on 29 July 2001
Quite simply, I love this album to pieces. As someone who never owned a Muse record until the New Born single was released, I can't claim to be a critically informed reviewer; all I CAN say is that if you liked the 2 singles (as well as forthcoming single Bliss) then get the album because it's ALL like that. There seriously isn't a bad track; it's just a continuous swirl of gorgeous riotous noise that leaves you disappointed when one track ends, only to be immediately uplifted again when the next one starts. Matt Bellamy's voice reaches exquisite levels of fervour and emotion - I don't know if he's being serious or melodramatic or both and I can't begin to comprehend the lyrics but DAMN it sounds fantastic anyway. The tunes, needless to say, rock. And, unlike a lot of the trash out there, they ARE tunes; you get the feeling some actual effort and musical talent was put into them, and in no small amount. No ambiguity here then; this is an album that will make others wonder why you're smiling in the rain, and if you've got a handy wide open space in which to sing along at the top of your voice (or if, apparently like Bellamy, you just have no inhibitions), then so much the better.
on 23 December 2005
I am a massive radiohead fan and got origin because people always say muse are very similar to radiohead. I listened to the album once, and it blew me away. This is what I imagine radiohead would have done if they had gone back after ok computer to heavier "the bends" style rock. But enough about radiohead, this album...
What can I say apart from it's amazing. Each song is so much louder and more powerful than I thought it would be, but they still have the radiohead derived intricateness and amazing music and vocals to back it up.
There really arent any bad songs on this album and its going directly under OK Computer to be my second favourite album, EVER.
on 20 June 2001
i didn't really get into muse when they first came out although i liked their singles, but i thought this was a vital purchase, and it was. it's not at all indi music like coldplay, and only nods towards rdiohead in bits but not as much as showbiz could have. i love the prog-rock influences like King Crimson because it makes prog cool again. muse don't care about being pretentious they just make excellent songs with strong bass and experimental guitar and keyboards, and mr.bellamy's voice is stunning. i love the beautiful keyboards on bliss and the latin/reggae vibe on darkshines. two of the songs (hyper music and citizen erased)sound just like a rage against the machine riff but it's turned into muses own style just like the nina simmone cover 'feeling good'. it's clever, interesting and different, i'd recommend it to people who like radiohead's heavier moments and the structure of tools songs or anyone with an open mind. my mum likes it but it just shows how cool she is. buy it if you want something new and exciting this year.
on 21 June 2002
Following a debut album as accomplished as 'Showbiz' was always going to be hard, but Muse return with a nigh-on flawless album.
'Origin of Symmetry' is prog-rock at its absolute finest and the depth achieved is incredible. From the arpeggiated, synthesised melody of 'Bliss', the bluesy 'Feeling Good', and the fantastic, 7 minute, prog majesty that is 'Citizen Erased': a track with a brilliant instrumental and an sublime ending.
Lyrics are always slightly bizarre in prog, 'Origin of Symmetry' is no exception. Bellamy has an incredibe voice and his lyrics are, in places, downright scary. In particular, 'Meglomania', featuring some very disturbing mental images.
There is something about bands' second albums - the albums are nearly perfect. Just look at Feeder and Placebo - 'Yesterday Went Too Soon' and 'Without You I'm Nothing' were more or less perfect albums. 'Origin of Symmetry' is akin to those two albums and Bellamy, it must be said, is a musical genius. If you have even the slightest doubt about buying this album, don't, just buy it, you will not be disappointed by the seamless quality and endless lastbility of one of the best albums I've ever listened to.
on 25 June 2002
I heard this album by accident when my 13 year old daughter brought it home, and I was impressed enough to go out and buy my own copy. I have to say (with affection) that it's wasted on her, and I'm not sure there are many other teenagers around who will grasp why Muse are so important. In fact you probably have to be a 40-something like me to fully appreciate who their influences have been and what the young band has done with them.
The trouble with Muse is that they make the creation of superb art rock look so easy that most listeners will take it for granted. Unless you've been around a few years and listened to a few other bands' attempts to create this sort of music, then you may fail to appreciate the unique mix of creative talent, inspiration, sheer hard work, and encyclopaedic knowledge of rock history that must have gone into this project.
