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static shadows

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  1. That is a good point! T2L is embarrassing, but Drones makes me cringe far more.
  2. Origin of Symmetry - Thrashy punk energy, metal riffs, prog sensibilities, classical piano, and old computer game synths all come together in a brilliant, unique explosion of creativity that then slowly descends into equally compelling dark, atmospheric oddities. And Matt's voice and melodies are breathtakingly brilliant. It still doesn't really sound like anyone else. Absolution - Their space-rock, apocalyptic sci-fi pinnacle that really pushed their prog elements while producing some of their best and most ambitious material. It perhaps feels a touch ponderous at times now, but there isn't a bad track on it and it still comes across as their most epic and cohesive statement. Black Holes and Revelations - This added a dose of fun and lightheartedness to the sci-fi rock party and it worked superbly creating some wonderful tracks. In some ways their creativity was perhaps at its height here, with a myriad of styles and moods. Although partially as a result, it lacks a bit in consistency, with some cheesy ballads creeping in. Still wonderful though. --- Simulation Theory The Resistance Showbiz --- Drones The 2nd Law
  3. Tough. The 2nd Law is barely an album and most of it is awful, but it is at least memorably awful. Then there's Drones which is slightly less awful but so incredibly forgettable. I honestly struggle to remember what half the tracks even sound like. It's a toss up, but I think I've got to go with The 2nd Law. I struggle to listen to the vast majority of it.
  4. Break it to Me. It experiments and combines its influences in an interesting, fresh and original way, it packs a real punch, twists and turns in unexpected ways, and has some great melodies. Brilliant track. I also have love for Dark Side's driving 80's synths, Pressure's riffs and chorus, and the funky pop oddness of Propaganda.
  5. I hate the synth line of Get Up and Fight, but find the rest more forgettable than offensive. On the other hand, I do find Thought Contagion's 'final solution' line to be nauseatingly offensive to the point where I find it hard to listen to. But without it the track wouldn't be too bad. Not great, but fine. Something Human is fairly dull and very skippable, but it has a nice enough melody and upbeat feel. I actually prefer it to the majority of Muse ballads over the past decade. So at the bottom of the pile it has to be Dig Down. It's just obnoxious, both instrumentally and vocally. I don't mind gospel, but I don't want to hear Matt attempt it. Especially not with dubstep wubs and an ear-bleedingly stupid melody. It doesn't even attempt to fit in stylistically with the rest of the album either, making it all the more jarring, even when heard in context.
  6. 1) Origin of Symmetry 2) Absolution 3) Black Holes and Revelations 4) Showbiz 5) The Resistance 6) Simulation Theory 7) Drones 8) The 2nd Law
  7. The line fits with Thought Contagion's theme of poisonous political ideologies and the hysteria and at times outright bigotry of Fox News. The issue is that it just comes across as being so flippant. The chorus is not, "We've got to fight against this to ensure that the xenophobic slaughter of millions doesn't happen again." The message is instead, "Too late to fight against another Holocaust, they better just brace for it." The song does seem to be written from the point of view from someone who has been negatively indoctrinated, and is probably intended to warn against that eventual mindset, but it still comes across as startlingly tasteless and flippant at best. Tbh, I wouldn't be surprised if Matt just wanted to work in the phrase to shock and draw on the Holocaust as shorthand for 'a coming apocalypse' and didn't think too much about it beyond that. Regardless, it's a fucking idiotic line to be used so cheaply and ambiguously. It makes me angry every time I hear the song.
  8. I'm not sure it does. It does start with that pleasant Exorcist-knock off piano line and beat, but they clearly couldn't be arsed to develop into an actual track, so have it endlessly repeat while news clips play over it to make it sound important. It's 5 mins long and the last 3 mins of that are utterly redundant. It ends up as a brief pretty demo extended into a waste of time. Or a sequel to The Gallery with less direction, atmosphere and actual songwriting. I still probably wouldn't include it as being worse than/on a par with Guiding Light if it was a b-side separated from Unsustainable. But Muse clearly wanted us to think of them as movements of one underwritten, half-arsed, over-long piece, so it's going in there!
  9. I mean, there are a fair few bad Muse tracks, but worse than Guiding Light? Neutron Star Collision, Explorers, The Big Freeze, Aftermath, Save Me and Dig Down are definitely all up there. Er... down there. Otherwise, as with Guiding Light, I also find it near impossible to listen to all of Madness, both parts of The 2nd Law, and Follow Me without skipping. I fear Get Up and Fight and Thought Contagion may go the same route (although the latter's more due to that one line than musically). I guess Invincible is minutely better than Guiding Light... But there's not much in it. The Defector's almost endearingly bad, so maybe just about escapes. Oh, and The Globalist deserves a mention simply for trying to trick you into thinking 8 mins of mind-numbing awful is worth listening to thanks to being briefly interrupted by an unrelated tacked-on section containing 2 minutes of awesome. I mean, that's just a betrayal. Or awful songwriting.
