Review Summary: Bellamy and his space men release another album that revolves around Bellamy, however everything flows together perfectly to create an absolute beast of an album
An Apocalypse is a very popular theme for an album, and it has been done many times before. Muse release their third album under a truck-load of critics labelling them as ‘Radiohead rip-offs.’ Absolution
marks the official turning point for Muse, far away from that Radiohead style of music, to their own ingenious creation; Space Rock. Belllamy and his astronauts release an extremely comprehensive album, and their most coherent to date.
After a brief intro to the album, you are suddenly met with clashing piano chords, which contrast with each other creating a beautiful finish. "Apocalypse Please" is played completely without guitar. The loud and alert piano wars with itself, and is backed up by solid drum work by Dominic Howard. Throughout the duration of this song Bellamy sings with an extreme level of urgency, and the lyrics ”This is the end/This is the end of the world
consolidates the theme for Absolution
. This track really sets the tone for the entire album; faster, louder, and chock-full of Bellamy’s brilliant vocals. His vocal weaponry is extraordinary, from the hushed vocals on "Sing for Absolution" to the raging, fiery barking in "Hysteria" he has it all.
is the first Muse album to have coherent guitar riffs performed by Bellamy. He really explores some heavier guitar-work, providing some nice head-banging material on certain songs. On songs like "Stockholm Syndrome" you could even go as far to say that it could fuel the beginning of a mosh pit. The tone of the guitar is particularly distorted, much like Chris Wolstenholme’s bass. This adds to the slightly ‘out-of-this-world’ atmosphere that Muse creates in many of its songs. As far as under the radar bassists go, Chris is one of the best. On many occasions throughout the album he has his own subtle bass solos ("Time is Running Out") which are really effective. Guitar solos are fairly scarce (or lacking in length) but when they do arrive, they are phenomenal. The solo featured on "Hysteria" never fails to amaze, as the obvious use of guitar effects and distortion work together as well as strawberries and chocolate sauce.
Muse, being an experimental band, have many ‘what-the"’ cameos throughout Absolution
. Piano is frequently used throughout the album, most notably a lengthy piano solo on "Butterflies and Hurricanes" which is an absolutely stunning piece of music that Bellamy pulls up to the plate. The experimentation really comes into the spotlight when the track "Blackout" sways into your senses. The song is based around an alternating orchestral section, and Matthew Bellamy trials sincerity, falsetto and different tones of singing throughout the entire track to great success. The feel of the song is very similar to the Exogenesis
series Muse released in their latest album.
Surprisingly enough, Absolution
contains four different ballads ("Sing For Absolution", "Falling Away With You", "Endlessly" and "Ruled By Secrecy") something that bands usually keep to a minimum. However, for the most part, Bellamy and his space warriors pull of these ballads to the greatest possible level. "Falling Away With You" is one of the most emotional songs in the album, Bellamy’s vocals during the verse are so full of compassion that it could even soften up the greatest school-yard bully. "Endlessly"and "Sing For Absolution" are both solid tracks and revolve around Howard’s drumming and Bellamy’s vocals which lift them above par.
Muse release one of their best albums yet, containing 14 solid tracks that most critics would find really hard to complain about. Aside from "Ruled By Secrecy"(until the piano kicks in) and "Thoughts of a Dying Atheist" dragging on a fair amount, the album has a limited number of flaws. It is extremely surprising for an experimental band to release an LP to this standard, especially when they had the title ‘Radiohead wannabees’ dumped on their heads after the release of Showbiz
Falling Away With You
Butterflies and Hurricanes
Time is Running Out