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2 stars Now dont get me wrong, I really like Muse. 2006's Black Holes album was a classic, and Origin and Absolution are solid alt. rock albums. We prayed and prayed that Muse would finally realise their potential and become the worlds leading prog band (which 06's "Knights of Cydonia" seemed to suggest). However, it is not to be. Instead, we get a funked-up, cheesy, turgid offering, mainstream offering designed to slide delightfully into the hearts and wallets of the Kings of Leon loving public. There is slap bass, woefully Queen-esque backing vocals, and frankly embarassing lyrics from Matt Bellamy on the usual stuff (Conspiracies etc). Instead of prog, they've gone disco. Simple as. Now there is the Exogenesis suite for all us prog lovers, but even this disappoints. Also, why did they feel the need to split it into 3 separate tracks?? To make it appear more listenable to the general public??
Report this review (#239066)
Posted Sunday, September 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Muse have come a long way since their inception in 1994 and have recently paid homage to their hometown, seaside town Teignmouth, with "A Seaside Rendezvous". Two heavily anticipated dates where muse elaborately presented their unheard (unleaked) new material and reacquainted the fans with reworked tracks from their early career. "A Seaside Rendezvous" is set to launch the European tour and pre-empts the release of the fifth full studio album "The Resistance" on the 14/09/09.

If "Black Holes and Revelations" released in 2007 thrust us into a disco beat world of apocalyptic and despotic despair, the presumption for the The Resistance is that we have arrived. The Resistance submerges us into a series of dystopic fantasies where the human soul, streamlined by Bellamy's voice, is seen as the only redemption. Even though the political pragmatism of the lyrics is questionable and in some cases unintentionally comical, the vocals swell beautifully with symphonic activism in each track.

At first it takes a while to catch up with the abstract sonic scope of The Resistance. Uprising, the first single release from the album hits as a cross between Goldfrapp's "Train" and Blondie's "Call Me". Followed by the title track, a Radiohead "Kid A" synth wall introduces a distinctly ABBA induced euro pop melody. These odes provide a good hinge for the journey through the first half of the album as it adventurously sweeps wholeheartedly from pop to virtuoso piano a la Queen in "United States of Eurasia", a track which unashamedly echoes "Bohemian Rhapsody".

The Resistance proceeds into its second half with "Unnatural Selection". Introduced with a pipe organ it takes the form of Tom Waits meets ABBA's "Lay All Your Love on Me". The meat of the track, however, is distinctly Muse and revives the heavy guitar riff based impact of their "Origin of Symmetry" album. The momentum is more than enough to excite and is carried into the next track MK Ultra. Concluding the album is the three part symphony: "Exogenesis". Each part is a slowly evolving expression of chilling realism. The compliment of orchestral movements with guitar and piano work is beautiful, owing a great deal to the orchestration and virtuoso styling of Chopin and Rachmaninov, who play heavily in Bellamy's piano repertoire.

The foundation of "The Resistance" seems rooted in ABBA and Queen with the grandiose vision of progressive rock bands such as Rush and Pink Floyd. However, much of the album is propped up on the strength of these sources whilst the weaker lyrical elements for example "I Belong to You/Mon Caeur S'ouvre à ta Voix" where Bellamy sings in French, are on the threshold of parody.

In essence "The Resistance" is a solid pop album. Bolstered by their huge record label (Warner) and their notoriety for extravagant live performances, this album like "Black Holes and Revelations" will surely receive widespread acclaim. It will doubtlessly leave many earlier fans wondering what happened to the creativity and spontaneity of their previous albums and whether they will see it again.

A. Fionda

Report this review (#239108)
Posted Sunday, September 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
1 stars God, this is awful, this is doing EVERYTHING WRONG, Muse died for me with "The Resistance".

"The Resistance" is a 80's inspired, cheesy alternative rock album, with terrible lyrics, recycling of own songs and obvious bad ideas already badly put into practice by other bands.

The album kicks in with "Uprising", or "Supermassive Black Hole pt.2", really the sound is very similar, only worse, though I think "Uprising" is my favorite song, since until the chorus the music is catchy as hell, and very acceptable. This where it starts to go downhill, "The Resistance" is an awful 80's hymn, the pre-chorus is absolutely terrible and annoying and the chorus well, I have no words, the 80's died! why don't keep it that way? Next we have "Undisclosed Desires", and this is rock bottom, it seems as Chris Cornell and Timbaland are featured in this song, but really, this is one of the worst things I have ever saw a rock band do (besides Cornell's "Scream" of course), the cheesy strings, the dramatic tone, the bad melodies, the electronic drums.... everything went wrong here.

Well, from here, the album starts to get "less awful", "United States Of Eurasia" brings Queen to the scene in such a obvious way that I find it hard to like it, and then the Arabic solo and the Chopin melody at the end, really, what is all that about? For "Guiding Light" they called U2 to sing this stadium rock anthem, this song isn't totally bad, but is so uninspired, so unoriginal, that I find it impossible to like. "Unnatural Selection", well this is where most part of old Muse fans will be happy, you know why? Because it's actually an almost plagiarism of their own work, it starts with an incredible similar melody to another Muse song, then it kicks a "Time Is Running Out" riff, passing through every good old rock song Muse have done, but this fails again, uninteresting and hard to enjoy for all the similarity to Muse's past work.

So finally we get the "cheesy" back, "MK Ultra" and its awful synths and very bad melodies and lyrics, well it's just another bad song! But what comes next really tears everything apart, what had Matt Bellamy in mind when he decided he wanted to sing in operatic style IN FRENCH? Really, the worst thing he could've had thought of, this sounds cheesy, annoying and just really, really bad.

So it ends with Exogenesis, the flashy symphony, which even contains the word "symphony" in the title, well this is full of classical music + rock music clichés, it's dead, little happens that can move me here, I just find it plain boring, and it's mellow, dead, whining and boring.

So here it goes, possibly the worst album I have ever heard in its entirety, since I really didn't listen to Cornell's "Scream".

Report this review (#239175)
Posted Monday, September 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars What i think happens is people listen to an album once, and if they dislike it then that's it, it's crap, keep away from it, chuck it in the bin, banished! Sometimes it takes a while for an album to grow on you, maybe a few listens. After that little sorta cooling off period, if you're addicted, you obviouly like it. If it annoys you, then you dislike it, and you gave it it's chance. But this poor album doesn't seem to be getting any chance from some people, which is very unfortunate. It's almost as though people listen to it and say "this isn't normal muse, they're going r&b and they're like Queen and they aren't what they used to be anymore" and because of this it's bye bye The Resistance.

I've listened to this album twice a night since Thursday, and admittedly on the first listen i wondered what the hell was going on and genuinely was slightly unsure, i took another listen and it felt better, and it continue getting better, and now it's Monday night and i love it! What a terrific piece of alternative rock music this album is, there's so much in here, it has that slight little oomph that BHAR was missing in some of its songs. The addition of synths was a risky move, but i think it paid off alright!

Speaking of synths, plenty present in the opener, Uprising. With previous album openers such as Take A Bow, New Born and Intro/Apocalypse Please, it had plenty to keep up with. It's a pretty good opener, the synth adding a very futuristic feel to it, and good lyrics to back up the theme of the song. Resistance is a very nice song, and one of those songs you won't be sure of on first listen. It is slightly reminiscent of Starlight, it's a very memorable song. It is slightly different to their usual stuff, but if you think this is different just wait til you hear... Undisclosed Desires, the aforementioned r&b styled song. You really won't expect this, but honestly with this song (i believe the weakest of the album) you'll either love it or hate it. Next is the epic United States Of Eurasia (+Collateral Damage), begins with a soft piano and progresses with an almost frightening multi layered vocals, with the orchestra entering and everything, it's startling. Different indeed, and though i'll admit very Queen like, it's the only real part of the album you're reminded of Queen (as opposed to it being filled with Queen styled parts as has been mentioned elsewhere, which is utter rubbish in my opinion). Collateral Damage is Matt playing a version of some piece of music, can't remember the name of it off the top of my head, with the slightly disturbing sounds of children playing and a jet fighter flying overhead, seguing into... Guiding Light, slightly different again, but a nice song, very different guitar solo compared to the solos of old. Not a groundbreaking song but it brings you gently onto the brilliant Unnatural Selection, which contains parts very reminiscent of some older Muse songs, nothing wrong with that at all i don't think, all bands do it. But this is certainly the first full on rock song on the album, very Origin of Symmetry. MK Ultra is also a terrific song, this time not only bringing back some Muse of old, but mixing it with this albums sorta style. I expect if they make another album, we'll possiby be hearing more of this sorta thing. I Belong To You is the final song you're gonna think "what the hell?" when you listen to it. Different indeed, but i think it works well. Matt, as you'll have heard, sings in French in the middle of the song. It's grown on me a lot, brave move indeed and good on him, and this sets us up just nicely for the Exogenesis Symphony (Part 1 Overture, Part 2 Cross Pollination, Part 3 Redemption). I was slightly gutted to find it really is 3 seperate songs, i thought maybe you could listen to it all together as a song without noticing the change between each part. However it's brilliantly done, Starting off with the Orchestra, the band soon enter as Matt sings words you can barely make out, he uses his voice more as an instrument here i think, and then we enter the next part, mostly piano, with an interlude of singing and the band, and finally the touching final part, which begins with the piano again, and Matts plea to start over, the song ends with the orchestra and the piano, a beautiful piece of music indeed. Again, if you don't quite get the feeling the first time, do listen again.

One thing i'll say, the lyrics...they're not even as bad as people say. They're perfectly entitled to write songs about whatever they wish. It seems as though if you go onto a topic such as conspiracy theories, apocalypse, politics, your lyrics suck. Come on people, what about Pink Floyds Piper at the Gates of Dawn? Yes' Close to the Edge (most works by Yes in fact), or Rush's Sci-Fi epic 20 minute pieces. Some of the best albums made there, nobodies slagging the hell out of Jon Anderson for his utterly ridiculous meaningless lyrics. The lyrics on this album are fine. Nuff said!

