Review Summary: Muse has moved on to a new theme of lyrics and themes, while keeping in mind earlier themes of independence, romance, and remorse. For both old, new, and soon-to-be fans of Muse, this will blow you away.
The international favorites Muse have outdone themselves on their follow-up to their 2003 release, Absolution. Where Absolution was heavily laden with romantic and emotional themes and bittersweet melodies, Blackholes and Revelations carries a different message, and that is politics. While, yes, there has been a bandwagon full of, well, bands, knocking about the political world in recent releases, Muse carries this theme to a new level of emotion, severity, and most importantly pairs it with instrumentals to match. The genius of Muse’s new release is that the instrumentals can be detached from the political garble, and they will still be powerful enough to impress any music fan.
Listeners are blasted with the harshest political message right from the get-go, so there is no doubt left as to where this album is going. "Take A Bow" is a dramatic attack on an all but unnamed political leader, "Corrupt, you're corrupt / Bring corruption to all that you touch / Behold, you'll behold / And behold them for all that you've done / And Spell, cast a spell / Cast a spell on the country you run." The song gushes with emotional rage, climaxing with a Queen-like guitar solo and the final unforgiving attack: "And burn, you will burn / You will burn in hell for your sins." More sinister messages like this can be found in "Exo-politics," "When the sickness fills the skies / It's just our leaders in disguise / Fully loaded satellites / Are taking nothing but our minds." The paranoia is carried a step further in "Assassin," a fast paced, hard hitting rock lick that sends a chill with its sinister message to "Destroy demon-ocracy," and that "The time has come for you / To shoot your leaders down / To join forces underground." For those looking for a harsh and uncompromising political message, you can’t get much better than this.
Enough politics. For those that enjoyed the dramatic and emotional romanticism of Absolution, Blackholes and Revelations will provide enough to satisfy what you’ve been craving. Common themes of regret, ambition, social paranoia, and love itself present themselves in such simple songs as "Supermassive Blackhole" ("I thought I was a fool for no one / But oh, baby, I'm a fool for you") to the more complex "Map of Problematique," ("I want to touch the other side / And no one thinks they are to blame / Why can't we see / That when we bleed we bleed the same.")
Powerful and haunting songs of inspiration and independence are here as well, and far exceed the political messages. The eerie and emotional "Knights of Cydonia" drops into a line of lyrics that feels naked, uncomfortable, exposed, but hopeful: "No one’s gonna take me alive / Time’s come to make things right / You and I must fight for our right / You and I must fight to survive."
Wrapping around and through these deep and controversial themes are impressive instrumentals. Many of the songs such as "Map of Problematique" and "Invincible" invoke memories of the fast-paced rock masterpiece "Hysteria" on their previous album. Muse also uses electric effects well around standard guitar licks and solos, and Queen is evoked when this is coupled with the independent themes of the lyrics. The piano parts that were masterfully used in their previous album are back as well, bringing the romantic songs to a new level and adding a complementary touch to harder instruments such as bass and drums. Most interesting though is the use of exotic influences, such as a Latin trumpet, Spainish-oriented acoustic guitar, and Middle Eastern strings in "City of Dellusion" and "Hoodoo." Muse intertwines this influence with hard-rock using tempo and volume changes, swelling for emotional messages with their rock gear and lacing it delicately with Middle Eastern strings or a Latin trumpet.
Muse has moved on to a new theme of lyrics and themes, while keeping in mind earlier themes of independence, romance, and remorse. If you’re not one inclined to listen to political mumbo-jumbo or be wooed by heart-filled ballads, Blackholes and Revelations still offers masterful instrumentals that are more than worth checking out. For both old, new, and soon-to-be fans of Muse, this will blow you away.