that whatever music that is commercially successful is bad music per se.

.you're missing a MASTERPIECE.

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Send comments to The T (BETA) | Report this review (#118734) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars I discovered Muse way before its inclusion on PA. So, no surprise for me when comes the time of this review. This ain't prog (but none of their work is). IMO, Muse is one of the most interesting rock bands of the moment (with Franz Ferdinand, Clap Your Hand , Placebo and Arcade Fire to cite a few). I go and see a reasonably high numbers of concerts year in, year out. When I go to watch true prog bands, the audience is almost my age (late forties) and usually the audience ranges from 300 (the majority) to 1500 (very rare) people.

When I went to see Muse for their "Absolution" tour, the concert hall in Brussels was packed (9,000) and sold out. I looked like a rarety in the hall. I could easily be the father of most of the audience. So, I 'm not quite sure that youngsters are keen to listen to "prog" bands nowadays and to me, there is no doubt about their "progness, even releated). Anyway, they are integrated in PA and since it is one of the bands I really appreciate (especially live) , I will not complain.

This album starts brilliantly with a great trio of songs. The title track with his dual tempo is extraordinary and very emotional, while "Time Is Running Out" is of course at the opposite : a wild and brilliant pop/rock song. The opening number (opening their show as well) was a great moment of the concert and is a very good choice to start this album.

"Stockholm Syndrome" is another fabulous song. A "noisy" intro but a very catchy melody. At times an incredible and extremely powerful riff will invade your loud speakers. Almost punkish as well. It is an incredible song : complex, violent, at times irritating, heavy. Muse in all its splendour. Another of my fave of this great album so far.

Just to cool down, Muse will prolonged the tradition of slow and peaceful tracks. They will usually be inserted after powerful ones. Exactly what happens here with "Falling Away With You". Almost acoustic at times, a pleasant chorus will rank this song into the good ones. And if you like heavy ones, do not worry. After a short and useless interlude : "Hysteria" is there. Another excellent number combining the strenghts of a traditional Muse song. Great drumming from Dominic in this all mighty song.

Another slow transition with "Blackout" and another attempt to "Unintended". Same exceptional emotional feeling, but a bit too mellowish. My least preferred song here, but I usually like their fast, bumping and fresh rocking songs more than the slow ones.

From the very first notes of "Butterflies And Hurricanes", you know immediately that a great moment is ahead. Another more complex song with some theme variations : mellow intro, strong rocking but very melodic middle-part, an opera-like piano and strings part (fully classical) and back to the opening. Very effective and so diversified.

Back the punkish sounds again, with "The Small Print". Another rhythmy (to say the least) track. But the exceptional melody again will turn this one into a very bearable song (but not for the average progheads, believe me). This album is bloody damned good. As usual, a slow one follows. "Endlessly" is almost childish. Same mood as for "Blackout" and same appreciation. Not too great.

I was a bit afraid that the same would happended like in their previous albums, meaning that they were a bit disappointing towards the last few tracks.

Fortunately, "Thoughts of a Dying Atheist" is far from being a filler. A wonderful melody as well and a "pogo" song at times (you know : "Pogo Dancing" : when goes up, must come down). Just great, I'm afraid. "Absolution" will close on a very slow tempo : "Ruled By Secrecy" is again on the mellow side of their repertoire, but a very nice piano part will come as a nice conclusion. This is by far my favorite Muse album. "Absolution" remains fantastic almost throughout all its lenght (only two weaker numbers). In terms of rating, it deserves more than four stars but not really fave. But since there (unfortunately) no other choice possible (so far ?), I will upgrade it to five star. A great almbum of rock music.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#123811) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Review by russellk
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars How do three people make so much noise?

MUSE are here, I suspect, because of their sheer intensity and presence. They incorporate many of the sensibilities familiar to progressive music, but do so in bite-sized morsels often mistaken for pop songs. With few exceptions, they are not. They are well-crafted, spirited and above all passionate rock songs that ring every bell in the listener's mind. Big-scale sounds in small-scale packages. Anyone who objects to this exuberance is simply a curmudgeon.