Is it worth 5 stars? I think so, listen to it in it's entirety and it becomes something else, much like i said with BHAR. It's got some very solid songs, and a few masterpieces, and i really respect Muse for taking the plunge with a work like this in the present day, very alternative indeed. Here's hoping they expand on things like the Exogenesis Symphony for future works! The further into the album, the more epic!

Once again i'll say, don't judge it on a first listen, or indeed a second. Some of my very favourite albums and songs took me a while to actually get into or have the patience to give a proper listening. Obviously it varies in someway to the older albums, but every album has changed in some way from one to another. If you loved BHAR though, you'll certainly enjoy this.

Uprising - 4/5 Resistance - 5/5 Undisclosed Desires - 3/5 United States of Eurasia - 4/5 Guiding Light - 4/5 Unnatural Selection - 5/5 MK Ultra - 5/5 I Belong To You - 4/5 Exogenesis Symphony (Pts 1-3) - 5/5

Report this review (#239293)
Posted Monday, September 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars Well Muse sertinly pulled a fast one on us....or a slow one.

They tryed something new within the scope of their own creative sphere, and came up with 'The Resistance', trying to be more 'synphonic' developing their deep emotional conection to the music, while not losing that Muse feel. Although, they fell short on really creating something new. It sounds as though they were doing a throw back to their 'Absolution' album with alot of these songs. Exspeshily with Mattew's (almost over) use of the classical piano.

The actual songs on here arn't bad per-say. But that isin't to say that we haven't already heard much better ramditions of them on their other works. It seems alot of these inovating Brittish Pop/Rock/Prog bands are looking back for insperation for their new albums instead of forward. I give the band 'Keane' as an exsample with their last year failure of 'Perfect Symmetry' which sounds so much like the 80s music that Neo-Prog was revolting against, and 'The Resistance' is on a similar page.

Unlike 'Perfect Symmetry', there are more than just a few audible songs, in fact, 'The Resistance' is one of those albums you can put on and listen from start to finish without skipping a song, which is a bonis. I get enjoyment out of the music because I don't mind these flaws the album presents. That being said, for a Muse album, and for a Progressive album, it is somewhere between 'Bad' and 'Ok'. Just because I get enjoyment out of something doesn't mean it's good.

The main let down for me is their Exogenesis Synphony. I was expecting so much more from this after their 'Black Holes...' album. There was no progression from these three songs, and they seemed to build it up to something it wasn't. For a 'Synphony' it's lacking in being Synphonic. Just because you add classical music to a pop album doesn't make it a Synphony. Yes at times it sounds like 'Debussy' and 'Beethoven', but thats just it. It SOUNDS like them, but it isin't them. It adds to the major drawback to the album which is it sounds like alot of things, but really isin't anything new. Hell, even 'Uprisng' starts out like a mishmash of the Doctor Who Theme and Blondie's "Call Me".

In the end, if you enjoy Muse, I'd recomend this album. But thats about it. If you're looking to get into Muse, do not start with this. Try 'Black Holes' or 'Absolution' as a starting point. I'd even go so far to say go and get 'HAARP', their true masterpiece in live form. Don't start here, you will get the wrong taste in your mouth.

2 stars for those of us who can stand it.

Report this review (#239594)
Posted Wednesday, September 16, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album needs more than one listening to, that is for sure. I was worried that I wouldn't like it on my first listen, and even a little unsure on my second. Now it seems like every song is in my head. Every Muse album, I think, needs a little warming up to. It may seem, the first time through, cheesy and too synth heavy without much complexity, there are many layers underneath the casual listen. Even songs like "Uprising" which seem very simple have layers that only reveal themselves after a few listens. And for the fan who can't stand the change from other Muse albums, there's "MK Ultra", which is in the style of and just as good as any Origin of Symmetry song. Exogenesis, the symphonic section of the album, is a reason all its own to buy The Resistance; it starts slowly but surely and reaches a crescendo in the second part, afterwards ending beautifully. The symphony is exactly what more progressive fans were asking for, and I believe that it was delivered perfectly. Hopefully Muse can do more of that in the future, because it was certainly the most moving part of the album. I feel no problem with giving this album 5 stars, and I hope that those of you who disliked the album initially can give it another few listens, because its still Muse even if it sounds a little different.
Report this review (#239666)
Posted Wednesday, September 16, 2009 | Review Permalink
mystic fred
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Re-classify Muse as Symphonic Prog..or Pop?

Many mixed reviews on "The Resistance", I received the album in vinyl box set form and have given it a few spins and very impressed overall, the band are trying to break new ground here but may puzzle some fans.

"Uprising , Resistance , Undisclosed Desires" are very catchy Muse songs in style, though during "United States of Eurasia/Collateral Damage" and "Guiding Light" I really thought I was listening to Queen, should that be a compliment ? "Unnatural Selection" is classic Muse, a standout track.

As something of a latecomer to the world of Muse I may be a bit more open minded and receptive to new ideas the band are trying, this album is not "Absolution" as they seem to have strayed into some traditional classical territory on "Exogenesis: Symphony "...

I really enjoy this section of the album, though I think it could alienate many fans. As something of a fan of classical piano music I noticed influences from Chopin (Nocturne No.9 Op.2) on "United States of Eurasia". Saint-Saens and Rachmaninov came to mind within the Symphony, very few manage to meld Classical and Rock music successfully though they have managed it seamlessly in "Symphony", especially the opening movement - fabulous!

Overall the album package is very well presented (2Gb memory stick worth a fiver on Ebay), good quality vinyl but I wish they'd included the 5.1 surround DVD-A, then I would have felt I'd got my fifty quid's worth...

Report this review (#239693)
Posted Thursday, September 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars You can play a good game of "spot the song" here. "Uprising" starts off sounding like a glam rock version of Battles' "Atlas", then steals the riff from Billy Idol's "White Wedding". "Resistance" features a piano figure which sounds like the one from U2's "New Year's Day" and "United States of Eurasia" starts off like "Let It Be" before almost launching into "We are the Champions". Yes, Muse manage to sound more like Queen than Queen on this one.

Despite this, Muse have pulled off a very enjoyable album here. Powerful production and they can produce the good live as they showed last night on Jools Holland. Lots of classical influences here and of course we have the three-part sci-fi epic "Exogenesis Symphony" to show their prog credentials.

Despite laying themselves open to charges of plagiarism, this is a good, if not particularly prog apart from the last track, album.

Report this review (#240313)
Posted Saturday, September 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Okay, so let's get this out of the way very quickly. Muse is a band that can write songs and albums for people who know little about music as well as the know-it-alls. They've proven that further with the release of their newest album, The Resistance. There's definitely a shift in sound and writing. It is "warmer" and more mature than what they've done in the past. Equally, I hear a varied array of influences ranging from The Beatles to U2 to Placebo. There's a good amount of structure (a key component to a good prog album) but the songs are also good on their own, for the most part. "Uprising" and "I Belong To You" reinforce the concept of the album yet make a nice and sharp statement separately. All in all I think that it was definitely a success although it takes a few listens to really get under your skin. The standout song, I think, is "Exogenesis - Symphony Part I (Overture)". I listened to this album for the first time at about 4am on a Wednesday night while I was unwinding... and when Exogenesis started, I actually lifted my head up and checked the CD player to make sure that it was the same album. It reminds me of something out of an epic sci-fi adventure flick. Gives me chills each time.
Report this review (#240330)
Posted Saturday, September 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
Errors and Omissions Team
4 stars OK, I follower guide by one person, whose opinion I quite appreciate and give "The Resistance" a chance. I already had it since yesterday, but didn't want to listen this before their previous releases. I'll try to evaluate this, but I can't compare, which prevents.

It's new. Undisclosed Discoveries presents it on full scale. This is not necessary bad, but this moves their sounds closer towards pop. Very electronic sounding album. There's a genre of music, which describes it better, but I forgot the name. I understand this as some kind of concept album, even I so far didn't understand the story. I should recognize it when I saw the name of album and also songs. But after seeing United States Of Eurasia and proven by listening, it reminded me 1984 (as I said, it can be nineteen eighty four tribute), done in Queen style when singing chorus. But 3:43 towards the end of song is some also well known melody. Maybe something by Ennio Morriccone, or even some past masters (17-18-19th century). Nevermind. If it's plagiarist behaviour, then one eccentric prog related band is stealing from other prog related, also eccentric (in matter of their times, Freddie was quite drag force of Queen). However, one with rating not connected thing, I don't like how they look (this Green Day style for young), or how they behave on stage. But mindless numbers of stupid fans, that's something what every very famous artist have. Some enjoy it, but some also have other fans. Like people who keep posting reviews here. Or those who can think about music, not just "listen to radio". Because it's hard to decide whether they're trying to become prog, or to walk their beaten path.

Every song here follows one thing that both pleases and haunts me in music. Melody, when there's tone and you expect something that will continue (from your memory, that you heard similar song in past) and it actually do continue in way you're expecting it to go. That's not so prog, because it cuts effort to be one in half (and divides it into four thirds. Don't ask me why, you also don't wonder why Discworld had five elephants, but have just four now). But we're talking about prog-related, your rating system have to be adaptable and fair to these non-prog ones. And also, I like this record. And also they managed to give pieces together with good skill.

4(+), because the Muses whispered it to me.

Report this review (#240331)
Posted Saturday, September 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars A new "Muse" album is always an important rock moment in my agenda.

Just because I am a long time fan, and I was particularly curious to discover "The Resistance" since I'm going to experience my second concert with the band in November (Antwerp). It is true to say, that their live sets are really great. As a cue, I have to tell you that I was rather charmed with "Absolution" and only moderately with "Black Holes".

