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Muse - Black Holes And Revelations CD (album) cover

BLACK HOLES AND REVELATIONS

Muse

 

Prog Related

3.68 | 426 ratings

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Kempokid
4 stars After refining and smoothing out their general sound in Absolution, Muse loses the majority of its intensity, and instead focuses on many of the pop elements of the band, while also incorporating a few more elements which could be considered more in the vein of prog, with more unique instruments along with some different song structures. The songs in many cases have a sound of majesty to them, but not with the same sort of raw emotion as previously, sounding more epic than before, but also having a certain beauty to them. I find the album as a whole to be a more complete package as opposed to most other albums by the band, with each song contributing to the flow and sound of the album, and while some don't work out quite so well, they still don't feel like the throwaway tracks on Showbiz and Absolution, still having some decent qualities about them.

The album starts off in a very typical Muse fashion, with a cool spacey atmosphere and a gradual build up that reaches great heights. Even here, it's clear that there will be a much greater emphasis on synths and keyboards however, as the guitar takes a backseat when compared to the other instruments, even if it does come in much louder near the end. The next three songs are a group of what are more or less pop songs, each with their own sound, Starlight being a fairly standard alt rock song with a catchy chorus, while Supermassive Black Hole is an awesome dance track. I do like this one quite a lot, balancing out this amazing, danceable beat with the guitars and pounding drums, all with an insanely catchy melody for a while back a couple of years ago, this song in particular really stood out to me, and even now I still love it, my favourite part being the changing of the instrumentation through the various sections of the verse and chorus, then becoming even more amazing once the backing vocals come in, all in all a song that I enjoy immensely. Map of the Problematique is another one of my favourite songs on the album, with the synths giving the song this amazing tone, makes it feel absolutely massive in scope, and the vocals are nothing short of breathtaking.

Past these first 4 marvellous tracks, the album becomes somewhat less exciting for a while, with none of them actually being even close to bad, but none of them reaching similar heights, at least not for quite a while. Both Soldier's Poem and Invincible are fairly decent, but the former doesn't really go anywhere, and the latter, while quite good and one of the moments which the word majestic could be used quite easily, the song just doesn't really strike a chord with me. Assassin starts off with an awesome intro before breaking into an intense rock track, but I still don't find many moments of the song to be quite as enjoyable as the intro. Exo-Politics is the closest thing to a weak point that the album has, with a decent riff, but nothing particularly great in it, at least not to me. The final 3 songs all interest me greatly when analysing them under a prog lens, as they all definitely have a lot of proggy elements to them. City of Delusion has a strong exotic sound to it, with the strings giving it a Middle Eastern feel to it, before the song then breaks out into an awesome trumpet solo with a groovy bassline. Hoodoo continues this tone, but I feel like it didn't have quite enough time to develop into something more than simply enjoyable. That said, Knights of Cydonia makes up for it, in fact, Knights of Cydonia would make up for just about any single mistake of Muse's career, and is an easy pick for my favourite Muse song of all time (other than possibly the Exogenesis Symphony), and is one of the most epic songs I've had the pleasure of listening to at this point in time. Each section of the song simply builds and builds, starting off with powerful guitar chords, erupting into a fast paced riff before eventually bursting out into such a perfect chorus. To make things even greater is the riff that comes after this point, perfectly closing off the album.

Overall, while this album tends to be more consistent than past Muse albums other than Origin of Symmetry, I don't find this quite reaches enough amazing heights for me to be able to justify a 5 star rating, despite the utter perfection of Knights of Cydonia. The more pop focused route taken here is one that I honestly quite enjoy due to the grandiose nature of it making it quite enjoyable and entertaining. I don't really understand why this album tends to get rated quite a bit lower by Muse fans, as I do find this to be amazingly fun while also having a decent amount of complexity to the point where older fans shouldn't be alienated, but newcomers will find a wide range of great, interesting songs, all ending with one of the pinnacles of the band. If you want to be introduced to Muse, start off with this and Origin of Symmetry, as they show the band at its peak.

Best songs: Supermassive Black Hole, Map of the Problematique, City of Delusion, Knights of Cydonia (must listen)

Weakest songs: Soldier's Poem, Exo-Politics

Verdict: While more poppy and synth focused than before, Muse still prove that they have the capability of writing some absolute gems. I find the album quite easy to listen to in general and think that if you want something that's mostly simple, that still shows high musical aptitude, then this album is one I highly recommend. On top of this, I don't really care who you are, I still recommend Knights of Cydonia, it's amazing.

Kempokid | 4/5 |

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