'Absolution' is a fair step up from their previous two offerings. The album begins by tearing four new orifices in your psyche: the four-pronged attack of 'Apocalypse Please,' 'Time Is Running Out', 'Sing For Absolution' and 'Stockholm Syndrome' is one of the most potent slabs of music you'll come across in popular culture. To my mind, these opening twenty minutes are packed with more innovation, cleverness and sheer musical glee than THE BEATLES ever managed.

'Apocalypse Please' thunders in with a cataclysmic piano line, a seismic shock. This is the end? Already? I know what MATTHEW BELLAMY means: we're not in for an easy ride here. He calls for a miracle, and he's delivering it in crashing chords and swirling synths, rock painted passionate progressive in a way that few of the inheritors of the progressive label can equal. I already have my money's worth.

'Time Is Running Out', you betcha, and the music communicates MUSE's sense of urgency - and, finally, the guitar arrives. Such teasers. They're maturing, not firing all their guns at once, letting a song build naturally. This song is a splendid number. BELLAMY has a wonderful falsetto, which fills the sonic gap normally occupied by a lead guitar. Then the song runs out and the extraordinarily beautiful 'Sing For Absolution' begins. This is BELLAMY at his lyrical and vocal peak. The track builds into a masterpiece, and the vocals are sheer genius. Not that he has a great voice - far from it. But rock music works best when the voice isn't sweet: there's plenty of roughness in the delivery, including the ubiquitous gasp for breath, and a sharpness to his notes that adds an edge to the music.

Can they produce a fourth memorable track in a row? 'Stockholm Syndrome' is the best of them all, a fierce behemoth with a monster riff and wonderful rhythm. What a hook in the chorus! And they lead us magnificently through the song using every trick in modern music's vast lexicon.

The album inevitably falls away a little from here, a result of MUSE front-loading their albums. It falls away literally with the next track, as MUSE realise they need to give us time to recover, to catch our breath before the next sonic assault. 'Hysteria' is that assault, with a staggering riff as gorgeous and epic as you've ever heard, and another hook chorus. And there's still 'Butterflies', 'Endlessly' and 'Thoughts of a Dying Atheist' to come. There are a few below-par tracks, but that's almost inconsequential. It all sounds a little 'samey' on first listen, because BELLAMY's voice is front and centre, but give the album a few listens - each track's personality will emerge.

In a word, epic.

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Send comments to russellk (BETA) | Report this review (#142458) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, October 06, 2007

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
4 stars The trio of melodic prog excel with this album - one of their best.

The first thing I noticed listening to this album was the crystal clear clarity of each track, beautifully produced and the band play with musical virtuosity. I discovered most of the songs on the DVD release so was quite used to the way most of these tracks were played live. The music on the studio release here is more subdued yet has heavy aspects.The songwriting is written with expertise and there are classical rock influences, and a similar style of vocal performance in fact to early Radiohead in most respects. Matt Bellamy is the driving force of the album and belts out one track after another with huge vocal ranges in a similar style to Radiohead's Thom Yorke.

Each track is different in thematic content and all feature strong melodies and a consistent high standard of structure. The atmosphere of the album is remarkable, like nothing else I have heard.

The vocal arrangements at times feel like ELO or Queen and they are major influences to their style of music. Other influences are the classical composers Rachmaninoff, Chopin or even a touch of Puccini. Muse create a huge wall of sound consisting of loud clashing guitars, keyboards and drums with a punding bass line throughout.

Highlights include Time Is Running Out, Sing for Absolution, Stockholm Syndrome, Hysteria, Blackout and Ruled by Secrecy.

If you have heard of this band and did not know where to start, Absolution is a definite starting point encompassing all that is great about Muse.

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#188057) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Review by Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 'Absolution' - Muse (6/10)

'Absolution' is a work of two faces. The first 8 songs (which i would count as being the first half) are fantastic, and flow very well. Musically, theres great songwriting, great performances and an epic quality that is rarely found in alternative rock. The rest of it however is mediocre (albeit listenable) material that really seems to kill the album's overall sense of body and completion.

There are parts here that do not sound like a band of only three musicians. Muse have a way of magically turning a 3-piece into the sonic equivalent of a rock orchestra, and giving a strength and bite to their music.