So, what about this release?

Well, that their music is still very energetic and catchy ("Uprising", "Resistance"). Some classical "Muse" item for "Undisclosed Desires" won't let the fan in unknown territories Another very good song which closes a fine trilogy of openers.

We are also used that their albums start quite brilliantly, but were tending to decrease in quality towards the last third of their works; so let's wait for this one?

"US Of Eurasia" is a fine rock ballad à la "Unintended". An interesting Oriental break speeds it up at half time and provides some originality in this song. The quiet piano finale conveys such a tranquil flavour indeed...Another good one just as "Unnatural Selection" which is another winner: a typical "Muse" rock song as we all know very well. It starts rather slow and then all of a sudden, it explodes jolly good as "Muse" can do.

I guess that this song is a brilliant summary of "Muse" music: solid, wild, melodic, pop & catchy. I like this mix extensively. The lenght of the song (almost seven minutes) also allows the band to explore different styles. A quite convincing tune for sure.

It is also true to tell that some passages are somewhat "Queen" oriented. But I can't complain about this.

The next song is quite a classic "Muse" affair: on the heavy rocking edge which is the side that I most prefer with this band ("MK Ultra"). I was never too pleased with their light rock ballads that were filling the last third of some of their previous work. Nothing as such here. Even if "I Belong To You" is somewhat mellow and pompous.

So far this album is fully in line with their previous records (even if upbeat oriented) and there are virtually no reasons at all to be disappointed with this album. The only moment during which the band IS different is of course during the mini-suite "Exogenesis".

An orchestra has been even added to offer some extra dimension to this piece of work. Oriental mood, spacey landscapes: yes this is different to what the band has used their fans so far. And it is warmly welcome to tell you the truth (even if somewhat too classical to my taste).

"The Overture" is grandiose at times, "Cross-Pollination" holds some Gershwin tenderness combined with the power of a true "Muse" track. "Redemption" which is the closing part of this trilogy is probably one of the most melodic "Muse" moment available here. Moving my prog friends.

I am only lacking some more smoother links between the different sections to give a feeling of unity. But anyway, the band tried something different and should be granted for.

To make a long story short, "The Resistance" is a very good rock album (even tinted with prog during the closing track). It sits between "Absolution" (which is my favourite of the band - five stars) and each other previous albums (which I have rated with three stars).

Four stars for this resistance work. I'm looking forward to see them live again in a very near future. I really wonder how they would include "Exogenesis" in their set (if at all possible).

Report this review (#240482)
Posted Sunday, September 20, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars When I heard three of the tracks from 'The Resistance' prior to the release of the album, I was a bit concerned, it seemed like a very different style from the last album. But on buying it last Monday and hearing it a few times now, I have to say it is a fantastic record! It isn't a huge step away from their progress on 'Black Holes and Revelations'. Hearing the tracks on a decent hi-fi, as opposed to TV/radio, made the songs come alive. There is so much more depth in the songs and while it may not be everybody's cup of tea I think it is their most interesting release to date.

It must be difficult for a band who want to move on and progress their music because you'll always get the old guard who just want more of the same, and no matter what direction they choose they'll never please everyone - Damned if you do, damned if you don't. But change they must, otherwise people will get sick of the same old, same old (although that didn't happen with Oasis! LOL).

I'm happy that Muse have moved on as the new album is a masterpiece (IMO). If you've only played it once and disliked it, give it another is definitely a grower. Also, I notice some people seem to be complaining about the lyrics on this record! Why? They're no different than on any other Muse release! Is it because they are not being drowned out by the music they're easier to pick out?

Matt's vocal style is different on 'The Resistance', but Dom's drumming and Chris's thunderous bass work definitely retain the Muse sound. Admittingly, this is a more accessible album than their previous discs but if that gains Muse a bigger slice of the world market then more power to them. I for one am sick of talentless clothes pegs hogging the charts with insipid pap.

However this new album is received, I'm still looking forward to seeing them on tour in November because live, THEY ROCK!

Report this review (#240840)
Posted Tuesday, September 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
2 stars 'The Resistance' - Muse (3/10)

Alright... I think I've just recovered from (hopefully) my biggest musical dissapointment of 2009. Having not been a huge fan of Muse, I was still very much looking forward to the release of this album. Having heard such great things about how the album was apparently, 'symphonic' and 'progressive,' I naturally had very high hopes that Muse was going to finally release something worthy of being called a 'masterpiece.' It's safe to say that's nothing near masterful at all.

The album is more or less a collection of some listenable, but forgettable pop tracks, one or two good songs ('United States Of Eurasia' and the title track) a poor excuse for a symphony - which I will go into painful detail with - and wait... an Rn'B song? Doesn't sound like a very winning formula to me.

Listening to the album and being dissapointed with the overall product, I had to force myself to get through the shorter songs so I could make my way to the core of the matter; the symphonic 'masterpiece' that Matt Bellamy had alledgedly composed. What it actually turns out to be however, is a smattering of string instruments playing slow, droning arpeggios, and the occasional whimper from Bellamy. Moreover, I was expecting a work of epic proportion; with a proper climax and a progression that crosses over many feelings and emotions. What 'Exogenesis Symphony' turns out to be is three very quiet songs that go absolutely nowhere.

'The Resistance' has left me with a bit of an empty feeling. I laud the band on at least trying to go into unexplored territory though!

They can't all be zingers!

Report this review (#241113)
Posted Wednesday, September 23, 2009 | Review Permalink
The T
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I had written a long and detailed review of this album but the website crashed on me when I submitted it. Therefore, I will just say:

- The production is great. MUSE are excellent producers now.

- The songwriting is not that great. A few standout tracks ("Unnatural Selection", "The Resistance", "MK Ultra") mask the lesser ones (the whole "Exegesis Symphony").

- Quoting Chopin and Camille Saint-Saens literally just for the sake of doing it proves nothing more than the fact that Bellamy has musical culture way beyond rock. And that he can play, too.

- U2 and QUEEN are constant reference points in many of the tracks (including the title track and the more-than-obvious "United States of Eurasia".) MUSE has stopped sounding like MUSE with the exception of their more dramatic, better crafted songs ("Unnatural Selection".)

- The album is a cliche-fest. But the cliches are applied masterfully.

- The album is a pop record. very good at that. But there's almost nothing here that can match the subversion, the innovation and originality of "Absolution" or even some moments in "Origin of Symmetry" and "Black Holes and Revelations".

- There's really very little "resisting" in "The Resistance". The album is an adaptation to the system by a band that has adopted it for its own benefit.

- It absolutely sucks to have written a LONG review and have an error eliminate it forever. It takes all the will to write reviews away from the reviewer.

- For any prospective PA reviewer: please write your review on MSword or any other word processor, and save it constantly, lest you lose everything and have to write a ridiculous, almost-argument-less review like this one. Do NOT write directly in the album's page.

Report this review (#241409)
Posted Friday, September 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars A new MUSE album, another chance to explore the dramatic, bombastic world of Bellamy and co. Unfortunately, in this case, their world proves to be shallower, less bombastic and far less entertaining than I would have hoped.

The album is built around the keyboard more than the guitar, a marked departure from their previous work. However, they still manage to sound like MUSE: a proliferation of arpeggios, straightforward instrumentation and good, solid songwriting see to that. Having waited to review this album, I can't help noticing that many reviewers believe they sound like anything but MUSE: QUEEN, BATTLES, BILLY IDOL, BLONDIE, QUEEN (of course) - and, I'd like to add, ULTRAVOX, all get a mention. I think that's part of listening to a new pop album: our minds hold thousands of songs, and if something we hear rings a bell, the memory starts playing in our head. This happened to me, like it clearly did to other reviewers, so I waited to review the album until the songs took on their own personalities in my head.

In my view this album comes in two parts. The first two thirds is made up of excellent pop songs with a sprinkling of prog sensibilities: 'Uprising' is an in your face, high-rotation, catchy pub song with a sci-fi vibe and a thunderous beat, while the brilliant 'United States of Eurasia' contains one of the best marrying of orchestra and rock band I've heard in a long time. And that QUEEN bit, of course. I truly thought they were going to bust out 'We Are The Champions'. The lovely middle-eastern section really lifts the song, and the Chopin outro emphasises the message, with the sounds of kids playing eventually overshadowed by the aircraft overhead. Good work.

Other songs in the first part also work well. The title track has that odd Beatlesque pre-chorus moment, but I'm all for something different. 'Undisclosed Desires' has attracted a deal of criticism for being an R&B track, but my question is: is it a GOOD R&B track? The answer is yes. The chorus sustains this song and I suspect it will do well in the charts. 'Guiding Light' is the Ultravox moment. On first listen I thought someone had chucked 'Vienna' into the CD player. For all that it takes on its own personality fairly quickly. 'Unnatural Selection' is the obligatory guitar track a la 'Plug In Baby' or 'Hysteria' but is not as convincing as either - ironically, because of the proggy middle section, which seems out of place to me. In fact, a number of these tracks sound like the liver versions of tracks from previous albums, interspersed with odd riffs and piano solos that do nothing but distract from the momentum of the song.

Unfortunately the last third of the album is far less convincing. 'MK Ultra' is nondescript and 'I Belong To You' is completely ruined by the Saint-Saens interpolation. An overt grab for the girls, it sets my teeth on edge. And coming in for real criticism is the thirteen-minute so-called 'Symphony', Exogenesis. This is what the prog community was waiting for, and my goodness have they been disappointed. Boys, boys, didn't anyone tell you a symphony has FOUR movements? This is no more a symphony than is Brahms' 'Lullaby'. 'Arpeggio for Strings, Band and Mumbling Singer' would be a better title. 'Symphony' implies drama. This is as dramatic as a plate of soggy noodles. Truly awful, with no redeeming features. Where's the outrageous, fun-loving MUSE of 'Knights of Cydonia'? You want a proper 10-minute symphony by a rock musician? Check out the truly brilliant four-part 'Second Rendez-Vous' by JEAN-MICHEL JARRE - that's how it's done, lads.

