I was nominated by a friend on Facebook to do the “Top 10 albums over 10 days” challenge. I’ve been wanting to write about my favourite albums ever for a very long time, and I figured that this would be the perfect opportunity to do so! So feel free to join me on my journey, as we look through my top 10 albums of all-time!

#2: Muse – Origin of Symmetry

Muse’s Origin of Symmetry is one of the reasons why I love and hate this band in equal measure, why I praise them and shoot them down at the same time. The main crux is, that that they peaked way too early in their career, with this, their second album, being their best. Their records have arguably not reached the same level of quality since. Ok, so that’s a bit unfair. After all, the golden age of Muse began with Origin of Symmetry and came to a close at the end of the Black Holes & Revelations cycle, but what an era it was! From start to finish, this album is excellence. It’s dark, cryptic and has haunting moments. There’s guitar work that is face melting, as well as beautifully crafted piano segments. I do admit, I’ve never really been a fan of Matt Bellmay as a vocalist, or a lyricist, but they come across as psychedelic enough, that they actually work amongst all the insanity. Meanwhile, Chris Wolstenholme’s energetic bass playing, and Dom Howard’s technical drum skills show that the band has a prowess not to be scoffed at. Any one of them could hold the rest of the band up on their own merits! The mystical piano notes of “New Born” kick off the proceedings, before we’re slapped in the face with an absolutely intense wall of sound from the trio. The space-like “Bliss” feels like being transported to another world with euphoric synths and an energetic pace. “Space Dementia” is the complete opposite, and goes for a dark and twisted tone, with an urgent sounding piano melody and ending with destructive riffs. “Hyper Music” brings in a hint of aggression, massive riffs and an unrelenting dream beat driving the song forward. This leads seamlessly into the legendary “Plug in Baby”, with it’s unforgettable, iconic riff. The energy is so strong in this one that it’s hard to sit still whilst listening to it! “Citizen Erased” is absolutely monumental, and in my opinion, the band’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”, with the amount of stunning evolutions it goes through. Distorted guitars give way to an epic, almost metal, section moving to a more minimalistic atmospheric tone, then we’re treated to another stunning conglomeration of sounds, before ending with a sombre piano number. It’s incredible that they got all these elements to work together so flawlessly! “Micro Cuts” feels apocalyptic, creating a huge soundscape that feels like the end of the world. “Screenager” is an excellent contrast to this, slowing the tempo, but feeling no less dark. The hollow sounding drumbeat and softer guitar work create an eerie atmosphere. “Darkshines” has a tragic feel to it, the almost western sounding guitar leading into frenetic piano and a rock opera style chorus. The Nina Simone cover of “Feeling Good” almost feels out of place on this record. However, with hard hitting drums, and chunky bass accompanying the piano notes, Muse put their own spin on it, making it slot in here without any transgressions. “Megalomania” closes the album, utilizing pipe organs for a huge, cinematic finish. Origin of Symmetry isn’t just an album to listen to, it’s an experience. It takes you into Muse’s crazy world and embraces their craziest, wildest ideas. It’s the trio at their best; pushing the envelope and their creative scope past it’s limits. This is legitimately their most cohesive and strongest collection of work, and is truly unforgettable.

Released: 2001, Genre: Rock/Alternative

Tracklisting:

  1. New Born

  2. Bliss

  3. Space Dementia

  4. Hyper Music

  5. Plug in Baby

  6. Citizen Erased

  7. Micro Cuts

  8. Screenager

  9. Darkshines

  10. Feeling Good

  11. Megalomania

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