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Black Holes and Revelations ()

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Naysayers listen up: Muse refuses to be the "next" Radiohead. Since forming in 1997, the alternative rock trio has continuously battled comparisons to the famed Oxford group while ambitiously creating a sound of its own, mixing elements of glam, pop, and symphonic music into a rock hybrid. British fans have praised the group for years, despite Americans taking until Absolution to discover Muse and give them their rightful props. Whether or not you championed the grand dramatics of Absolution, Muse is a solid, unique band and Black Holes and Revelations defines those strengths with a passion. Rich Costey joins Muse in the co-production of this 11-song set; together, they create the band's most realized and meticulous album to date. "Take a Bow" sets the scene by layering full rock orchestration with waves of synthesizers and percussion, all of it building up to vocalist/guitarist Matthew Bellamy's aching performance of a world torn apart by its own instability. Though frequently compared to Queen's Freddie Mercury and Thom Yorke, Bellamy comes into his own as a vocalist here. He, drummer Dominic Howard, and bassist Chris Wolstenholme pull equal weight throughout, and Muse sounds like a complete band on Black Holes and Revelations. The sultry, swaggering "Supermassive Black Hole" and the razor-edged paranoiac "Assassin" are prime examples of how adamant Muse is about delivering the biggest rock & roll package possible, while "Starlight" proves they write a radio-worthy anthem without jeopardizing their own ethics. Bellamy howls "You and I must fight for our rights/You and I must fight to survive" during the riotous, Rush-like megalomania of "Knights of Cydonia," and it's true -- they've totally fought for their craft on this one. It may have taken four albums for Americans to get with the program, but with Black Holes and Revelations, the whole world should be watching. ~ MacKenzie Wilson, Rovi Hide synopsis

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