When I was first introduced to Muse’s fourth studio effort, Black Holes and Revelations, I found myself sitting in a cobweb-filled gazebo surrounded by nothing but the confines of nature. The setting couldn’t have been more perfect. Beyond the shadowy foliage I could see nothing but the darkening sky above, and the isolation made the experience seem as though it were taking place on another planet. Appropriately so, I might add. As soon as the opening track began with its digitized arpeggios, I sensed immediately that Muse had recorded the album with intentions of treating their listeners to a cosmic concert in outer space. The intensity of the track eventually began to increase rather dramatically, and I imagined that the gazebo itself had magically grown rocket engines and was preparing to blast off into the stars above. It was at that point that the second track, “Starlight,” began to play. From then on, Black Holes and Revelations navigates its listener through a vast galaxy of musical styles ranging from dance, heavy metal, electronic, classical, progressive and even spaghetti western. Though the album tends to sound overproduced at some points, it ultimately proves that Muse has the ability and ambition to create lush, musical landscapes in which many other artists won’t dare venture.

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