Some keepers here, but ultimately this album doesn't really work, spoiled as it is by the dreadful, underwhelming 'symphony'. Approach with caution.

Report this review (#241933)
Posted Monday, September 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#243533)
Posted Wednesday, October 7, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Muse- The Resistance (2009) Adored by their throng of fans for their pomp and circumstance, and for Matt Bellamy's guitar and vocal histrionics; hated by their detractors for precisely the same reasons, Muse are certainly one of the more unique rock bands in recent memory. Radiohead meets Queen, as I have heard them described. And that is not too far an assessment from the truth. Bellamy has a very unique falsetto voice, which indeed sounds like Thom Yorke having a baby with Freddy Mercury.

Their new release 'The Resistance' is their most challenging and distinct work yet. Very few modern rock acts will dare to reference classical music, and work with an orchestra. Dream Theater are one such act, Muse are another. Bellamy proudly credits composers Frederic Chopin and Camille Saints-Saen on the liner notes. His arrangement of one of Chopin's nocturnes on the standout track 'The United States of Eurasia' is very moving and effective, not to mention quite unexpected. People focus on Bellamy's vocals all too often, and do not give enough credit to the fact that he is a great guitar and piano player, as well as a fine composer and arranger. 'Eurasia' is definitely one of the best numbers here. Muse go all out, and deliver one of the most epic tracks of their career.

This is a very different record, even by Muse standards. Opening track 'Uprising' has a beat reminiscent of a football hooligan anthem; mixed somehow with the soundtrack of a science fiction movie. All Muse albums could be the soundtrack to a sci-fi epic. Over the top is the order of the day; and I would not have it any other way! My personal favourite track is 'Unnatural Selection', a straight up, instantly recognisable as Muse, rocker, with a similarity to 'New Born' on the 'Origin Of Symmetry' album. That is not to say that there are few surprises on the disc. 'Undisclosed Desires' is the first Muse song with no guitar or piano. It's a very synth heavy piece, kind of like 80s Depeche Mode.

Try the closing three part epic 'Exogenesis'. Epic stuff indeed. If you are a fan of Muse, this disc will suit you to a tee. If not, this will probably not convert you. They vary the pomp-rock-version-of-Radiohead formula enough here, so maybe newcomers will find this one the most digestible.

Report this review (#244572)
Posted Tuesday, October 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars And endless red tape to keep the truth confined

As you might have known through my reviews on Muse so far, I am actually not into the kind of its music even though it does not mean I don't like it. It's just a matter of longevity ... a test by which until how long I can keep the music in the future. The longevity tests that I have made for albums like Yes 'Relayer', Genesis 'The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway', King Crimson 'In the Court of Crimson King', ELP 'Tarkus', Gentle Giant 'The Power and The Glory' and many other legendary albums have succeeded in fact more than thirty (30) years and I still can enjoy them with no boringness at all. But I don't know with Muse, really. But, to say that the music is a mundane one, I don't think it's a wise standpoint, in my view. That's why when I got this UK pressing CD that was given to me by my sister Didy last week when she returned back from UK, I kept thinking how long can I survive listening the kind of music like this. I know that Muse is now a BIG thing in rock music industry where their albums as well as concerts were attended by thousands crowd. So I admire them on this.

As I am a prog reviewer, I have tried my best to view this album from a musical composition using five dimensions: melody, harmonies, complexities, change of style and structural integrity. This album ranks quite high on melody and harmonies, as well as structural integrity. I don't think you would challenge me on this because all songs contained here are basically melodious in nature. And I salute Muse on this skill. The harmonies resulting from the interaction among instruments, programming as well as vocals are also excellent. While the album moves the music in similar style from start to end with various melodies among songs, the album seems like cohesive as a whole. Therefore the album passes the test on structural integrity. The album scores medium on changes of style between one segment to another as some songs have good changes of style with smooth transition like 'Unnatural Selection'.

For some reason I enjoy this album very much despite there is very little complexity with the composition, but I enjoy it ...Well, sometime I need something easy and upbeat like this one. The opening track 'Uprising' is a simple composition with great grooves and interesting lyrics. The power of the album is basically on the solid message they convey to the world on various issues. The title track is also a nice composition. On 'United States of Eurasia' I can sense a heavy influence from Queen and eastern music. The melody on the eastern music is really nice and innovative. It's an excellent track and one of my favorites. Another fave is 'Unnatural Selection' which basically an excellent rocker with sudden change into an ambient bluesy styles in the middle of the track. It's really nice. 'MK Ultra' is also an excellent composition especially on combining guitar and keyboard, moving the vocal in energetic way with some musical riffs. The album contains an epic on 'Exogenesis' that comprises three movements with heavy influence of classical music.

Overall, it's hard to deny that this is an excellent album from Muse. Keep on proggin' ..!!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#245168)
Posted Sunday, October 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars When I purchased this CD from the local record chain, the guy at the counter looked at me and said, "That's a really good album."

"Good," I said, although I had my reservations. Could he understand my musical taste, which these days involves ordering more and more music online because what I want can't be found among stores such as the one he was working in?

But that had been the trend of late. Whenever I bought a new album this year at the record shop, I would always be told how good it was by the people behind the counter. And while, I haven't purchased anything from them this year that was really amazing yet, they've always told me that I had picked a good album. And so far, this year, I've bought almost exclusively prog or prog- related music from them. I suppose that they are music lovers, just like me, and that they recognise creativity in music. Perhaps they, too, shop for music primarily on the internet where the selection is vast, but know that among the music they sell, the likes of Dream Theater, The Mars Volta, Porcupine Tree, and Muse are more likely to lead listeners down the road of wanting that music.

With that in mind, I decided to take his words at face value, and listened to "The Resistance" with expectations of good music.

The first few tracks, from Uprising to Unnatural Selection, are great rocking tracks. Listening to them with the volume turned up, I can't help but move my body around to the catchiness in the music. Unfortunately, they have already, for the most part, faded in awesomeness over multiple listens, which is a bit of a disappointment.

One thing I'd like to point out is that in United States of Eurasia, Muse really manages to sound like Queen at points, mostly with the multi-part vocals. It is a nice, epic track, and one of my favorite of the first half.

As a further side note, I found the keyboards in Uprising sounded very familiar, as though they actually came from another Muse song. I was concerned that I'd be hearing a lot of echoes like that throughout the album, but thankfully that was the only place where I got that feeling.

I Belong To You is a bit of a quieter, more romantic piece that even have some french added in that is actually part of the opera Samson and Delilah. While it's not quite the same as writing their own classical-themed music, like many Prog rock acts do, you have to give Muse props for integrating opera into their music, and it works quite well. I must admit that this is one of my favorite tracks on the album so far and the one that has held up best over multiple listens (other than their epic, that is).

The gears really shift with Exogenesis, the 12+ minute epic at the end of the album. We are treated with some strongly classically-influenced music with a lot of piano and string instruments tossed in, and it is less based on the vocals than the rest of the album, more on the music. I really appreciate it. One part even reminded me a bit of "Rhapsody in Blue".

The way that Muse displays the track shows some of the difference in aesthetics between them and a "real" prog rock band; if a band such as Yes, Flower Kings, etc. had done this track, it would have been called: Exogensis Symphony: Overture/Cross-Pollination/Redemption.

This album doesn't quite bear up over multiple listens but it is a great combination of hard rocking material that really pumps you up in the front, and some more gentle, classical-oriented music at the end. Overall, a great 3 star album.

Report this review (#256846)
Posted Saturday, December 19, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Wow, 2 amazing albums, the next one should be

This album was a bit of a let down to be honest. After you make 2 great albums, you kind of expect the next one to be great as well. But it was just a massive let down. It was good i guess but it was not spectacular.

It almost felt like they were trying to become something they were not, using influences and making them sound way too much like the influences at times. It could have been a great album, but it was let down at times by weaker tracks.

1. Uprising - This song is infectously catchy. It was an obvious single choice and is a good song. The lyrics aren't great though.

2. Resistance - This song reminds me of HIM for some reason. It has a gothicy vocal melody. It is another great pop song on the album.

3. Undiclosed Desires - Another good pop song. The symphonic electronic main riff reminds me of the Sugababes. I would have been a little bit more experimental with the arrangement.

4. United States Of Eurasia (+Collateral Damage) - You could brand this song as a Queen rip off, but Iove this song. At times, the Queen We Are The Champions stolen vocal lines are noticable, but the song is quite epic. The orchestration harmonising with the piano riffs is amazing as well. The end part is quite good as well, Matt is an amazing piano player. I didn't really like the lyrics though, why would one want to write a song about the problems between Europe and Asia...there is none.

5. Guiding Light - This song is national anthem like, but it is quite bland.

6. Unnatural Selection - This song is more upbeat but is still bland. The end part is quite intresting though.

7. MK Ultra - This song is a perfect example of how electronics and orchestras, do mix.

8. I Belong To You (+Mon C?ur S'Ouvre à Ta Voix) - This is probabbly my favourite song on this album, but does anyone notice that the bassline in this song, sounds a bit too much like Ruby by the Kaiser Chiefs. The french part was werid but interesting.

9. Exogenesis: Symphony: Part 1 (Overture) - I have a masisve bone to pick with this song. A symphony is a piece of music played by an orchestra where the orchestra plays through the whole thing. At times only piano and vocals are heard, and instead of focusing on the orchestra itself, this piece concentrates on solo instruments at times, which means that it is a concerto grosso. Another bone to pick with this piece, is that this section, which wrongly named Overture, should actually be an overture. There is only 1 theme being presented in this piece and you don't even hear it again. Rather than that, it is quite beautiful.

