Review of Black Holes And Revelations Album by Muse

Black Holes And Revelations
Album Review

Muse Black Holes And Revelations Album

Black Holes And Revelations is the new album by Muse. With 2.8 million copies sold of 2003's "Absolution", and a triumphant closing slot at the following year's Glastonbury, Muse ascended to the elite of UK rock music. To many, however, they remain unknown, with the lack of celebrity partners or drunken brawls meaning the Devon trio refrain from being tabloid fodder. "Black Holes And Revelations" is the forth studio album from Matt Bellamy (vocals/guitar), Chris Wolstenholme (bass), and Dom Howard (drums).

So amazing is this record that every track on it deserves to be mentioned. The opening synths of "Take A Bow", which gradually escalate, are the soundtrack to a journey into space. Accompanied by a demonic guitar, the sound is as operatic as Bellamy's singing. Where in the past his lyrics have been accused of being obscure, there is no disguising the political nature of "cast a spell on the country you run… risk all their lives and their souls".

Equally stunning is "Starlight", which begins with a bass that feels like it mow down a forest, and has a chirpy piano piece that makes it almost difficult to believe this is the same band who delivered the vitriol of "Muscle Museum". Lead single "Supermassive Black Hole" is a delightful amalgamation of funk and rock, with Bellamy's falsetto reminiscent of Prince, and we return to the sci-fi soundtrack on the pulsating "Map Of The Problematique".

It's almost with surprise when the gentle acoustic riff of "Soldier's Poem" arrives, the subject of the song easily discernable. The harmonious backing vocals are those of Queen, and are given the platform of an understated rhythm section. Bellamy is in optimistic mood on "Invincible", where whirling organs and synths intertwine over soft militant drums. It soars gracefully, before changing in direction with another fantastic bass line and classic guitar solo, resulting in an epic masterpiece.

Fans who prefer Muse's heavier tracks will take the relentless "Assassin" to their hearts, as Bellamy becomes ever more politically explicit, while "Exo-politics" finds the band picking up the funk again and delivering an anthemic chorus.

Built on a flamenco guitar, sharp strings elevate the roaring "City Of Delusion" as high as the angst-ridden screams that Bellamy produces. They are also evident on "Hoodoo", which begins in sombre tones – a lonesome guitar accompanying the singer. It erupts in breathtaking fashion, before settling once more.

Named after a region of Mars, "Knights Of Cydonia" is another grand operatic affair. Fantastic drumming backdrops a wailing guitar, synths, and horns – and that's only the first two minutes which don't feature vocals. As if a culmination of the previous ten tracks, it is a prog-rock epic that would be the magnum opus of most bands' career.

For this trio, it is another stunning example of why they are one of the most inventive rock groups in modern times. They might not ever be as popular as their peers, but they're music is infinitely more exciting and unrivalled.

Alex Lai

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