  10. Have they never heard 'Knights of Cydonia'? I've actually seen the claim that they take themselves too seriously around a fair bit recently, but aside from most of Drones, they've clearly had a vein of intentional Spinal Tap-esque ludicrousness and often self-deprecating humour running through every album from BH&R onwards. There's a lot I'd criticise latter-era Muse for, but being dour and not having a sense of humour is not one of them!
  11. Algorithm - It's a good opener. It feels a touch flabby and meandering in its progression and build, but I love the '80s synths and the climax of those layered vocals. 7.5/10 The Darkside - I love the atmosphere and drive to this track. The vocals are catchy and nicely punctuated in the chorus with clean guitar chords. My only minor gripe is that the live version has a bit more dynamism. Still, one of my favourite Muse tracks in years. 9/10 Pressure - This one keeps growing on me with some really catchy riffs and a great chorus that keeps getting stuck in my head. Straightforward but done really well. 8/10 Propaganda - I didn't like this very Prince-influenced track at first, but it's another that's grown on me. I can see why they wanted it as a companion to Break it to Me. Both play with silence, funk and distorted oddity, with unusual elements coming together. It definitely works better on headphones, where you can get more of the sonic subtleties. I like the vocals and production, but it lacks a really unique element to grab you and I question it coming after the bombast of Pressure, where it just feels lost and out of place. 7/10 Break it to Me - I instantly loved this. It has a weird, distorted, atonal crunch, a funky, aggressive hip-hop beat, sci-fi theramin, and an almost Middle Eastern feel to the vocals. Yet despite all the elements, it maintains a stripped-back and satisfyingly raw quality. It's forms a pretty unique, wonky track. A wonderful experiment. 9/10 Something Human - It's one of Matt's better cheesy ballads, but it's still a cheesy ballad. It's more pleasant than grating, but ultimately dull and rather forgetable. 6/10 Thought Contagion - There are elements I like, with a distorted crunch and wailing sci-fi synths. But the vocal melodies in both the verse and chorus don't quite do it for me. It just feels slightly clunky, unfinished and b-side worthy. And still I can't hear the tactlessly flippant "Brace for the final solution" without feeling a little sick. 5/10 Get up and Fight - I despise those tropical house pop synths in the verse. The chorus is OK but I just end up thinking this would sound better if actually done by David Guetta and sung by SIA, which is clearly what they were aiming for. It's so jarringly out of place with the '80s theme of the album too. 4/10 Blockades - A good slab of '80s inspired rock bombast with BH&R-era Muse. Vocal melody isn't the strongest but it's good fun. 7/10 Dig Down - Gospel paired with that bad synth sound Matt already used in the Madness verses to poor effect. It's just tasteless and really, really obnoxious. And it doesn't fit in the album at all. The acoustic version is a touch better (or at least tonally consistent), but the album version is simply awful. 2/10 Void - A good atmospheric '80s closing track in the vein of Ruled By Secrecy, if without as strong an instrumental motif. Still, I like its brooding, melancholic menace, even if its oddly combined with contrastingly optimistic lyrics for a rather mixed message. 7/10 Overall: A slightly mixed bag, with a distinct drop in quality in much of the second half, but with a real spark of creativity throughout most of it and some of their best material since BH&R. It's far from perfect but it's also far better than I expected! I feel tempered optimism towards it.
  12. On the whole, most of the album is pretty decent. My favourite moments are the '80s synths of Algorithm and The Dark Side, the fun riffs and chorus of Pressure, the odd, wonky and funky Break it to Me, and the pumped synth-rock feel of Blockades, even if it is perhaps over-using those synths at that point. But it does still have a cringey clanger in Dig Down, Get Up and Fight jarringly sounds like a mediocre pop tune written by someone like David Guetta, and Something Human is yet another cheesy Matt ballad for the collection (done OK, but I'll never be in to them). After a couple of listens, I'd say that it's their best album in a while (perhaps even since BH&R), but it's still patchy, boasts some really overly compressed production, and there's nothing that I'd hold up as being startlingly good to join their very best tracks. So... it's OK, makes for a fun listen and is certainly better than the last two albums. But it's not an album I can see myself returning to much in the future. Tempered enthusiasm.
  13. Pretty good. It had a nice couple of riffs and a pretty good chorus (if lacking much of a hook beyond the backing vocals). I really liked the Gremlins video too and the Rocket Baby Dolls reference made me feel all nostalgic! Along with Darkside, thay makes two tracks I genuinely like on this album so far! Admittedly that's out of 5 bit still... That's better than I expected after the last two albums.
  14. Best thing they've done in a long time! Very MotP with a more '80s feel that plays into the early-computer game, Sci-fi vibe. A vibe that's been sorely missing from their last few albums. For me, it's only a good middle 8/pre-chorus bridge for variety (maybe with a cool riff) away from being up there with classic Muse. And even then, it's still pretty good. Surprisingly impressed!