10. Exogenesis: Symphony: Part 2 (Cross-Pollination) - Again, piano is only heard, not a symohony. And if this was classically inspired, the basso continuo (i.e. the piano) wasn't used in classical music. God, Matt Belamy can pull the sheet over dumb peoples eyes, but not to those that know anything about classical music. Although, it is quite good.

11. Exogenesis: Symphony: Part 3 (Redemption) - The end of this mock symphony. Probabbly the best part though.

CONCLUSION - Like I said, this album could have been great but it wasn't. Don't buy this album if you want to find out about Muse, there are better albums. Although, it was quite good, not amazing, but good.

Report this review (#258515)
Posted Wednesday, December 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Muse's fifth release is arguably their strongest. The music draws from an even wider array of influences than before, yet still with that very distinct Muse sound.

"Uprising" and "Resistance" are fantastic to open the album, "The United States of Eurasia" and "Guiding Light" reek of Queen (that's a compliment in my book), and they manages to fit in some true prog rock in "Unnatural Selection" and the closing "Exogenesis" symphony.

This is not strictly prog rock, but any prog fan who has an appreciation for good rock/pop music should get a kick out of this one. It's epic, bombastic stuff; and these guys have the talent to back it up and a strong sense of good melody. Miles ahead of most pop music being released these days.

4 ****

Report this review (#263779)
Posted Monday, February 1, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars Must admit straight away that this album is a big dissapoinment to me. The previous album (Black Holes And Revelations) had some thrilling prog moments while Absolution before that is a fantastic energetic effort full of great songs.The Resistance on the other hand is just flat and over stretched seeming to me like an ageing band that is struggling with its direction and now lacking the adventurous spirit that carried itself into the limelight in the first place. The Orwellian themes of being oppressed just seems very artificial and perhaps too 'right on' .This is no distopian nightmare more restless night wondering if you remembered to put the rubbish out for early morning collection.

Am I being too harsh(?!) Previous reviews suggest this has good qualites and certainly it can't be denied that its well produced with plenty of melody throughout.They've also had a stab at something proggy with Exogenesis but I find it all a bit too ponderous and again lacking in any real excitement.Matt Bellamy is an awesome talent but the question for me is whether he has outgrown the band and would be better able to express himself with more 'qualified' musicians capable of appreciating his talent and therefore challenging him to achieve greater heights.In a similar situation many decades ago a certain Mr K Emerson came to that conclusion.

Report this review (#268011)
Posted Wednesday, February 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
1 stars After the proggy Absolution and the harder-edged alternative rock Black Holes, The resistance comes with a definitely poppier sound and on the first listen, most progheads will be pleased with the trio's latest offering. However that feeling soon erodes and segues into disillusion, as the group has become very (I avoid to say completely) derivative. Behind a classy artwork gatefold sleeve, Muse delivers the album I wasn't expecting them to, but then again it was recorded in Italy.

The opening Uprising is a cross of 80's electro-pop and post-punk with the usual Yorke- derived singing, the whole thing sounding like OMD, JD or DM, but in better than all of these, because Muse are good musicians. The title track has an early Radiohead feel with the piano (from Absolution) returning and an interesting "prog" ending. Undisclosed Desires plunges more than ever in 80's electro-pop and here we are dismayed to hear Human League, Spandau Ballet or Japan. WTF, guys!!! Glad I only rented this album >> I'd be in a rage had I spent my money to buy it). United States Of Eurasia has got Queen written all over it and they go as far as doing a bit of Bohemian Rhapsody crossed with We Are The Champions, before veering Arabian Yorke-Mercury-esque. I am appalled here, even if this is impeccably played. I won't comment much on the soppy-sobby whiney Guiding Light or the pre-punk Unnatural Selection with a nice middle section and Hendrix- esque guitar. And I haven't spoken of the lifting that they actually acknowledge from Chopin and Saint-Saens, but since they claim it?..I Belong To You is more in the line of Electric Light Orchestra and so is the three-part mini-suite Exogenesis, both coming with a bunch of strings that comes damn close to a Swiss-cheese fondue, the latter benefiting from a superb illustration in a rather nice booklet.

Is this album as catastrophic as my rating and review point out??? I'm sure any will protest and advance many qualities that I won't deny. But my point is that this kind of album is a rehash of the past, if not a rip-off of it, at least intellectually speaking. And that's what I can't stand, really?. Muse had gotten me used to a better integrity. The Resistance is clearly made to please at the masses (their prerogatives, really), but I'm also entitled not to like it all?. despite its many qualities. .

Report this review (#270567)
Posted Tuesday, March 9, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Muse are a band that I typically first learned about from my then teenaged daughters a few years ago. When one of them bothered to travel from Finland to Poland just to see them live, and another started banking the band down my throat, I had to find out what it was that would make this band so special to them. I had an impression that Muse only has one tune, that they twist and turn and give new titles to.

I gave many listenings to their earlier albums, but only Black Holes and Revelations had any real impact on me. When I found out that they would start their Resistance tour from Helsinki (in Oct 2009), I got their new album and booked a ticket. I expected myself to be the only grown-up among 12 thousand screaming teenies, but alas, there were people of all ages digging them.

Resistance is not a bad album at all. Muse are now experimenting with electronics and flirt with classical music. As a composer of modern classical myself, I'm amazed how well it works when they're nicking from classical, as in United States of Eurasia and I Belong To You. When they're writing original works in romantic style, as in Exogenesis: Symphony their relative amateurism is revealed, but this pompous triptych still works fine. It seems Muse no longer have only one tune, but they now have 1,75 tunes to choose from... ☺

There are some very strong pop tunes on Resistance, like the opening three, and maybe Guiding Light. The very obvious Queen-sound-alike passage in United States... disturbs me a bit, but I like the song's lyrics. I wonder how many Bellamy dolls have been burned by the Bushian Americans...

Resistance is not a very proggy album, but it convinces me that if these guys want to go deeper into prog in the future, they surely have the ability to write strong tunes in their own style. It remains to be seen where their path is taking them.

Report this review (#273499)
Posted Monday, March 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Best pop album since Abba.

Ok, maybe it's not really pop, more of a pop-rock-alternative-symphonic-prog hybrid. But the genre isn't what's important. The songs and are great and the entirety works. They have evolved much since last time, now they are better producers, songwriters and the style on The Resistance is more diverse than ever. There's standard Muse (the title track, Uprising), R'n'B (Undisclosed Desires), heavy rockers (Unnatural Selection, MK Ultra) and epic symphonic orchestral stuff (Exogenesis).

The latter is what really makes the record such a masterpiece. 13 minutes in lenght, divided into three pieces this is the most accoplished song they've ever made. Involved in the making of it was over 40 musicians, and the band itself is more in the background. Other highlights are Unnatural Selection, Resistance, I Belong to You etc. Queen is a big influence here, and so is probably Radiohead, U2 and ABBA and various others.

Muse is one of the most ambitious, creative and original mainstream bands right now, and they keep getting better all the time. I wonder how they will be able to surpass this. 4,5 stars

Report this review (#280705)
Posted Thursday, May 6, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars Oh dear, boys. What have you done here? Every album had been a brilliant display of Post- Radiohead alternative rock mixed with slight electric vibes. On this album, Muse totally disregarded all that their fans wanted by making a pop album. Whilst usually, going for a different sound and progressing pays off, this album was simply for Muse to rake in some more cash from an evergrowing pop market.

It starts with the big single "Uprising". With a visible 80s vibe reminiscent of new-wave at times, this is one of the stronger songs on the album. The songs afterwards take a turn for the worse, apart from "Unnatural Selection" and "MK Ultra", the other two strongest songs. Most of them are pop-orientated fillers, for example take the sickening ballad "Guiding Light", the Marron 5-ish fodder "I Belong to You" and the absolutely awful "Undisclosed Desires". Whilst the Exogenesis symphony picks things up a tad, even that is slightly dissappointing and more boring than I had hoped from Muse. It had potential to be epic.

Muse are still a great band. I will still constantly listen to Origin of Symmetry, Black Holes & Revelations and Absolution, but this is one album I think I'm gonna leave to itself.

Report this review (#285059)
Posted Saturday, June 5, 2010 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
4 stars Wow, so many reviews here about this album going from fivestars to one! I am no expert to Muse. I heard some of their work before and really was not moved enough to write a review. Contrary to some people I usually don´t write about things I don´t like, for the feeling that I can be unfair to the artist. After all, just because a Cd falied to please me does not mean it is bad per se. I relember not liking many stuff in one moment on my life and loving it on another. That doesn´t happen very often, but it happens. i rather take no chances. And Muse was far from being a band I loved or hated. I just didn´t get it.

However I was compelled to write about The Resistance. i still don´t think is the kind of album I hear too often, but still you cannot help but reckon its enormous potential, energy, creativity and talent. I guess Mattew Bellamy is one of the most gifted singer/player/songwriter I´ve heard since the new millenium. The guy is simply great, like it or not. And the band does a great job here too. The Resistace is varied, powerful and grows on you with every new listening. Queen seems to be one of the major influences here (the bombastic arrangements and some very opera like backing vocals), but the band is obviously too good to be pigeonholed as copycats of anything.

More often than not I was impressed by the classical influences and the bold mixtures. The production is absolutely fantastic. It is very hard to believe this band is actually a trio, since they seem to emule a whole orchestra of sounds all over the record. I found it hard to point out a highlight. This is the kind of album you have to hear it several times to find its meaning. And I believe not too many people nowadays have the patience or time to listen to it as it should. But the CD´s success is well deserved. It may not be everyone´s cup of tea (specially here), but The Resistence is a great prog album of our time. And that´s all I have to say about it.

