Sound — 9
Muse's second album instantly gives the impression that there's a brooding epic on the way, and it doesn't disappoint. Matt Bellamy's out-of-this-world custom guitar sounds, Chris Wolstenholme's repetitive, pounding, ever-present bass guitar and Dominic Howard's neat, tightly packaged drumming make Origin of Symmetry a rock album you can listen to repeatedly. I'll start (rather logically, it must be said) with New Born. 01. New Born - quiet arpeggiated piano chords give away nothing of the maelstrom that is about to be unleashed upon your eardrums. A perennial crowd pleaser at Muse gigs, New Born is six minutes and two seconds of rock heaven, with a decent solo and a great bass line to boot. 02. Bliss - this time around it's a synth giving us the introduction, before Matt, Dom and Chris blast in to the song, apparently out of nowhere. With synths galore, guitar, drums and a driving bass line, Bliss is exactly that. 03. Space Dementia - once again, a quiet piano opens the song, and continues throughout. Chris' bass line combined with keyboards, creeping up the fret board upon the beginning of the chorus gives Space Dementia somewhat of a spaced out feeling, which remains throughout the song. 04. Hyper Music - more of a straightforward rock song than complex musical genius, Hyper Music breathes fresh air in to the Origin Of Symmetry track list, which was probably what it needed after the brooding moodiness of the last three songs. A catchy riff and a chorus you can stamp your feet/bang your head to (delete as necessary) make this an enjoyable number. 05. Plug In Baby - Matt's opening riff to this song make it one of the most easily recognisable of the entire album, and it will get stuck in your head no matter how hard you try to avoid it. This is probably the most tight sounding song on the album, with regards to guitar, bass and drums all coming together. 06. Citizen Erased - a near seven and a half minute epic that crosses from one genre to another more than once, Citizen Erased is quite possibly the most outstanding track on Origin of Symmetry. If you like loud guitars, you'll be pleased by it. If you like quiet, mellow rock, you'll be pleased. If you like to hear the range of a singer's vocals, you'll be pleased as well. This is a track that a modern rock fan would find hard to fault in any way. 07. Micro Cuts - a shorter track, but by no means is it inferior as a result. Matt really does exceed himself with his vocal range in this song, to the point where if you want to understand what he's actually saying, you have to get out the lyrics sheet. A great bass line and a bouncy exit riff make this my favourite song on the album, no doubt about it, and Muse really pull this song off well live. 08. Screenager - very similar to Space Dementia in regards to the general feeling that this song gives you, I.e. a spaced out, bizarre kind of feeling. This is probably the weakest point in the record, and though I wouldn't dare describe it as filler material, it doesn't seem as up to the standard that the rest of the songs set. 09. Darkshines - another rocking number, this mainly bass-driven song doesn't disappoint live either, and gets the flow that Origin of Symmetry had before Screenager restarted. 10. Feeling Good - the only cover song on this record, and what a cover. This is a lot similar to Muse's cover of The Animal's 'House Of The Rising Sun', insomuch as it's been given a bit of a rock makeover. I can't really comment any more on this, as I haven't heard the original. 11. Megalomania - a suitable closer to what's been a dynamic album, Megalomania's slow and at times mellow nature makes it an easy song to listen to, regardless of your mood.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics of Origin of Symmetry, although I haven't analysed them too much, seem to be more moody, dark, and on a couple of songs even seem to be Matt Bellamy answering his critics and commenting on his rise in popularity. Examples of this would include Citizen Erased (the chorus) and Plug In Baby (ditto). Lyrically, this album differs from all other Muse albums in a way that you'd need to listen to over and over to understand fully.
Overall Impression — 9
Due to its heavier sound, Origin of Symmetry would easily have to be my favourite Muse album. But not because it's heavier, but more for the fact that it shows us the kind of dynamics Matt Bellamy, Chris Wolstenholme and Dominic Howard can achieve. My favourite songs on the album are Micro Cuts, New Born and Darkshines. These songs are each quite different from the other, and perhaps give the greatest range on the album. I really can't complain too much about this record, but if there was something then it would probably be the track listing. And if this CD were stolen, I'd have no hesitations purchasing a replacement, although I don't think it would be necessary, seeing as I have two copies of it already!