Muse – Black Holes and Revelations

I was first introduced to Muse back in 2004 thanks to their explosive video of the single "Hysteria" and for some reason I always thought they were an Italian band; they had to be, so much passion, so many theatrics in their compositions that Queen might be the closest match to their sound. Promptly educating myself, I eventually learned that they were a British band from Teignmouth and eventually discovered the wonders of their first album, Origin of Symmetry, thanks to a pivotal scene in the horror film 'High Tension' that featured Muse's song, 'Newborn'.

And then the biggest mistake of my life happened: I did not pay attention to Black Holes And Revelations when it originally came out, back in 2006. For some reason (stupidity, mostly) I did not enjoy its first single, 'Knights of Cydonia' and I assumed that the rest of the album was similar in style to that particularly unappealing (at the time, incredibly) song.

Fast forward to 2009, the year where I heard Muse's 'Supermassive Black Hole' a million times at the entertainment store I work in, thanks to the similarly massive release of "Twilight" during the beginning of the year. I enjoyed that single the more I listened to it and was floored by the revelation that it had come out of Black Holes And Revelations. Then a trailer for my hotly anticipated "Watchmen" adaptation came out, featuring 'Take A Bow' from this very same album; needless to say, I wanted to create a time machine to punch myself in the face three years ago for not giving Black Holes And Revelations the respect it deserved.

I thankfully have rectified the situation by adquiring Warner Bros.' 2009 vinyl re-release of this fantastic piece of musical wonder. It fills me with heartwarming glee that Warner would reissue Muse's entire catalog on vinyl, the same kind of glee that I experienced when I saw a label on a Rilo Kiley's Under The Blacklight that simply read "Because Sound Matters".

Like I mentioned before, I've listened to a few singles off of this album for quite a few times (and yes, even 'Knights of Cydonia' thanks to, of all places, Guitar Hero) but I have to admit that this is the first time I've listened beyond Matthew Bellamy's falsettos and Dominic Howard's frantic drumming. This is a common occurrence with vinyl and one of the many important reasons I enjoy the 'album experience' over and over, paying a small premium for the LP version of any given release. The album itself, as a whole, has a quite bit more cohesive path than Origin of Symmetry or even Absolution and the band's experimentation with slight/weaker sounds (many of which I had not heard even by using quality headphones while listening to the CD release) serve as a quaint sonic patchwork for Muse's traditional blast choruses and dramatic lows and the engineering on this Vinyl happily brings out all these nuances. To be honest, the cover artwork itself justified the price of admission for these Muse re-releases, but Warner outdid themselves by giving us records that were clearly destined for vinyl.

Because sound matters, indeed.

"In 2004, U.K. favorite Muse broke through in the U.S. with Absolution and major performances across America that won legions of new fans. In 2006, Muse takes a bold new step with Black Holes And Revelations, a powerful, upbeat epic album that takes the band’s music to a whole dimension. Once again co-produced by Rich Costey (Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave), Muse incorporates influences from electronica and Prince to pure pop. The album is sure to be a revelation to those still unfamiliar with the 2005 Brit award winner for Best Live Act who headlines this summer’s Reading and Leeds festivals."