Sadly, the only influence most reviewers on this site have spotted has been Radiohead. That's fair enough up to a point. Matt Bellamy sounds a bit like Thom Yorke on some songs, and Muse owe Radiohead an even more important debt: It's only because Radiohead carved out a mass market for this kind of art-rock back in the late 90's that there is an opening for new bands like Muse now. However, it is unfair to write Muse off as copyists. On the contrary, they have in some respects surpassed Radiohead at their best, matching the sonic ambition of Radiohead's later work without sacrificing the melodic sweep and the compelling hooks that made "The Bends" so listenable. What's more, Bellamy's voice is a considerably more flexible and emotionally powerful instrument than Yorke's, and embraces far older and deeper influences going right back to the late '60's. Van der Graaf Generator is the most obvious influence, but there's also a heavy sprinkling of King Crimson, at least a nod to middle-period U2, a hint of Japan and others if you listen for them. It's all very British, but encyclopaedic for all that.
The key structural difference between Muse and that first wave of prog bands is a welcome one: Muse have learned to say in a four-minute song what some of the seventies prog-rockers needed a 20 minute mini-concerto for. They have some way to go before they outgun the older bands for sheer musical virtuosity, but even that is no bad thing. At least this never pretends to be anything but rock - a boundary that some of the old prog bands came dangerously close to crossing - and they have all the time and talent in the world to refine their art.
So what will you hear? Among a wealth of styles, you'll get delicate baroque-style keyboard arpeggios, some thundering ostinato bass lines, crunching splintery guitar, rock solid percussion, and possibly the most awesome, spine-tingling rock vocalising you've ever heard. Ultimately, it must be said, the band has so far broken little new ground. They seem to have been concentrating so far on drawing their influences together and weaving them into whole cloth for the new decade. But they are still amazingly young for this sort of mature work, and the intelligence and awesome technique they have brought to the task promises to propel them to the front rank.
on 24 June 2007
I am outside the usual Muse fan demographic if I'm honest. A bit older than most in that the first album I had of theirs was 'Black Holes and Revelations' bought for me by my teenagers for Mother's Day! Loved the album so went and bought 'Absolution' and 'Origin of Symmetry'. At first I found both slightly more inaccessible than BHAR. I stuck them in the CD interchanger and listened, and listened and then...I got it. The depth, intricacy and sheer brilliance of this music grabbed me, wrapped me up and held on tight. I agree with the reviewer who says that 'Origin of Symmetry' is a perfect album. There is no bad track and 'Citizen Erased' is the best track of all. After listening to all the Muse CDs for 3 months in preparation for visiting Wembley for their Supermassive gig, I now find other music seems one dimensional and rather staid. Having removed the CDs from the car to listen to other stuff for a change, I've now reloaded it with Muse. They were beyond awesome at Wembley, and I went prepared to be disappointed. If you are in doubt, doubt no longer. Buy this album or any other Muse album, take a bit of time and enter a higher level of appreciation for what man and music can achieve.
on 17 November 2003
I think Origin of Symmetry is a fantastic album. I've really enjoyed listening to it over the years, and it's a sound investment, as you don't get sick of it after hearing each track 5 times. I agree with the other critic that not all of it's tracks are absolutely stunning, but I'd say at least half are, and I'd definitely recommend it.
on 7 January 2004
I find it strange that I am reviewing OoS now, considering I bought the album (on MD) about a year ago. I only since I recently bought absolution that I went back to this album and realised how great it is! The daringness of this album is what really hits me, tracks like screenager and the more *unusual* tracks on this ablum make me appreciate Muse more for the fact that they're not afraid to try something different, something which is not seen of many bands today.
Quick run down on the tracks:
The first Muse track I ever heard, and it pulled me in straight away. Great guitar and keyboard licks. One for the mainstream rock fans. Great vocals by Matt in this ones, display his talent with out going too over the top.
It took me while to get into this track, not so sure if should have been realeased as a single. It still oozes talent, fantastic great sweeping keyboard arpeggios, and a gorgeous bass sound from Chris.
I love the opening to this! I am a fan of classical piano anyway so I would, but still the way it hits in with the big minor chords, with Matts voice slowly creeping into the first vocal, bloody great! Interesting effect on the chorus, with a slow phase put on Matts voice, not sure if i like it or not sure, but definately different.