  15. I did go with my anger after hearing it for the first time there. But I expect that is something a lot of people will feel. It does strike me as catastrophically clumsy rather than maliciously ill intentioned. But if there's one issue you would not want to be clumsy over... Their lyrical ambiguity is the reason why they have attracted fans like Alex Jones and Glenn Beck. You would have thought they'd have wanted to stamp that out, not double down on it with a line like that.
  16. ^This. The idea of it being played live, encouraging thousands of people to shout along "brace yourself for the Final Solution" just turns my stomach. Whatever their intent, it's not something you glibly fuck around with. I will be amazed if there isn't a massive public backlash. Edit: I believe it was a line written from a position of racial genocide being something to fear amid the rise of the alt-right, Trump and 'alternative facts' - and Matt's Rolling Stone interview and other lyrics seem to suggest that. But even then, the lyrics are worded troublingly ambiguously. It could as easily be interpreted as being the ravings of a white supremacist angered by 'liberal PC fake news'. Especially as Matt has flirted with elements of the alt-right such as Alex Jones and Brexit in recent years. It's kind of left to fit in with whichever mindset you approach it from on an issue you simply cannot do that with.
  17. Oddly, I strongly disagreed with almost all of your selections too! Most of them would do nothing for me if I heard them cold as examples of exciting guitar work. Very different tastes there. I included both Fury and MotP precisely because of their use of effects to create a really unique sound. As a guitarist myself, that's what I find exciting and interesting. My Bloody Valentine interest me more than Steve Vai! And I wasn't really considering the solos - certainly not as a stand alone thing. Maybe it's because I spent my teens shredding in a power metal band but solos now rarely impress or interest me unless they add to the feel/emotion and progression of a song, or do something really sonically unusual. So for example, I hate the solo in Invincible but love the solos in Sunburn or Citizen Erased. And a riff that thrills me is better again.
  18. Guitar: Plug in Baby Stockholm Syndrome New Born Dead Star Fury Map of the Problematique Knights of Cydonia Screenager Bass: Hysteria Hyper Music Bliss New Born Futurism Sunburn Piano: Space Dementia Sunburn Butterflies and Hurricanes Hoodoo United States of Eurasia
  19. They are probably my two least favourite album tracks across their entire discography.
  20. I'd blissfully forgotten about that line! Fucking hell.
  21. 1) OOS - 9.5/10 2) Absolution - 9/10 3) BH&R - 8.5/10 4) Showbiz - 7/10 5) The Resistance - 6/10 6) Drones - 3/10 7) T2L - 2/10 OOS has the most creativity, originality, and consistency, with a great clash of punk with prog, early computer game music with Rachmaninov and metal riffs. Then throw in some wonderful vocals and unusual chords and song structuring. It's just a brilliant, exciting album that doesn't sound like anyone else. Absolution has some of their best tracks and a more cohesive sound, really pushing their sci-fi apocalyptic ideas, making it more 'futuristic' and epic. I used to rank it up there with OOS. But listening back to it these days, I find it a little bloated with a few duds scattered throughout to persistently grind things to a halt. Still a really good album though. BH&R is great fun. A colourful album with some fantastic tracks. It really felt like they were having a blast making it. But it does have a couple of plodders too and saw the start of the really cheesy ballads. Showbiz is raw and often silly but it has some wonderful tracks. And the rawness is part of its appeal. The Resistance is very hit and miss and the hits just weren't quite up there with what they'd done before. But it is still a lot better than what would follow. Drones and T2L saw them drop off a cliff. If OOS sounded like no one else, then these albums sound like bland, hamfisted rip-offs of other artists. I struggle to choose between them. Drones is blandness personified with cringey lyrics, but T2L's scattergun approach gets to be bottom for being at least as bad, having no cohesion and ending with Chris' bland EP and two underdeveloped instrumentals, like they simply couldn't be arsed to finish it.
  22. DICK DOWN! It certainly is... The guitar solo was pretty good. That's all the praise I can muster. It sounds like an unfinished demo. For a b-side. What happened to this band?
  23. Ha! I do love it when knights defend bridges. So much put into something so small and pointless. Who needs to defend a kingdom when I can defend this bridge?! But then again I find most of the Arthur stories accidentally hilarious. Which version of Lancelot were you reading? I only really know Malory's Morte Darthur version well. I really need to get around to reading Chretien's original romance at some point. It's an amusingly dishonourable way for Lancelot to be introduced into the legend, forced to ride in a cart, causing everyone he meets to not take him seriously and dismiss him as a low born pretender rather than a real knight.

  24. That first band shot (around 00:34), with Matt's face peering out from between Dom's legs... Very strange to hear The Cramps played with relatively polished production! It loses a little bit of their grimey, noisy energy and menace. But I guess you could also say that Muse's cover gives it a nice stomp that goes almost QOTSA-esque towards the end when they crank it up a notch and the distorted vocals come in. Overall, it's pretty good fun - which is clearly all they were going for!
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