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Muse - The Resistance CD (album) cover




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3.27 | 384 ratings

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Symphonic Team
3 stars Muse's new release is at first listen quite difficult to get into. I found it the most diverse release thus far of the group and as a result it can be an alienating experience. However, it actually grows on you and, like a form of osmosis, you become immersed in this new approach and quite accepting if you allow it. The magnetic aura that Muse exudes is still present but none of the bombastic material of previous works. There is a more distinct symphonic approach, evident and blatant in than the last 3 tracks. A track by track analysis may be helpful if you are considering owning this album.

The album begins quite well with Uprising, a track that captures the familiar Muse sound, if there is such a thing. The guitar work is as accomplished as ever and the vocals soar over the top.

In Resistance there is the immediate feeling that this is a very different Muse album and there is nothing wrong with that as long as the music is engaging. Thankfully for the most part the album delivers and is as compelling as other albums from this great band.

Undisclosed Desires confirms the suspicion that this is a very different sound, in fact it perhaps takes some getting used to. There is a distinct U2 type of sound particularly with the guitars. The track is more R & B than anything else but is well executed.

Unites State of Eurasia is another loud, guitar heavy track that is okay. Immediately one is reminded of the trademark sound of Queen, 'I Want It All' or 'We are the Champions' would have fitted in well with this track. Guiding Light is a melodic, soft ballad that is pleasant to the ears. It is reminiscent on many of the other softer tracks from previous Muse albums.

Unnatural Selection absolutely terrific. Now this is more like it. There is a very good beat that hooks the listener in from the outset and continues to move the song along at an incessant pace. The song structure is innovative with some wonderful guitar work and an incredible bassline. The multi layered instruments are overshadowed by a very emotive vocal performance. The lyrics are interesting but difficult to hear without the lyric sheet. The massive sound is merged with somnambulistic sections that mellow right out, in particular 3:26 where there is hardly any music at all. At almost 7 minutes, the track is a definite standout on the album and would sound great in concert. The end section is heavy and caps off the best track on the album.

MK Ultra, despite the title, is not a song about Mortal Kombat, it is actually a pleasant track with very good guitar throughout. Nothing special but still not a throwaway either.

I Belong to you etc etc takes us into different territory where Muse have never sounded so diverse. There is, dare I say it, almost a hip hop feel and it is not exactly a welcome change. The song is kind of catchy if you let it grab you. The piano sounds excellent on each track of the album and in this case it enhances the sound, saving the track. There is more of a progressive feel to the track as a result as far as time signatures are concerned. It takes a few listens but eventually I accepted this approach. At 2:09 it stops and moves into a somber, melancholy section. The woodwind section at 4:40 enhances the atmosphere and adds another dimension.

Exogenesis: Symphony Part 1 (Overture) begins the massive multi movement suite with an orchestra section that is unexpected but very uplifting. The high pitched vocals exude an angelic, majestic quality and the result is a compelling piece of music.

Exogenesis: Symphony Part 2 (Cross-Pollination) begins with an accomplished piano interlude played with precision. The dramatic scene is set for part 2 of the epic. Once again it is unfamiliar territory for this band but pleasant enough. This bold musical diversion may alienate many fans but hook in many others at the same time. There is no doubt that the musicianship is virtuoso in these instrumental sections. It is a much more refined, gentle, patient approach, without the urgency of previous tracks. At 1:50 the wall of sound thankfully locks in with huge guitars and drums prominent. The structure at times defies logic but it is certainly never dull as you are never sure which direction the music will take. It takes us on a journey with many detours. I love that piece at 2:58 when the sublime violin sounds pad out the sound.

Exogenesis: Symphony Part 3 (Redemption) climaxes the epic on a high note. It begins with minimalist piano that is slow, meandering but intriguing to the ear. This would appeal to the average piano music connoisseur. The track concludes with a very patient, array of sweeping chords and soaring vocals. I would have preferred that all 3 tracks had been merged into one track at about 13 minutes rather than split like this.

This could well be Muse's most ambitious, most emotional album to date and as a result may not appeal to everyone. It becomes difficult to digest at first but there are so many highlights and great instrumental sections that it is still a very accomplished album, though by no means to the standard of excellence of such Muse albums as 'Absolution' or 'Origin of Symmetry'. Perhaps it is unfair to judge this on the merits of these albums as Muse have decided to move into a new AOR direction, but it is difficult not to compare as we Muse fans have come to expect so much from this innovative power trio. However, despite the flaws, the journey you embark on with this album is enjoyable and quite a pleasant experience.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 3/5 |


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