Black Holes & Revelations

Written by: PP on 29/07/2006 21:17:55

After their groundbreaking record "Absolution", Muse skyrocketed into success not only in the UK, but also everywhere else in Europe. Their newest album, "Black Holes & Revelations", continues where "Absolution" left off and spends part of the time exploring the outer dimensions of Muse's sound, resulting in an album that leaves even the most dedicated Muse fan scratching their head after excessive attempts of understanding the record.

The album begins with a quintessential Muse track "Take A Bow", where Matthew's heavenly keyboard introduction reminds you of the best parts in songs like "TSP" or "Hysteria". The following song "Starlight" again represents the magnificent (which, by the way, is possibly the best word to describe everything about Muse), far-reaching sound achieved by Matthew's harmonious keyboard scales and his delicate and strong vocal work. Therefore "Supermassive Black Hole" is a particularly strange choice for the first single, as it belongs to the worst-end of songs Muse has ever produced. Matthew's girl-like (metrosexual?) vocal experimentation is annoying to say the least, and the song isn't anywhere as catchy or singalongable as "Take A Bow" for instance. "Map of Problematique" would have been a much wiser choice, as it is everything we have grown to expect from Muse from the solid keyboards to the simple yet effective riffage and catchy choruses.

Essentially, the problem with "Black Holes & Revelations" isn't the lack of good songs, because frankly, the album contains far better songs than any other band in the mainstream is able to write: "Assassin" attacks you almost as viciously as "Stockholm Syndrome", and "Knights Of Cydonia", while exploring new areas of Muse with acoustic guitars, its grandieur scale and scope of instrumental perfection is more than enough to satisfy any music critics. The problem lies within the amount of bad or boring songs the album offers. "Hoodoo"'s annoying middle-eastern/indian themes are not aligned at all to the rest of the album, while "Soldier's Poem" is another acoustic, far too slow song to fit Muse. "City Of Delusion" doesn't differ much from "Knights Of Cydonia" with its acoustic riffs, but somehow it is never able to quite rise to the level of the latter. But even the better songs of the album are in shadow of songs like "Sing For Absolution", "Time Is Running Out", "Apocalypse Please", "Bliss" or "Tsp" just to name a few examples. The element of surprise is mostly gone, and the song arrangements have taken a far more predictable structure. Oddly enough, it seems as if the strengths of "Origin of Symmetry" and "Absolution" have been downplayed while the weaker sides of their debut have been highlighted for an unknown reason. Maybe their creative stream dried up, or maybe they just wanted to go to another direction altogether, but whatever the case is, the outcome isn't anywhere near the previous masterpiece, but more like listening to a b-sides album of "Absolution".

Download: Take A Bow, Starlight
For the fans of: Radiohead, Moby, Depeche Mode
Listen: Myspace

Release date 03.07.2006

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