Review Summary: “Black Holes and Revelations” is a massive step in the right direction for Muse and feels like the perfect evolution from their previous album “Absolution”. Now all that needs to be debated is just why Muse hasn’t managed to catch on in the US.
Muse latest album, “Black Holes and Revelations” is a masterpiece. This CD is one of the most beautiful CD’s to come around in a long time. Its one of those CD’s that is so captivating it gives you the chills at some of its more impacting moments.
It’s hard to find a band that knows how to really kick off a CD with an absolutely stellar opener better then Muse. This album is no exception.
In “Take A Bow” Matt Bellamy haunting voice mixed over some spacey synthesizers definitely sets you up for Muse’s new (and welcomed) produced sound. Muse has always been an epic band with their music so this seems like a natural step in the direction they are headed with their music, and is pulled off perfectly. The opener is truly an experience in itself. Building to a massive epic of a conclusion with frantic drums pounding over Matt yelling out “You’ll burn in hell, yeah you’ll burn in hell”.
The second track doesn’t quite live up to the standout opener, but does a fair job of following it. This track sees the title of the album being sung about 2/3’s of the way through “Our hopes and expectations/ black holes and revelations”.
The first single off the CD “Supermassive Black Hole” is radio friendly for its catchy chorus and one of the more highly produced songs on the CD with a computerized voice chiming in occasionally to assure you the black hole is indeed “supermassive”. It’s impressive, and is likely to be the cut off this album to get stuck in your head.
“Map of the Problematique” follows with a fast pace and more synthesizers to again create that atmosphere so prominent on this record. This track stands out for its infectious falsetto singing from Matt.
5 tracks in the band takes a bit of a breather. “Soldiers Poem” is a wonderful acoustic song whose inexcusably short length of 2:05 keeps it from feeling like more then a brief intermission then a song.
Tracks 6-8 are noticeably less synthesized-out and feel a bit more like Muse’s older material and sound a bit more like your average hard rock song. This may be welcomed by many of Muse’s older fans, but in the context of what is going on in this CD, I personally feel that these tracks fall a bit short of what they could have been.
Tracks 9 and 10 take yet another twist, and throw in some acoustic strumming, violins, and trumpets into the mix which come together to take 2 different approaches for the 2 different songs. 9 feels very upbeat and follows a similar route that tracks 6, 7, and 8 did. 10 on the other hand takes a very haunting brooding feel to it. The track, while being significantly less loud as nearly every track on the album, actually speaks volumes above what some of the other tracks have to offer. This feels like it just fell out of the “Kill Bill” soundtrack with its cool yet old-fashioned sound. While mostly acoustic, to build up to a climax drums, piano bass and violins join in. perhaps the highlight of the track is when it all becomes calm right before the end as matt almost whispers “and I've had recurring nightmares” which holds up as one of the most haunting moments on the CD.
“Hoodoo” the 10th track on the CD serves as the quiet calm track right before the most epic song to be found on the album which is also the closer titled “Knights of Cydonia” this track will get rid of any doubt in your mind that Muse knows how to make a song get under your skin. This song is the longest on the CD clocking in at 6:02 but doesn’t feel a second too long. This song is a song that really needs to be heard to be believed.
Perhaps the only problem with the album is that because so much of it is so epic and remarkable it leaves the more laid back tracks to pale in the shadows of the rest of the tracks. These tracks are amazing in themselves, but when surrounded by such masterpieces it sometimes feels like they aren’t holding up to what the rest of the CD has to offer.