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Muse - Absolution CD (album) cover




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3.85 | 477 ratings

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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!

Sean Trane | 3/5 |


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