Is this band going to meet constant criticism from prog fans? Unfortunately, yes. They are very alternative rock based, which many could consider a far cry from actually being prog. While theres definately a feeling that Muse are never going to be full-out prog, they incorperate prog music into a more accessible songwriting style that is definately enjoyable, although the band tends to flow in a very depressing direction in terms of their musical style and feeling.

'Absolution' is not the greatest Muse has ever made, or will ever make. However, it, like many things in life, is but an evolution; a development and transmutation. I have my hopes up that someday this talented band will make an 'Abolution II' of sorts that will carry the same level of quality from the first side and keep that going throughout the entire product... Until then, we have a fatally flawed masterpiece.

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#206760) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, March 12, 2009

Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Absolution was recommended to me by a friend on the premise that I was (and still am) a RADIOHEAD fan. I knew nothing about the MUSE at the time and listened to the disk several times in different situations and over an extended period of time.

At first, I was of course more than stunned by the overwhelming similarity with RADIOHEAD, which was not only in terms of vocal expression of the singer M. Bellamy, but also in the composition and stylistic practice (gentle, sweeping and melancholic, chamber pop balladry Vs. noisy guitar-driven and electronically empowered speedy rockers). Later, I became even much less impressed. Although I can hardly point to any obvious error or weakness - the technical side of the album is perfectly played and produced, even the songwriting is decent and written "by the book" - I cannot help but feel that a large portion of its obvious popularity lies in its following the beaten path of "OK Computer" and later RADIOHEAD efforts.

It is fairly listenable, decent copycat of RADIOHEAD with certain post-Brit-pop mainstream leanings, but the music that offers me nothing new that I already had not heard.

PERSONAL RATING: 3/5

P.A. RATING: 3/5

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Send comments to Seyo (BETA) | Report this review (#230567) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, August 08, 2009

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
3 stars Absolution is the album that I've listened to the least out of the three Muse albums that I've had the opportunity of experiencing. It didn't really have much to do with the album itself but more with the circumstances that surrounded me at the time of its release. I consider the 2002-2004 period in my music development to be highly significant to my current level of enlightenment. This was where I really got into the Symphonic Prog bands like Genesis, Yes and ELP meaning that I personally refer to that period as my classic years.

I can understand why Absolution is currently the highest rated Muse release on the site. The album features quite a few of the band's best songs like Time Is Running Out and Hysteria at the same time it also fully utilized the Muse-sound that has, in the recent years, become a subject of imitation by other bands. But even though this record is an important artistic statement it also has its share of filler material. In fact, Absolution is far from a solid all around release that I would have wished it to be since the album is almost entirely split between excellent and filler material with very little middle ground in between the two.

The album starts with a short intro track that transitions into the atmospheric sounds of Apocalypse Please. This is where we get bombarded by a few heavier tracks like Time Is Running Out and Stockholm Syndrome that are easily the highlights of the album. Unfortunately it's the album's second part, starting with Interlude, that isn't really as strong. Things do start nicely with another heavy guitar rocker Hysteria but Blackout sounds quite pretentious to my ears and even though Butterflies And Hurricanes is easily the most progressive track of this album it just doesn't reach the intensity that the song's build-up originally promises.

The last four tracks consist mostly of either experiments gone wrong or just filler material that the band added just to fill out the space. Small Print and Thoughts Of A Dying Atheist are just two straightforward rockers that feel like an insult after all the excellent heavy hitting rockers that came right before it. Endlessly is flirting with disco which isn't something that I think this band needs to explore any further. Finally Ruled By Secrecy closes the album with another atmospheric landscape which I do find suiting even though I wish that the track had a stronger punch to it.

Overall Absolution, just like Origin Of Symmetry before it, is another important piece of this band's history due to the high number of great songs incorporated into the mix. Unfortunately the filler material restrains me once again from giving a Muse album anything higher than the good, but non-essential rating. Still I urge all the fans of this type of music to check this album out since this is one of the few times when Muse managed to satisfy all the spectrums of their fan-base without resolving to truly cheesy moments.

