Muse
Origin of Symmetry


4.0
excellent

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
June 13th, 2010 | 51 replies


Release Date: 2001 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Muse explodes out of their Radiohead shell with a bombastic statement of originality.

Following 1999’s Showbiz, Muse fielded a lot of criticism over their uncanny similarities to Radiohead. There is no doubt that Muse caught wind of it because everything about Origin of Symmetry sets out to dispel those notions. Even with an influx of piano-laden tracks and classical influence, the album still manages to kick the energy up a few notches without sacrificing style.

Throughout Origin of Symmetry, a tangible atmosphere is developed that never really relents. It is one grand flowing embodiment of energy, with constant peaks and valleys in tempo that exemplify Muse’s affinity for electrifying guitar riffs, piano ballads, and exploding choruses all at the same time. Often, this raw intensity is formed by coupling lead riffs with intricate keyboard notes that give listeners the impression that more is yet to come. “New Born” and “Space Dementia” are prime examples, featuring quick (but not overpowering) keyboards that work extremely well in the context of the whole song. “New Born” is probably the more common of the two, as it features one of the greatest guitar riffs in Muse’s entire catalog. The bubbling piano notes set the stage early on, until an accompanying bass line and Matthew Bellamy’s impressive guitar skills take full command for the remainder of the song. It is this kind of “building to a climax” sensation that defines Origin of Symmetry, even though it also subtly presents one of the album’s only true weaknesses.

More often than not, Origin of Symmetry fails to take advantage of its own bid for an epic moment. The aforementioned electric guitar riff in “New Born” capitalizes on the song’s introduction to enthrall the listener and send them flying sky-high into the journey that is Origin of Symmetry. “Plug in Baby” does so with an unforgettable guitar riff and an absurdly catchy chorus. Yes, some other similar moments can be found, but other than those two, they are few and far between. For the most part, the album continuously builds upon itself, seemingly bursting from the seams with energy. The best way to take advantage of that energy is to give the listener something to walk away from the album with; something they will remember. Not that every song on an album has to be catchy, but having only a few memorable moments detracts from the album’s potential. Even on Showbiz, the band managed to squeek out some infectious rhythms such as “Muscle Museum”, “Fillip”, and “Falling Down.” For all of its glorious moments, Origin of Symmetry leaves you wanting more.

With that said, the album certainly does not lack in musicianship or quality song crafting. Origin of Symmetry accomplishes everything that it possibly could in such a short period of time to help Muse distinguish themselves as unique artists. Matthew Bellamy puts on quite a display of talent, manning lead vocals, lead guitars, and piano/keyboard. The opening minutes of “Bliss” show off some of his strongest piano work to date, while “Hyper Music” and "Citizen Erased" show him unleashing more of a wild, uncontrollable side with scratchy, abrasive sounding riffs. “Feeling Good” shows Muse dabble in more of a soulful funk-style ballad, which Bellamy nails vocally from start to finish. He essentially takes what Showbiz hinted at, fully develops it, and refuses to hold back on the whirlwind of progressive styles created just for this album. The result is an atmospheric and truly breathtaking record that many fans consider to be their best. Origin of Symmetry shines from a songwriting/technical perspective and gives us a truly original album whose sound is unmatched in the past decade.



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user ratings (2746)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
June 13th 2010


16785 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The Muse Discography continued, Part 2.

I know this is many people's favorite Muse album, and I tried to be as objective as possible, but this simply can't go higher than a 4 for me.

As always, let me hear your constructive criticism and/or thoughts on the album.

Digging: Damien Rice - My Favourite Faded Fantasy

LG
June 13th 2010


3049 Comments


Flaming fist of rage.

Fugue
June 13th 2010


7354 Comments


I'm too tired to read this properly right now but in my brief skimming I found no mention of Citizen Erased, you might want to fix that.

Digging: Damien Rice - My Favourite Faded Fantasy

tiesthatbind
June 13th 2010


7380 Comments


Nice, good review as usual. My favorite Muse is Absolution, but I'm going to listen to this again
right now, cause I haven't listened to this one very much.

Digging: Poets of the Fall - Twilight Theater

HobertRollier
June 13th 2010


148 Comments


[IMG]http://i49.tinypic.com/2ng6kh1.png[/IMG]

tinkrbel
June 13th 2010


1698 Comments


nice! another Sowing review, i can finally sleep well knowing that ur back 2 reviewing regularly
pos btw

Foxhound
June 13th 2010


4570 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Wow, no reviews under a 4.5?

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
June 13th 2010


16785 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

mutatedfreek: not a lot written about it, but it is briefly mentioned in the final paragraph

tink: i was going to read this over a few more times and put it out tomorrow, but i knew you needed this right now

foxhound: yeah that surprises me. its a great album, but the average rating is a 4.1 you'd think there would be at least 1 review under a 4.5...i guess only the people who really loved it chose to write up a review for it

tinkrbel
June 13th 2010


1698 Comments


i was going to read this over a few more times and put it out tomorrow, but i knew you needed this right now


how thoughtful ;)

Fugue
June 13th 2010


7354 Comments


not a lot written about it, but it is briefly mentioned in the final paragraph


Fair enough, the only reason I mentioned it is because I see it as the centerpiece to the whole album (as well as the best track) and if I were reviewing the album I'd probably devote a paragraph to it. Still I read the review properly and it's a damn site better than I could do anyway so have a pos.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
June 13th 2010


16785 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah i can see why you would devote that much to it, i just never liked it as much as everyone else

tiesthatbind
June 13th 2010


7380 Comments


This album is much better than I remember, I'm bumping it a half point. My favs are Plug In Baby and
Citizen Erased.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
June 13th 2010


31475 Comments


Nice review dude

Though I still don't see why Muse and Radiohead get compared so often. To me the obvious comparison would be Queen. Not saying that Muse are anywhere near as good, but there's obvious similarities

Digging: Hyperdub - Hyperdub 10.4

bloc
June 13th 2010


34998 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

To me the obvious comparison would be Queen.

NOW maybe, but certainly not during the earlier years.

Digging: The Birthday Massacre - Superstition

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
June 13th 2010


16785 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Muse isn't as good as Radiohead or Queen, i agree. In my personal opinion, their older stuff was really similar to Radiohead, and as time wore on they became more and more like Queen (like the choruses for Knights of Cydonia and United States of Eurasia)

bloc
June 13th 2010


34998 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

God I hate Cydonia, that song is so damn cheesy.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
June 13th 2010


16785 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

they are extremely over the top. i can see why some people would say they are cheesy. but they're so damn talented lol

tiesthatbind
June 13th 2010


7380 Comments


Whatchu talkin' bout, bloc? Knights of Cydonia is awesome.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
June 13th 2010


16785 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

the live version of knights from haarp is fucking awesome

bloc
June 13th 2010


34998 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This coming from the guy who likes Alter Bridge...Okay then ;)



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