Rating: another question mark. I´m sure it is worth at least four stars. Time will tell if a fice star rating will be more fitting.

Something really interesting, intriguing and different wihtout being too freakish and out there. I really loved it!

Report this review (#291747)
Posted Saturday, July 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
2 stars I've never been the biggest MUSE fan even though I can appreciate their sound somewhat for what it is, i'm just not a fan of it though.Very modern sounding with vocals that still remind me of Thom Yorke the way he holds the notes.The music here is big, almost epic with QUEEN as a good reference point.This often comes across as a Rock Opera and there's lots of harmonies too.This can rock out pretty good which I enjoy, i've just never been a fan of QUEEN and that style.The lyrics seem to have a Science Fiction vibe.

"Uprising" like with most of the tracks is catchy. Clapping and synths with this toe tapping beat as the vocals come in. I can see why this would be popular on the radio. "Resistance" is cool the way it opens in a spacey manner.The cool factor disappears when the piano and drums arrive. Vocals join in. QUEEN-like harmonies follow. Themes are repeated. "Undisclosed Desires" reminds me of the EURYTHMICS.Too poppy and "lame" is a word that comes to mind. "United States Of Eurasia" opens with piano as strings and vocals join in.Then it kicks into a QUEEN-like tune.

"Guiding Light" is all about the vocals and big sound. Bass comes in. Guitar is raw 2 minutes in. "Unnatural Selection" opens with organ and distant sounding vocals before it kicks into gear with drums and guitar joining in. Some good riffing here. A calm before 3 1/2 minutes with organ returning. It kicks in late once again. "MK Ultra" is a good little rocker with vocals and plenty of guitar and drums. "I Belong To You" opens with piano and clapping as drums then vocals arrive. Chunky bass too. Not a fan. "Exogenesis:Symphony" is divided into three parts for a total of almost 13 minutes.The first part is orchestral sounding throughout. Part two opens with classical sounding piano melodies.We get reserved vocals around a minute. It kicks in a minute later then settles back again. Part three opens with piano as orchestral sounds join in then vocals. Drums too.It settles back to end it.

Fans only for this one although even their best works are only 3 star albums in my books.

Report this review (#300372)
Posted Friday, September 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars The more I listened to it, the more I realized its flaws.

So after much anticipation (and being a huge Muse fan, enough to scour for their rare songs and B-sides), I decided to swing by Best Buy and pick up not only this but Porcupine Tree's The Incident. I was so happy. I thought I was going to be listening to two fantastic albums, but alas, The Incident also suffered the same fate that this album did.

The irony behind the title The Resistance is that it does very little "resisting". This album is very close to a pop album, leaving behind many of the alternative elements that their previous albums had. It tries to do what Black Holes and Revelations did and have many styles on one album. This is not a bad thing as this is what gave BHAR its appeal. However, it feels more forced here. I would give this album 2.5 stars, but I'm feeling a little generous, and they really did succeed in some areas, but decided to just utterly destroy it.

The album opens up with Uprising, which is probably their most well known song along Knights of Cydonia and Time is Running Out. It obviously is a rock anthem, which their is nothing wrong with that, but the lyrics are so blatant that it becomes very annoying. The lyrics are revolutionary in nature, but it sounds like being preached to, rather than having fun or trying to figure out what Matt is saying.

The title track follows afterwards and presents us a traditional Muse song. The piano and bass drums at the beginning give off a nice feel and builds up to a great climax. The lyrics here are based off of 1984 and are far better than the previous song's lyrics.

Undisclosed Desires is a song that when I first heard, I wondered "What in the world is this doing on a Muse album?" It is a very pop-like song with absolutely no guitar. It's lyrics are more akin to Brittney Spears than Muse.

United States of Eurasia is what I thought would be this album's Knights of Cydonia or Citizen Erased. Many people say that this song sounds a lot like Queen. Some people have gotten upset at this, but I like it. I do not regret saying that the symphonic parts are something I can play on an endless loop and never get tired of it. However, half-way through, the song turns from an epic symphonic rocker to a Chopin cover. Um.... why? Especially considering the second part of the song is called Collateral Damage. This comes absolutely out of nowhere. It really has no purpose at all, except to show that Matt has some classical tastes.

Remember when I said the Resistance (song) had an excellent climax? Forget it for this song. Guiding Light opens up with a dramatic drum opening, but then turns into a cheese fest. The drums seem to be building up to something, but then just jump into it.

Unnatural Selection is probably the closest thing on the album to traditional Muse. Featuring an organ opening and great electric guitar work and great lyrics, this is probably the best song on the album.

MK Ultra was a little surprise. It has a nice melody, guitar playing, and synth. Very underrated.

I Belong to You starts off very promising (with a catchy piano-bass line), but Matt apparently didn't learn from USOE, and threw in another classic piece in the middle. However what is odder than USOE is that after a couple of minutes, it goes back into the I Belong to You song. I sit thinking to myself, what were they thinking?

And last but not least, the biggest disappointment in Muse history, the Exogenesis Symphony. I appreciate the fact that Muse is partly influenced by classical music and I appreciate the fact that they are willing to experiment with different styles. In early interviews, Matt mentioned about on the next album wanting to do a "15 minute space rock guitar solo" and just hearing this put us all on the edge of our seats. When we finally get it, what is it? A third rate symphony. The only redeeming value is are the piano at the beginning of part 2 and the story. Muse is a rock band, not a symphony.

While my review may seem harsh at times, I don't think they sold out or anything. I truly believe they had their hearts in the right place because this album has some fantastic elements. However, they tripped up along the way and messed up some pieces that could have been perfect songs.

Report this review (#401660)
Posted Wednesday, February 16, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Cliché and Cohesiveness

Is it weird how reluctant I was to publicise this review? How embarrassed I was of revealing my scandalous opinion that this, Muse's most ridiculous and overblown album is not only their best, but one of the best alternative rock albums of the modern age? This album is not only insulted by music aficionados everywhere, but by the Muse fans themselves. Even before I was a proper music fan, I would be reluctant to admit The Resistance as my favourite from the British 3-piece, due to the imminent onslaught of horrible slurs about its apparent awfulness.

Even yesterday, when I decided to do this review, I thought "I bet I won't like it as much and I'll drop it to 4.5". But I didn't. Because it isn't. And I'm beginning to think, much like the praise of Trout Mask Replica, the criticism of The Resistance is all an elaborate ruse to stop people from liking a mainstream band, or worse, a mainstream band's recent material?.

The thing is, if you hate Muse, you're going to hate this, and I forgive you. They are decidedly over the top in every way, they think they're so much cooler than everyone, and Matthew Bellamy is a bit of a twat. I'm not here to argue with you, because they appear to be one of those bands you either love or hate, and even I, as one of the ones who loves them, can see most of the reasons for hate. We have the ridiculous lyrics, the blatantly Queen-inspired choral chants, the unnecessary Thom Yorke impressions, the stupid piano interludes, it's like prog for the masses. Even though musically, Muse may not be prog, in mind they are. Look, they even have the stupid late-career transition toward pop music.

Now, the real people I have a problem with are the Muse fans who laud Black Holes And Revelations yet [&*!#] on The Resistance. With the obvious exceptions of "Map Of The Problematique" and "Knights of Cydonia" (Muse's two best songs), Resistance trumps Black Holes in almost every aspect. In fact, I can even argue that there are no weak tracks at all on The Resistance. Or, at least, 13 year old me didn't think so.

I hate to let the opinions of others get to me, but I'm afraid they slightly have. There are two main things that people thought were wrong with The Resistance, and both of them were cured by me discovering this album before my full musical education. Cliché and cohesiveness.

Of course, the argument against cliché is simple, I didn't know of the clichés when I first heard it. Sure, I hear them now, but that doesn't stop me from loving them, simply because I loved them before. I'm not sure what my opinion of The Resistance would be if I first heard it today, but I hope it wouldn't be too different because of that.

Cohesiveness is put down to something I am ashamed of, but naturally all of us go through it at some stage. There was a point in my life when I didn't listen to music as albums. So, I never fully got the idea of what people meant when they said it was trying to do too much. And it most certainly is. You can't shove an electropop song between an epic rock anthem and a Queen piano ballad. It just doesn't work. And as ambitious as it is, going from piano-pop to classical performance to what I think is a symphony(?) is a bit stupid as well. But I'm not here to accuse Muse of being anything but Muse here. They can be as ridiculous and over-the-top as they want, and I will still love them. The Resistance, at moments, feels like a fantastic album that flows well, and at other times it feels like Bellamy has had a dying urge to make a tribute to all of his favourite artists at once, resulting in something a bit odd, but when treated as individual tracks, there is almost no weakness here.

The album opens with "Uprising", which, despite being excessively overplayed, no one can deny being a great song. The hard pumping beat and distinctly Doctor Who-styled synth riff make for a great track. As with their earlier albums, Bellamy's rather unnecessary political lyrics run through The Resistance, with some of his worst appearing on Uprising, "endless red tape to keep the truth confined", "If you could flick a switch and open your third eye, you'd see that we should never be afraid to die" are pretty bad, but aside from that, this is one of Bellamy's best songs vocally in the band, even though the crowd vocals and cheesy clapping kind of kill it.

"Resistance" opens with one of my favourite piano parts from Muse, and really is one hell of a track. The epic stadium rock is so apparent in this, with every section getting bigger and bigger until the insanely over-the-top climax. The lyrics here deal with Winston Smith's secret relationship with Julia in Nineteen Eighty-Four, which although is still singing about 'love' (my least favourite lyrical topic, even more than politics), it's quite a strange perspective. I never really saw the true greatness in this song when I was first getting into the album, but I really hear it now. The violent climax is one of the heaviest moments on the album, and is possibly Muse's best climax, which is really saying something. Like in "Uprising", though, a couple of moments ruin it, specifically here the "It could be wrong" backing vocals during the pre-chorus, which are a bit stupid. Another thing I love about this song is the use of electronic-inspired drumming, and the toms during the second verse all sound fantastic. This calls back to the last electro-inspired Muse song, "Map Of The Problematique" from Black Holes And Revelations, which I call one of the greatest songs ever written.

