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Entry updated 2 April 2015. Tagged: Music.

UK rock band, formed in Devon by frontman Matthew Bellamy (1978-    ). The group favours a bombastic and indeed deliberately melodramatic musical style, guitar-based but augmented with many other instruments, amplified and overdriven to sometimes preposterous levels. The group's songs, often science-fictional, are conveyed in Bellamy's distinctive voice, stronger at the top-end and with a wailing falsetto. This is a musical mixture that works well with grandiose or apocalyptic material, such as the techno-fears of "New Born", the hysteria of "Space Dementia" (both on Origin of Symmetry, 2001), or the End-of-the-World "Apocalypse Please" and "Time is Running Out" (both on Absolution, 2003). "Sing for Absolution", a hit single from this last album, is not genre, although the music video made to accompany the release is a high-budget short film in which the band fly a Spaceship from a dying world, crash on a desert planet, and discover at the end that it is Earth. Black Holes and Revelations (2006) is not a concept album, but works so obsessively and energetically through its fascinations (space travel, the so-called "face on Mars" and the Revelation of St John amongst others) that it sounds like one. The band's next release was a concept album, however, of sorts: the widely praised The Resistance (2009), which embroiders a future narrative through political Dystopia and environmental collapse (see Climate Change) to – in the last track, "Exogenesis" – a mass exodus from Earth to the stars, with all the shrieking, prog-like, emotive musical-dramatic bells and whistles. It manages to be both preposterously melodramatic and rather grand and moving. [AR]


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