Growing more dystopian by the album, Muse step into fighter mode on 2006’s Black Holes and Revelations, a nonstop cinematic thriller that seeks to set our minds free while setting the world ablaze. “Take a Bow” sets the apocalyptic scene with a simmering synth arpeggio that boils over into a forbidding rebel call: “You will burn in hell!” frontman Matt Bellamy bellows into the guitar-squiggling, techno-throbbing chaos. But the world can’t end without a stirring love story, and so he quickly slips into the role of romantic lead, aided by the hand-clapping rhythm of “Starlight” and the sexy funk groove of “Supermassive Black Hole.” One track later, on “Map of the Problematique,” the black hole comes to represent the terrifying void of loneliness, paced to the pulse of ‘90s Depeche Mode.
That burning desire for human connection permeates the rest of this roaring epic, even through the militaristic march of “Invincible” and the System of a Down-inspired assault on “Assassin,” in which Bellamy orders for the destruction of “demonocracy.” By the album’s climax, all borders seemingly vanish, as the band weaves together Middle Eastern strings, mariachi trumpets, flamenco guitar, classical piano, and spaghetti-western twang in its closing trio of tracks. The Four Horsemen eventually arrive, galloping into the blistering finale, “Knights of Cydonia,” a “Bohemian Rhapsody” for our darkest of hours. Like the best sci-fi blockbusters, this album will have your heart racing up to the very last second.