"Undisclosed Desires" is a bit of a dividing track. It's a pop song, which obviously alienated the old Muse fans, but even though Muse have done pop songs before, this is an electropop song, with the synths and drum machine and bad love lyrics and all. But all of my dislike of the songs premise and all, this actually is quite a good pop song. The synth hook is pretty decent, and the chorus is catchy enough to justify radio play, it's just that it feels so out of place here. Muse often feel like they want to exercise all of their influences all at once, which isn't really good for album material.

On previous albums, Muse had shown a pretty apparent influence from Queen. They're a stadium rock band that rely on explosive and ridiculous music, so of course they take some influence. Already on this album, the bombastic nature of the title track draws parallels to Queen, but this here is where people start to get picky about it. Whereas "Resistance" is a Muse song with Queen influence, "United States Of Eurasia" has so much Queen it's got its shirt off already. The real bad part is when we hear the exact two chords used in the pre-chorus of "We Are The Champions", possibly Queen's most well known song aside from "Bohemian Rhapsody". It's one thing to use cheesy vocal layering like Queen do, it's another to use the exact same chords in exactly the same way, and expect to get away with it. Because once you hear that, you say, "Hey, this sounds like Queen", the rest of the song the idea stuck in your head and you can't get it out. You start to hear Queen. Even the odd Arabic-influenced part after the chorus seems like something Queen would do if they existed today. And it's not as if Muse are a band that can't write their own material or have their own style, because they've proven that with Origin of Symmetry and Absolution. Really, "United States Of Eurasia" isn't a bad song, but it was always 'that song' for me, the one that isn't as good as the others. The piano section at the end, "Collateral Damage" may be inventive, but you still think that Bellamy could have written his own part, not just plagiarise Chopin.

Now, part of my quest to understand the hatred The Resistance gets, I've found a lot of people blame "Guiding Light" for it. I have absolutely no idea why, it seems great. Sure, it's cheesy, but this is Muse we're talking about. It may be starting to get to me though, or at least to a couple of my friends, who are now on the "Guiding Light sucks" bandwagon. To be honest though, I can't really justify why I like it either, but the only part that I don't like is the unnecessary repeating of the chorus line for ages, and obviously the solo that's so Queen I'm pretty sure Brian May actually wrote it.

And now we get to the section of the album that I really am confused by. "Unnatural Selection" and "MK Ultra" are two of the most Muse songs Muse have ever written, and would perfectly on both Origin of Symmetry and Absolution. They're heavy, they're epic, they both have stunning riffs, with "MK Ultra" owning what I call my second favourite riff of all time. People criticise "Unnatural Selection" for being "New Born Part 2", so I say WHY ARE YOU COMPLAINING NEW BORN IS A GREAT SONG. It took me a while to really appreciate the random break in "Unnatural Selection", but it's actually quite nice and well-placed, and I may even like it more than "New Born". Although my hatred for the Hammond Organ is well-known, it's quite nice as a textural instrument here, which is the only acceptable use of such a hideous sound. "MK Ultra" is one of Muse's greatest songs, and is almost a culmination of everything that's great about them. Bellamy's guitar playing is often attacked by guitar purists saying that he's not good enough to be praised or whatever, but you try coming up with a riff as good as that first one and I'll be impressed. Although based in 4/4 timing, it fiddles between runs of 3 and 4, jumping up and down scales before resolving in an epic fashion. It also involves some of their best uses of strings; with the violin part during "they are breaking through" being particularly awesome. Howard's drumming is also great, nailing one of my favourite fills just before the second chorus, and also some great hi-hat work during the heavy outro. Bellamy's ridiculous lyrics are at some of their best here, and although I don't agree with his conspiracy garbage, they do actually fit the music to be honest. Another fantastic chorus to pile on top of that awesome riff, and both these songs have pretty decent heavy breakdowns, so I'm not sure why people are saying Muse lost their metal edge.

And suddenly it's pop again. God, listening to "I Belong To You" after the bludgeoning outro of "MK Ultra" is a bit strange, but although out of place, it's again a pretty decent pop song. It's piano-based, unlike "Undisclosed Desires", meaning I like it more, but the cheesy backing vocals and lyrics again kill it. The randomly unnecessary break into French singing is a bit odd, and although you have to praise Bellamy for even thinking of it in the first place, it's a bit self-indulgent and stupid, but I enjoy the slow build back into the chorus.

The final three tracks make up Muse's longest song to date, the almost 13 minute "Exogenesis", which appears to be their most progressive song yet, also. I remember being so utterly impressed by this, that it was even one of the songs that got me to look up this 'progressive rock' thing I kept seeing around. My adoration for it has since waned, but it still is one of the best pieces of music from Bellamy's ego. The first movement, "Overture" is heavily string-based, but the low brass and tympani underneath give it a great epic feel. The story of "Exogenesis" is loosely based around what will happen when humanity has to leave Earth, and when the string riff comes in at 1:20, it really does give the feeling of sci-fi film. It builds, the drums slowly appearing from underneath, growing, and then?..

It's back. God, how I've missed it. For someone with such a distinct wail, The Resistance has surprisingly little of Bellamy's fantastic falsetto, but "Overture" features his best falsetto part yet. Yes, even better than the chorus of "Micro Cuts" or the part before the big riff in "New Born". This is my warm-up track for vocal recording, because it is truly phenomenal to sing. I don't have much of a falsetto voice, but hell I try to every time this comes on. Again, when the guitar comes in, you hear Queen, but Matt's ridiculous wailing really overpowers it. It's a pity that the rest of "Exogenesis" doesn't stack up to "Overture", but this remains one of their best songs yet.

"Cross-Pollination" opens with one of Bellamy's blatantly Chopin-inspired piano ramblings, calling back to the one in "Butterflies & Hurricanes", but not quite reaching its level of intensity. This is much more of a 'song' than either of the other parts, but still feels very symphony-esque, even in the heavy part, because of the string layers beneath the guitar. Unfortunately, the Queen influence on the guitar piles all over whenever it comes in, and the lyrics here aren't exactly poetic. Chopin returns for a bit before drifting out.

The final movement, "Redemption", while being a nice track, doesn't feel as bombastic as it should, being an album (and symphony) closer. Instead, we get a nice piano track layered with strings. It builds quite nicely, calling on classical-inspired rock music like Godspeed You! Black Emperor quite a bit in the instrumentation, with Dominic Howard's atmospheric drumming being a highlight.

"Exogenesis" doesn't really feel like a symphony, as much as a couple of experiments in orchestral music, and I feel if Bellamy committed to making a full album in this style it might be great, but we know that won't happen.

In conclusion, as much as I have pointed out flaws in The Resistance, I still honestly think it is both a 5 star album and Muse's best album. It's messy and a bit inconsistent, and tries way too many styles, but I like the songs enough to give it that full score. Maybe in time, when I prune my 5's down, I'll drop it, but for now, I can't recommend it enough. A lot of people will dislike this, and I can understand that now (aside from "Unnatural Selection" and "MK Ultra", those are objectively awesome songs), but this is Muse and this is what we should expect from them.


Originally written for my Facebook page/blog:

Report this review (#573130)
Posted Tuesday, November 22, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars It is easy to be harsh with regard to groups that have achieved massive success in the (mostly terrible) music industry nowadays, when so many fantastic prog bands seem to just survive on the fringes of popularity. However, I kind of like Muse. I have 'Black Holes and Revelations' which has two or three absolutely killer tracks and I also own 'The Resistance' which was bought for me as a Christmas present (due to the fact that my family could find nothing by Frost* or IQ in any of the high street music retailers!) But still, I like this album. There is a lot of derivative stuff on here. Muse are clearly messing about with different sounds and influences and for the most part, many of their influences I used to enjoy back in the day. The similarities to many songs of old that you can't quite place are very evident. I'm assuming they had a nice chat with Brian May before including '...Eurasia' on the album! But, honestly, I'm not complaining. I actually think this album is more consistent in its quality than 'Black holes...' was, but with a lot more stylistic variation. I would say that it is a good album, but I am not sure if I would have bought it myself if it hadn't been bought for me. Would I have missed out? Possibly yes. I'll be keeping an eye out for their next release. A solid three and a bit stars!
Report this review (#581955)
Posted Sunday, December 4, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars The Resistance sees Muse descending into self-parody. It's not that Matt Bellamy's goofy conspiracy theories are more prominent in the lyrics than ever before, because he does at least manage to pitch them at a level where you could interpret them as being a general meditation on any revolt against oppression. It's not even the lighter, bouncier nature of the music, which puts me in mind of a sort of pop-punk take on the Muse sound. No, what gets to me is the fact that the band seem more inclined to wheel out the tired old cliches of their sound and give them another spin than to come up with any new tricks. Essentially, every Muse album from Absolution onwards has been a progressively less interesting version of Origin of Symmetry, a height I don't think the band are even attempting to match any more.
Report this review (#743826)
Posted Tuesday, April 24, 2012 | Review Permalink
2 stars Resisting nostalgia...

I wouldn't say that I'm a 'fan' of Muse, but I do enjoy their music. They are perhaps the biggest modern band in these archives, headlining prestigious festivals and undertaking worldwide arena tours, their popularity has risen stratospherically in recent years. I was given the opportunity to watch them on their tour supporting The Resistance, and whilst it was a truly fantastic show, it also cast a rose-tinted light on this album. Now that the memories have faded a little, I am able to present a more subjective viewpoint.

