I admit it. I have heard all the new songs before the album was released. Not on heavy rotation though. And not in their correct order. So I wasn’t too spoiled when the album finally arrived yesterday.
After the first spin of Black Holes And Revelations, I realized how good it works as a whole. First single Supermassive Black Hole was quite a difficult affair on its own, but on the album, it feels very comfortable between Starlight and Map Of The Problematique. Together with opener Take A Bow, the four songs show what happens when Muse go clubbing. I think it’s an excellent start to the album. Soldier’s Poem feels more like a short intermezzo and gives you an early hint at those often-mentionned Queen-parts that will follow. It is also one of the most fragile pieces of music from Muse. Next song, Invincible, has apparently been labeled as one of Muse‘s weakest outings yet, but I think it’s one of their best! I really like the slow build-up to the explosive finale. And I love the drum work here! No, I definitely don’t think this is weak!
Assassins and Exo-Politics brings Muse back to the rock terrain. Here, you’ll find those guitar riffs that have become a trademark for the band. But where are the pompous, playful mini-operas that we learned to love on Origin Of Symetry (New Born, Citizen Erased)? Fear not… City Of Delusion gives you just that. Spanish guitars and trumpets mix up elegantly with thriving guitars, strings and Matt Bellamy singing his heart out. The Spanish guitars also lead us into Hoodoo, the second ballad on Black Holes And Revelations. Excellent singing of Bellamy again, and that piano part in the middle is ace! Last but not least there’s the Knights Of Cydonia, and Muse can now no longer deny the influence of Queen. Small hints are scattered all over the album, but the chorus in the middle part of KoC is just A Night At The Opera re-visited. But it works! It’s an epic track, and one of the immediate favourites on the album.
So then… Muse have done it again. They’ve added more unexpected influences to their music which makes this album contrast pleasantly with the previous ones. There’s the good of the three predecessors, mixed with some great new ideas. Muse have added another planet to their music universe, and we now can start to think about where they will lead us next time!