***** star songs: Time Is Running Out (3:58) Stockholm Syndrome (4:57) Hysteria (3:47)

**** star songs: Apocalypse Please (4:13) Sing For Absolution (4:55) Falling Away With You (4:41) Butterflies And Hurricanes (5:02) Ruled By Secrecy (4:52)

*** star songs: Intro (0:22) Interlude (0:38) Blackout (4:22) Small Print (3:29) Endlessly (3:49) Thoughts Of A Dying Atheist (3:07)

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Send comments to Rune2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#282030) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, May 15, 2010

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Post/Math Rock Team
3 stars Before I get into the music I want to talk about the cover. Is that the LP/vinyl cover used on this site? My CD copy has a man holding a gas mask on the front; on the back is what I assume to be the same little girl but she's wearing all red. All three show the same shadows of floating bodies above. This cover was done by Storm Thorgerson and Dan Abbott. Storm of course used to be a part of the Hipgnosis team who created famous album covers and sleeves for the likes of Floyd, Zeppelin, etc. This is one of the best album covers of the past ten years.

Besides the awesome cover, there was only one other reason I decided to buy this: seeing the video for "Stockholm Syndrome". That song, and video, blew me away. I had always heard that Muse were a Radiohead clone. I always liked Radiohead but generally steer clear of copycat bands. Apart from the vocals I really can't see much of a resemblance. Radiohead rarely rocked as hard as these guys do.

The marching beat of "Intro" leads into "Apocalypse Please". Great piano in an odd time signature. Before 2 minutes great sequencer part with falsetto vocals. This part comes back later. Classical piano at the end. "Time Is Running Out" is a catchy song with a great bass sound. Nice subtle keyboards during the verses. Good Spanish-style electric guitar after the first chorus. The piano during the last verse is great. The Spanish guitar part ends it.

Matthew Bellamy seems to use every effects pedal/stomp-box ever created. "Stockholm Syndrome" is a good example of guitar effects. This song has a great heavy riff. The drumming is awesome during the verses. I love the dreamy sequencers during the chorus along with piano. A really good guitar solo but it's way too short. "Interlude" is just distorted guitar which reminds me of the famous "Adagio For Strings". "Hysteria" has a great guitar solo. I like the distorted bass sound.

The album is on a roll till it hits "Blackout". A let down after everything that came before it. A ballad with strings in almost waltz-style. But even this song has a great guitar solo in it. "Butterflies & Hurricanes" starts with what sounds like electric piano and vocals. Then cymbals and strings. Great singing in this song. Later things pick up when the whole band comes in. In the middle there is steady bass and a hi-hat pattern with strings and piano. Then just piano and some strings sounding very classical. Electric piano comes back and first part gets repeated.

"The Small Print" has punk style verses and a metal style chorus. These guys sound so damn heavy on that chorus for just a trio. "Endlessly" has weird sounding drums and electric piano. The chorus sounds like techno. 1 1/2 minutes in is a cool backwards sound. Later bass and some nice synths. The part around 2 1/2 minutes is great. Melodic and atmospheric. The last two songs are the least interesting.

Absolution is a great modern rock album. It's probably the band's most proggy effort. I think this deserves 3.5 but I can't really give this 4 stars. It's not something that every prog fan needs in their collection. The sound, production and playing is excellent. But some of the songs are fairly straight forward verse/chorus/solo stuff. At least Muse still does guitar solos in this day and age.

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Send comments to zravkapt (BETA) | Report this review (#334436) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, November 25, 2010

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars The 5 minute straight-jacket

Released in 2003, "Absolution" was Muse's third studio album, and by far their most successful up to that point. Having developed a rapidly increasing audience with their previous album, the band captured the mood of the period perfectly this time around.

It should be said up front that while this is much more than an Indie/pop/rock set, it only really touches on the boundaries of prog, hence the band's prog related assignment on this site.

In some ways this band take me back to the early days of prog. The vocals of Matthew Bellamy for example are very much an acquired taste, in the same way as it took us a lot of persistence to come to terms with the squeaky sounds which emanated from a young Jon Anderson. His style is not unlike that of Thom Yorke (Radiohead), but the setting here is more of a straight rock sound, devoid of the jazz nuances which attract Radiohead. Here we range from the heavy guitar riff driven veering towards punk of tracks such as "Stockholm syndrome" through the emotional power balladry of "Sing for absolution", to the gentle acoustics of the beginning of "Falling away with you".