This is probably Muse's most commercial album to date, but are they selling out here? I don't think so. Well certainly not compared to providing music for the Twilight soundtrack! But I've never considered Muse to be particularly progressive anyway so whether this is '90125' or 'Sing to God' is neither here nor there.

Overall it is a solid, radio friendly release with memorable tracks and few weak moments. In fact, the album's low point is probably also it's most ambitious, the three part Exogenesis symphonic-suite. This is completely unlike anything the band have tried before, and whilst the attempt is admirable, it feels more like and optional extra than the main event.

The Verdict: Would this inspire me to start listening to Muse? Not likely, but it will still appeal to fans of the band.

Report this review (#763465)
Posted Monday, June 4, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars 7/10

This is an album that will surely alienate many fans.

At least to me it did not make a good first impression. I was wondering: "what the hell are they doing here?". There seemed to be the same band. Or rather, it was, but with the addition of new elements that do not please me much (in fact I have not yet digested the use of synthesizers, I think it does not suit the Muse, as ironic as that sounds).

Fortunately, from the second addition spent finding more positives. In fact, this here is reinventing itself daring Muse, The Resistance, and although it is by far their weakest album to date is still a great work. Where Black Holes was an effort more affordable (and I have a weakness for music accessible, since it is clever) The Resistance is more pompous and symphonic. Never learned the influences that permeated the previous albums were as evident as here. I even joke to say that this album ushers in a category called "Symphonic Alternative".

Doubt what I'm saying? Then listen to the "Collateral Damage" in United States of Eurasia. " (...) based on Nocturne In E-Flat Major, Op.9 No.2 by Frédéric Chopin.", is what I read on Wikipedia. God, this is so good! It's so rare to see a band with such commercial appeal evoke the influence of classical music. Besides, this song has a bit of Queen-esque, in a more open way than I ever heard in the discography of Muse. This influence is present in other songs, like the title track and Unnatural Selection (a song with which the "old fans" Muse will identify). The orchestra still has a lot of participation on the album - we have a bass clarinet solo in I Belong to You and an interesting mix of orchestral elements and electronic beats in Undisclosed Desires.

But the highlight of this work certainly goes to Exogenesis Symphony. Surely the pinnacle of all that they did, and their longest song (even if divided into three songs of average length), is a combination that to be the biggest dream of Bellamy: can record a full symphonic work coupled with sound he and his companions created for Muse. Certainly their best song, and I really do not understand critics saying she might alienate fans. These comments here on the site! Only I am seeing that this is the most progressive thing they've done?

Well, doing my final impressions, this is an album with severe drawbacks, particularly uninteresting songs and other means, but fortunately it is provided with excellent work and a good use of symphonic elements. 3.5 stars.

Report this review (#1020611)
Posted Monday, August 19, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars Muse's orchestral presence returns with a vengeance on the Resistance, and the introduction of pop found on the previous album unnervingly begins to infuse itself into the band's sound. Much of the music found on The Resistance is also more anthemic, shifting towards a piano-based and mainstream arena rock sound. In short, The Resistance could be categorized as symphonic pop rock.

The Resistance is just some really catchy stuff. Uprising, probably the band's most popular song, is a great anthem, and completely dedicated to this idea. The synth line is memorable, the bass throbbing and groovy, the drums something you'll find yourself clapping along to, the chorus sing-along-able, and the shouts of "hey!" near the end very much inviting the listener to join in. It's still a rock song, perfectly tailored to become a major hit? except the lyrics encourage overthrowing the government.

While less of a unifying force than on BH&R, many of the album's lyrics are, in fact, based off of taking down the government. These lyrics tend to be alienating at times, but they sound smart and you can kind of feel smart if you listen to them. Muse expands on the theme of politics, incorporating ideas from George Orwell's 1984. The focus on space is not as strong, and the Resistance delivers a few cheesy love songs. These cheesy love songs tend to be the pop songs that aren't rooted in rock. Undisclosed Desires is one of these, and I'll at least give Muse credit for having a bigger vocabulary than the average pop band. It also introduces electronic elements that would become prevalent ? and controversial ? on The Second Law, The Resistance's follow up. Guiding Light is another pop song, a boring plod through an unenergetic, unchanging four minutes. I Belong to You fuses pop with opera and classical influence, and Bellamy succeeds in sounding whiny and dragging the song out for much longer than it needs to go on.

And speaking of classical influence, there's Exogenesis, the three part symphony that spans the album's last thirteen minutes. This is Muse's progressive side showing as they attempt a mini concept album, which seems a little out of place. The story tells of the death of Earth, and a group of astronauts who have been selected to colonize another planet to keep the human race going. Apparently the band was sued for stealing the idea, but they won the lawsuit. Either way, it's a great ending to the album. Part One has a hypnotic, undulating symphonic line, and when the guitar kicks in, it's one of the album's best moments. Part Two is theatrical and dramatic; Part Three is emotionally charged and beautiful, and all of the portions function together much better than the rest of the album does.

Rock songs do exist on this album also ? many are influenced by pop, but a song like Unnatural Selection is the heaviest, fastest song the album has to offer. It's a great song, introduced by organ and exploding into angry, assaulting riffing and lyrics. But there are still complaints about this piece. The main riff sounds suspiciously like the one from New Born (from the band's second album). As much as I love that riff, it sounds like they've run out of ideas for good heavy songs. Additionally, the breakdown is just a huge waste of time. United States of Eurasia is another song that sounds like they've run out ideas, the outro taken from Chopin and the main portion ripping off Queen. It's still a good piano-based song, the lyrics are interesting, and Muse throws in a Middle-Eastern twist partway through.

The Resistance might have been better off split into two EPs, one with Exogenesis, the other containing the album's best songs: Uprising, the Resistance, United States of Eurasia, and a version of Unnatural Selection without the boring breakdown. Many of the songs are weaker, and the pop, rock, and classical influences don't always come together well on some tracks, while working in agreement on other songs. The Resistance is a step down from Black Holes and Revelations, though as a whole interesting and rather unique despite a sense of disjointedness in quality, and to a lesser extent, stylistically. Still, this disjointedness is nothing compared to what is found on the album's follow up, The Second Law?

Report this review (#1424820)
Posted Sunday, June 7, 2015 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
3 stars After hearing many horror stories about the quality of this album and all those following it, I put listening to this one on hold for quite some time, sticking to the 3 previous albums for whenever I wanted to listen to Muse. After a while, once I got around to listening to it, my main thoughts about it were "This is supposed to be their bad material?". While this album admittedly isn't anything much when comparing it to some of their peak material, I do still find quite a bit of it enjoyable. That said, the larger flaws of the album are not lost on me, with the sound becoming more generic, with there being a much bigger pop focus similar to that of U2, and a prog element that for the most part does nothing all that special, leading to an album that doesn't have very much character. I also find that the influences in the album can be quite overbearing at many points, with some songs sounding more or less like parodies of their respective influence.

I believe that another possible reason why this album gets panned by so many is due to how most of the album doesn't live up to the incredible first two tracks, with Uprising having a bouncy, groovy beat and powerful synth work, sometimes sounding like a string orchestra. The title track on the other hand is a much slower, more emotional track with some great atmosphere with the more subtle use of the backing instrumentation, making for an incredibly catchy song that has enough compositional talent to back it up convincingly, especially with the piano work in it. The unfortunate thing is that after these track, the album significantly drops off, with the influences creeping in quite a lot. Undisclosed Desires immediately sounds extremely different, with the veritable wall of sound instead being replaced with an extremely empty sound, with a simple beat and much cleaner sound. There is an extremely strong U2 feel that the song produces, and there is much more focus on the pleasant hooks of the song, as there isn't too much progression to be found. The next two songs are without a doubt the weakest part of the album, not even sounding merely Queen influenced, but instead sounding like embarrassing parodies of them, with United States of Eurasia having an awful build up to the chorus and an even more terrible chorus in itself, while Guiding Light is just unmemorable and dull. The album manages to pick itself up with the great Unnatural Selection, showing off the slightly more prog oriented side of the band, with numerous sections, each with their own great melodies, along with the heavier guitar tone that I really love, MK Ultra sounds more like a less impressive Unnatural Selection than its own song on the other hand. While I really enjoyed the melody and beat in I Belong To You, the thing that stood out most to me was the unexpected, yet great clarinet solo near the end, leading up to the best part of the album, the Exogenesis Symphony suite, which take the symphonic elements present in the album, and then dials it up considerably to create a majestic 3 part song that surpasses everything else Muse did in terms of sheer scope. This song displays Muse at its most powerful, with epic, grandiose hooks and verses everywhere, with the majority of the instrumentation being symphonic, along with containing some of Matt Bellamy's most impressive singing, being able to hit some incredibly high notes. Each movement captures a different feeling so well, yet all work together perfectly as a whole, bringing the album to an extremely satisfying close.

Overall, while the album is really patchy, with some truly bad tracks and a much more commercial sound, I still do believe that this album isn't anywhere close to as bad as most Muse fans tend to say, as there are a fair few tracks which are highly enjoyable, including a couple of highlights from the band's career. I wouldn't really recommend this album to people who aren't fans of Muse or U2, as that's what this album predominantly is, if you're new to the band, listen to their previous albums instead of this.

Best songs: Uprising, I Belong To You, Exogenesis Symphony

Weakest songs: United States of Eurasia, Guiding Light, MK Ultra

Verdict: This album continues on the trajectory from Black Holes and Revelations, with their music becoming more commercial than before, but The Resistance also explores other territory nicely as well, even if it can sometimes have the tendency to sound far too much like other bands. I'd recommend that this album should be listened to after their 3 previous albums, as it's good, but doesn't give a very clear picture of the band as a whole.

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Posted Friday, February 8, 2019 | Review Permalink

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