Fat guitar stuff is great, hence why this is great! Great drumming track. One of my Favorite vocal lines, great sound that hits you as he gets higher in pitch.
Plug in Baby:
The track that made me start playing the guitar! A good track for people new to muse, not my favorite anymore probably because I've played it too much. Great guitar licks, no wonder it was released as a single, definately a rocker-friendly track.
I can imagine the idea behind this track was, put everything we can into it and see if it works. and it does. From the great harmonics and fat bass riff at the beginning, to the slow and more sombre chorus at the end, this has to be my absolute favorite Muse track. It doesn't ever take you away, its always changing its mood, effects and emotion. Awesome!
This is the ultimate like it or hate it piece. I'm still not sure now where I sit with it. Matts voice is completely falsetto throughout this piece, giving a completely operatic sound (although sometimes its hard to make out the actully words from the notes). Definately a step in the 'try something different' slot, I'm getting to like more every time. Guitar riffs at the end are to die for!
I love this, gorgeous minor+maj7 chords for the musical out there. Acoustic guitar is a nice break from the distortion on the other tracks. Great lyrics, gorgeous chord progressions and a nice use of latin percussion. Definately one of my favorites.
A lot of people dismiss this track as a mediocre track, randomly enough I love it. Large array of different guitar/keyboard solos, ranging from the distortion guitar to start with, brass keyboard, and beatiful highly reverbed acoustic guitar. My favorite vocal piece, the last couple of choruses are soo full of emotion, Matts near enough shouting with anguish toward the end, love it.
Classic, I really liked the original Nina Simone version before I even heard of Muse, this just takes a fantastic twist on it, its almost cheesy really, you can imagine one of the mjust playing it for a joke at rehearsal, then realising what a good idea it might be!
Another try something different slot, with the church organ entering halfway through the end. I hardly get to listen to this track being the last, as I'm usually listening on train journey etc. The journeys over before the disc! I still like it, even though its been neglected by me, just love the organ!
right, down to the point, I love this album, since buying absolution, this hasn't left my minidisc player. definately a buy and listen to a couple of times before I like ablum though.
9/10 from me, go on buy it, if will willing to hear something different you won't be dissapointed.
on 10 September 2001
Close your eyes. Now try to imagine guitar work that sounds as good as anything by Jimi Hendrix. Add to that a screaming lead singer who never misses a note, belting out some of the most angst-ridden (and strangest) lyrics you've heard in a while. That's pretty much what this album sounds like.
I took a bit of a chance buying their first album "Showbiz" as I hadn't heard their stuff before. I was not disappointed. (And if I'm really honest the only reason why I bought it was because I thought the vocalist looked a little bit like Wolverine out of the recent X-men film.). "Showbiz" got me hooked and I wanted more. However, of the two albums "Origin of Symmetry" is the better.
Muse's music is stylised and is instantly recognisable but the album still retains a good deal of variety. "Screenager" is fairly slow and melancholy; "New Born" is more of a slow build up while "Plug in Baby" is solid rock. My personal favourites are "Hyper Music", "Bliss" and "Citizen Erased". The opening for "Hyper Music" is an absolute killer.
This album however, also has a quality that it is hard to define. There is something about this album that makes it so much greater than the some of its parts. The best way I can describe it is that each of the songs seem to become alive, learn to walk and go their own way. This album has such verve, that when you're listening, it makes you feel alive.
This album is great. I loved it. I even liked the case.
on 29 October 2001
With the current trend of rock music seeming to be greasey Americans playing power chords and screaming alot, its nice to see soemthing thats a bit artistic and is played be excellent musicians. When I say 'a bit artistic' its a bit of an undetstatement, this album screams class, charm and (above all) intelligence.
Matt Bellamy is without doubt the best thing in British music at the moment, eclipsing people like Mark Greaney of JJ72. He shows us quite astonishing guitar and piano playing (have you ever tried playing the tremelo bits on 'New Born'?) but it's done with taste and decency and never decends into self-indulgent solo epics (well once or twice maybe). This is complemented by some excellent drum and bass work (curtosey of Dom and Chris) Which allows Matt to concentrate on his singing.
I like all the songs but my favourite track on the album is 'Citizen Erased' just cos the music in it is mental. 'Micro Cuts' can get a bit annoying with its falsetto screaming but has a really cool guitar part at the end to save the day.