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Muse - Absolution CD (album) cover




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3.82 | 486 ratings

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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 "Hysteria", 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?

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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