The band are heavily reliant on Bellamy's vocals, any instrumental development being confined to his guitar and piano digressions. While this does not in itself imply a lack of variation, it does restrict the the opportunities for the tracks to be fully developed. There is the potential here for a number of the tracks to be taken beyond their 5 minute straight- jackets into more adventurous areas.

Impressively, the noisy, riff fuelled "Hysteria" did make the top 10 of the UK singles chart, showing that there is still a discerning singles market there if the right product is placed in front of them. The highlight of the album for me though is the majestic "Blackout", complete with backing by a small orchestra. Incidentally, the video which accompanied this song was inspired by a scene from the film "The wall" (Pink Floyd).

Overall, a fine album by any standard. Both the album and the band's relevance in prog terms is highly marginal, but who of here listens exclusively to prog?

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#447730) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, May 14, 2011

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars It's no secret that Muse main man Matt Bellamy is an unabashed conspiracy buff, and so it's only natural that it should come out here and there in the lyrics of Absolution, the first Muse album to come out after 9/11 (which, of course, set conspiracy fans the world over into overdrive). As well as overt espousal of conspiracy theory in songs like Ruled By Secrecy - whose title recalls an infamous work of conspiracy literature - there's also the apocalyptic and paranoid tone of songs like the title track. Hogwash, of course, but musically speaking this is the perfect way to continue the emotionally overwrought and musically bombastic style Muse hit on in Origin of Symmetry.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#659749) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, March 15, 2012

Latest members reviews

4 stars 8/10 Listen Absolution was a challenge for me. I think he, like Lateralus, was the album that I heard repeated more times to make a review here on the site. Simply could not have formed an opinion about it. There was a sense of division within me, considering both the positive and the negat ... (read more)

Report this review (#1017249) | Posted by voliveira | Monday, August 12, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Circa 2013, Muse may have settled into a somewhat predictable pattern (ironically having attained some career highlights like performing at the Olympics in the process). But in 2004, they were younger and fresher and consolidated their earlier promise to produce a masterpiece and arguably th ... (read more)

Report this review (#1016218) | Posted by rogerthat | Sunday, August 11, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Rating: 10/10 It should be hard trying to sound epic and classical in the 2000's. It's not the '70s, when Pink Floyd, Yes, Genesis and Queen showed us all the way. So, Muse took the risk of sounding grandiloquent, over produced, very pretentious or simply repetitive and boring. But "A ... (read more)

Report this review (#458444) | Posted by Mattiias | Thursday, June 09, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is a fine album from 2003, better than any other work I have heard from Muse. In it I hear many, many influences and similarities from artists such as ELO, Queen, Radiohead, Dredg, and Rush. Is it prog?- in many ways it is: it has some great electronic moments, long songs alternating with ... (read more)

Report this review (#295869) | Posted by mohaveman | Monday, August 23, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Ok, this album seems too perfect. It reminds me of one of these albums that were not even created. You couldn't even imagine anybody in the studio playing or creating these songs. They seem almost biblical, they have always been here. Yes, this is definelty the album were Muse found their sound ... (read more)

Report this review (#258490) | Posted by arcane-beautiful | Wednesday, December 30, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars "This is the end.." The second album I've owned of Muse is also my favourit. The other album I own is 'Black Holes and Revelations' which, I'll admit, has better individual songs then 'Absolution', but the overall enjoyment I get from 'Absolution' far outweighs the enjoyment from 'Black Holes ... (read more)

Report this review (#182857) | Posted by mothershabooboo | Friday, September 19, 2008 | Review Permanlink

2 stars What is wrong with Muse fans? When the Showbiz was a great start from one of the most original alternative rock bands in the 21st century, and Origin Of Symmetry was a succesfull followup for the classic, Absolution is one of the most over rated albums i have come a cross of. The album starts be ... (read more)

Report this review (#163111) | Posted by Confetti | Monday, March 03, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is the END of the WORLD Muse are certainly some of the most bombastic performers today, and this album is where that pomp propelling their music really starts kicking in. Muse are masters of turning a song in to an anthem, which they do quite often on this album. Seen them pull off this le ... (read more)

