Bardenas Reales

Music Black Holes and Revelations Muse (album - 2006)
Muse's fourth album, Black Holes and Revelations, went triple platinum and featured a cover that turned the Spanish nature park Bardenas Reales into a Martian landscape.
Bardenas Reales
"Bardenas Reales 055" by Miguel. (respenda) is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

“The four man are sitting in an alien landscape around a sturdy wooden table with their symbolic nature represented by suitably decorated apparel.”

Storm Thorgerson, designer of the cover, from his book The Raging Storm.

When the three musicians of Muse delivered their fourth album, they had no idea that Black Holes and Revelations would become a triple platinum record.

The cover of the disc represents four men with improbable costumes, sitting around a table, playing with small horses, in a Martian landscape. Made by Storm Thorgerson (1944-2013), the author of the design for Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, the photograph was taken in Bardenas Reales, a semi-desert area of Spain.

Initially, it was understood that, inspired by Knights of Cydonia and Invincible, the four men would evoke the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, modernized, sitting in a space landscape. But Storm Thorgerson has another idea and proposes this unique site.

With its Monument Valley look, the places, and especially their mountainous massifs, inspire the designer. If the riders please the groups, it is not the case of the landscape, which they would have preferred more “Martian”. Storm Thorgerson changes the colorimetry a little, incorporates the Earth in the sky and Bardenas Reales is on the red planet.

There are two other versions of the cover. The first one without filter, with the real landscape of Bardenas Reales, and the second one in an extraterrestrial crater. As for inspiration, we are far from the desert.


The four horsemen of the “modern” apocalypse described by Storm Thorgerson are Paranoia, Intolerance, Narcissism and Greed.

Bardenas Reales

The semi-desert area of Bardenas Reales covers 42,000 hectares. It is particularly popular with tourists.

Bardenas Reales has long attracted many visitors, leading the authorities to register it as a natural park before being recognized as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 2000. There are written records mentioning the area since the Middle Ages and its rocky formation due to erosion makes it an exceptional landscape. Its “fairy chimneys” and its mountains with pointed peaks are particularly popular. In addition to its unique panoramas, the area also attracts many Game of Thrones fans as some scenes from the series were filmed here.

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By Damien Duarte

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Passionné par la culture pop depuis son enfance, ses références vont de Donald Duck à Batman en passant par Marty McFly. Fantripper dans l'âme, voyager sur les traces de Ghostbusters, James Bond ou des héros de romans comme Cotton Malone fait partie d'un séjour idéal et réussi !

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