"If an apocalypse is on the horizon, this is one album that should be turned up loud before our time runs out": Muse's Absolution (XX Anniversary Edition)

A two-decades-old celebration of the Muse’s classic third album Absolution

Muse: Absolution (XX Anniversary) cover art
(Image: © Warner Music)

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As far as landmark albums go, they don’t come much bigger than Absolution. Dismissed initially as Radiohead copyists, this was the record that blasted Muse into the stadium-slaying stratosphere, earning them their first No.1 album and a triumphant but also tragic headline slot at Glastonbury after drummer Dominic Howard’s dad died hours after their performance. 

Recorded in a post-9/11 world while an (illegal) war in Iraq was kicking off, Absolution saw Muse get angry as they marched into the 21st century armed with dark anthems fuelled by fear and paranoia. Whether it was the end of the world (Apocalypse Please) or tales of abduction (Stockholm Syndrome) frontman Matt Bellamy sang about, it didn’t matter. 

These brilliantly constructed grandiose songs would become the blueprint for the band from here on in. Standout anthems like the stomping Time Is Running Out and the bulldozing Hysteria sat perfectly next to pensive piano ballads such as Sing For Absolution and Ruled By Secrecy

This 20th-anniversary reissue comes with the remastered album and bonus audio on both CD and vinyl, along with an excellent 40-page book detailing how the album came together. Among the pick of the B-sides is an outstanding live version of Blackout at Vienna’s Antic Arena, and a stripped-back take of Butterflies & Hurricanes. If an apocalypse is on the horizon, this is one album that should be turned up loud before our time runs out.

Damian Jones

Freelance journalist for Classic Rock, NME, Sky News, Bandcamp Daily, The Sports Network (TSN), NewsBreak, Uncut Magazine, Festival Flyer, The British Music Digest.