Report this review (#162128) | Posted by moreitsythanyou | Monday, February 18, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Definitely Muse's best studio album. They mix a batch of good songs into a enjoyable concept album (or possibly psuedo-concept more accurately). This album firmly plants Muse into the realm of good Prog (or Prog-related) players, making them stand out as someone to look at, not just a Radiohead ... (read more)

Report this review (#161718) | Posted by Wallium | Wednesday, February 13, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars In fact, Muse is not a progressive rock band. I consider this fantastic young trio to be a great modern rock band. I saw them live last year and was impressed deeply. They are absolutely stunning live and every rock band should envy them and take them as an example of a strong rock group. Muse p ... (read more)

Report this review (#160583) | Posted by Paper Champion | Saturday, February 02, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Muse-Absolution. I have been listening to Muse ever since the release of Origin of Symmetry, however, Absolution was the first Muse album I fully listened to and also the album that got me Hooked up on their music. This is my first review of the album, I have listened to it countless times. ... (read more)

Report this review (#160106) | Posted by ichigo14 | Monday, January 28, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I first heard Muse from back in my DT fanboy days. while browsing some DT news on their site i stumbled across a quote from Mike Portney in which he stated that Absolution was his favorite album of the last DECADE. well i could only claim ownership of 3 prog cd's at that point, all of them belongi ... (read more)

Report this review (#148105) | Posted by keiser willhelm | Monday, October 29, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Muse?? Part of the Nu-Prog movement?? I was always reluctant to get into Muse when I first heard them, it just didn't grow on me their music. So I got a copy of "Absolution" expecting something very dull, WRONG how WRONG I was!! I happen to like this album and it is not your ordinary alter ... (read more)

Report this review (#110800) | Posted by PROGMAN | Monday, February 05, 2007 | Review Permanlink

2 stars I do not understand why this music is even vaguely classified as progressive. At best it can be classified as alternative rock. Some of the melodies, singing style and Matthew Bellamy's voice evoke unnecessary comparisons to Radiohead. Simply put, Muse is heavier, popish, less sophisticated v ... (read more)

Report this review (#89394) | Posted by spleenache | Sunday, September 10, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars It is a great album. from the beginning to the end the "concept" is there. Absolution, Aphocalypse, the End of the World, Time is running out.You have to change the World.Hysteria. a Dying Atheist. How can anybody doubt about being a concept-album? Apocalypse Please- A great intro. You know h ... (read more)

Report this review (#88252) | Posted by tailsme | Saturday, August 26, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars While it cannot pass as an essential album of prog music, it is, by all means, an excellent addition to a prog collection. It is representative for modern-day rock that tries to be something else than just guys blasting off riffs and who spend more time on their image than on their music. I wi ... (read more)

Report this review (#84831) | Posted by Asphalt | Wednesday, July 26, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars "Absolution" is not a perfect album. You can say it is a good album, but not as good as "Origin Of Symmetry" - I can urnestly say that it's not good as I expected. I'm not a big fan of Muse because I find it difficult to handle this amount of destructive electric guitars for the whole album. Alth ... (read more)

Report this review (#84378) | Posted by Open-Mind | Friday, July 21, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars "Absolution" is definately a must have for all rock fans not just progressive. I was first introduced to this band from my then-girlfriend and, although their ballads can be somewhat .. well boring sometimes, Bellamy still shines and sings his heart out on almost all the tracks on here. An invol ... (read more)

Report this review (#79982) | Posted by Sacrilege | Thursday, June 01, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album is an awesome example of how bands of today should sound: Muse are a really concetrate of a lot of influences : from classical music (the most evident one) to eye blinks to Radiohead, King Crimson and even Queen.... This album sounds EPIC in the purest meaning of the term, it conatin ... (read more)

Report this review (#71338) | Posted by Malve87 | Tuesday, March 07, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars . . .so I'm driving in the car last week and listening to WLIX, which is a new alternative rock station on Long Island in NY. I hear this track and it sounds somewhat familiar but I don't know what it is. They never annouced the songs on air at this station; since a Clash tune followed I fi ... (read more)

Report this review (#65251) | Posted by | Tuesday, January 17, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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