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The album showcased Muse's aggressive yet melancholic musical style, with lyrics about relationships and their difficulties trying to establish themselves in their hometown.During the production of their second album, Origin of Symmetry (2001), Muse experimented with instrumentation such as a church organ, Mellotron, animal bones, and an expanded drum kit.It reached number 3 in the indie singles chart and attracted the attention of British radio broadcaster Steve Lamacq and the weekly British music publication NME.Despite the success of their second EP, British record companies were reluctant to sign Muse.During this trip, on 24 December 1998, Muse signed a deal with American record label Maverick Records.John Leckie was brought in alongside Reeve to produce the band's first album, Showbiz (1999).The album brought Muse wider international success.The Resistance (2009) and The 2nd Law (2012) explored themes of government oppression and civil uprising and cemented Muse as one of the world's major stadium acts.
Bellamy cites guitar influences such as Jimi Hendrix and Tom Morello (of Rage Against the Machine), the latter evident in the more riff-based songs in Origin of Symmetry and in Bellamy's use of guitar pitch-shifting effects.In 2002, Muse threatened Celine Dion with legal action when she planned to name her Las Vegas show "Muse", despite the band owning the worldwide performing rights to the name.Dion offered Muse ,000 for the rights, but they turned it down and Dion backed down.It was released as a double A-side single, "Hyper Music/Feeling Good".Origin of Symmetry received positive reviews by critics; NME gave the album 9/10 and wrote: "It's amazing for such a young band to load up with a heritage that includes the darker visions of Cobain and Kafka, Mahler and The Tiger Lillies, Cronenberg and Schoenberg, and make a sexy, populist album." Maverick, Muse's American label, did not consider Bellamy's vocals "radio-friendly" and asked Muse to rerecord the song for the US release.
Absolution (2003) saw further classical influence, with orchestra on tracks such as "Butterflies and Hurricanes", and became the first of five consecutive UK number-one albums.