Muse – ‘Origin of Symmetry’

Released 17th July 2001

I recently acquired this classic album on vinyl and it is a welcomed walk down memory lane. Origin of Symmetry is a powerful statement by a band that, at the time, was relatively new and still finding their way. Muse packed musicianship, vocal ability, heavy riffage and melodic tunes into their second album, making it stand out as an essential album of the early 21st Century.

Before I even put Origin of Symmetry on the turntable, the cover and the inserts intrigued me. Opening the gate-fold of the double LP, artworks by various artists litter the housing all titled ‘Origin of Symmetry’. This imaginative idea compliments the album making even the cover exciting and unique, which is exactly what Muse is, this is further outlined in the music.

The first track ‘New Born’ kicks off the album with a hypnotic piano riff provided by Matthew Bellamy, then Christopher Wolstenholme’s fuzzy bass further adds to the repetitive nature. This fuzzy bass tone is prominent throughout the album forming what would be a signature Muse feature. Dominic Howard enters on the drums and Muse is in full swing, smashing out a viscous lick. The riff game is strong throughout Origin of Symmetry showing a heavier, rock influence that Muse possesses.

An absolute highlight of the entire album is the haunting and memorable vocal performance by Bellamy. With such a unique and intense voice, it catches the ear from the outset. As one gets further into the album, the appreciation for his musicianship and ability is easily recognized. Bellamy’s vocals come to a head in ‘Micro Cuts’, his falsetto is commanding and psychotic. The delivery is fitting and appropriate given the lyrical themes are dark, deep and haunting.

As I put the second LP on the record player, I prepared for ‘Citizen Erased’, which is an epic Muse creation starting heavy and riff based, then delving into different territory. The use of effects and spacey keyboards add texture and depth to this bold musical creation. This song in particular indicates the sound Muse had started to develop, which was a sophisticated and larger scale of composition.

Almost closing the album is a tremendous, and now famous, cover of ‘Feeling Good’ composed originally by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley. This is a new take on an old classic and is done with such taste and understanding, again showcasing Bellamy’s trained vocals. Every time I hear this ‘Feeling Good’ rendition I think back to when I saw Muse at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre in 2007, for the Black Holes and Revelations Tour. In the third verse Bellamy sang through a megaphone to get the same tone that had been captured on the recording. This is the magnificence of this album; most songs lend themselves to a live environment with ease. I can picture songs like ‘Hyper Music’, ‘Plug In Baby’ and ‘Bliss’ being performed live and an audience going crazy, just by listening to the record. This live nature is truly magical considering the album was produced in 2001, and is an indication of an incredible band.

Origin of Symmetry is a dark and beautiful album by one of the greatest bands of the past 15 years. Each song flows into each other making a tremendous record full of exciting and unique characteristics that is only Muse. With originality at the forefront, take a journey back to the beginnings of Muse for the love of music, and discover why they have become one of the biggest bands in the world.

Muse - Origin of Symmetry cover 28-7-2015 Muse - Origin of Symmetry record 28-7-2015

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Holy Serpent, Filthy Lucre and Jungle City

Live at Worldsend Hotel, Adelaide SA, Friday 10th July 2015

I headed down to the Worldsend Hotel last Friday night for a hard rock experience full of sludgy riffs, hypnotic bass lines and spanking drum solos. Holy Serpent served up some heavy music as part of their Shroom Doom Tour, designed to make you chill out and sway back to forth to the mesmerizing tunes.

Kicking off the evening was Jungle City, a band I had seen a few times before; each time I am reminded of their balls-to-the-wall performance. This time was no exception. Every member of the band was rockin’ out and really feeling the music they were playing. I enjoyed Brenton Wilson’s epic voice and tasty guitar solos, backed effectively by Kaileb Rothwell on fuzzy bass and Luke Wilson on drums.

Next up was Filthy Lucre, a heavy rock duo from Adelaide. When they took to the stage I was getting a beverage, what I thought I heard was four people but I was presently surprised to find two musicians jamming out. Filthy Lucre has mastered a full sound with only two members; the resonances I heard were fat and the riffs were flavorsome. As the set continued, the drum performance from Ed Noble was so ferocious that a cymbal was cracked in the process. I was further impressed by the huge tones emanating from Luke Marsh’s unique cigar-box guitar.

Filthy Lucre 10-7-2015

A heavy and flavorsome set by Filthy Lucre.

To end the evening, Holy Serpent provided a muddy and psychedelic set. All the way from Melbourne, these guys know how to put on a heroic doom rock show. Right from the beginning the riffs were big and in your face, just the way it should be. The tempos just slow enough so you can take in all the mud and distortion. Both guitarists, Scott Penberthy and Nick Donoughue, have crafted vintage guitar tones that generously outline the old school influences of the band.

What stood out for me was a performance of ‘Holy Serpent’, a tune that is featured on their latest self-titled record, Holy Serpent. It made the audience jump around and trip out to the head-banging rhythms and riffs that were being created on stage. The songs were leisurely and dirty, helping everyone get into the groove of a powerful and entrancing show.

This was one night of intense, filthy and psychedelic rock music. It was awesome to hear such low-down, grimy jams that captured the listeners imagination and emanated such power and drive. Check out these bands and cross over into a dooming, enthralling world of heavy rock for the love of music.

Holy Serpent 10-7-2015

Holy Serpent provided doom rock at it’s finest.