Review: Muse Return to Form on ‘Drones’

Written by Lucas P. Jones

2015-extralarge_1428002646680

Muse came together in 1994, three British kids from Teignmouth, Devon looking to play some rock and roll. Fast forward two decades, and they are, without a doubt, one of the biggest rock bands in the world. Known for their energetic live performances, use of moving stage props and lighting, and in your face rock riffs, Muse is surely a force to be reckoned with. Their long career has produced seven studio albums, and four live albums including the HAARP DVD, which focuses on their spectacular performances at Wembley Stadium.

Winners of “Best British Live Act” twice, and receiving a Grammy for their album The Resistance, Muse has sold more than 17 million albums worldwide. But while their first albums sat squarely in the pocket of modern riff rock, their last album, The 2nd Law, was a bit of a departure stylistically from their previous efforts.

Photo Credit: Danny Clinch
Photo Credit: Danny Clinch

Muse released two singles leading up to the album, the tracks “Dead Inside” and “Psycho”. Ill be the first to admit, when I heard “Dead Inside”, I feared the worst. I wasn’t a huge fan of The 2nd LawI appreciate when bands step outside of the box and try something different, but for me, that album just didn’t do it. I missed Bellamy’s kick-ass guitar work. Then “Psycho” came out, and all was right with the world. That track features a funky, heavy, groovy, riff that begs to be turned up as loud as humanly possible. The first time I heard it, I had no choice but to pick up my guitar and play along.

Drones keeps the energy going on with the 5th and 6th tracks on the album, “Reapers” and “The Handler” respectively. “Reapers” is hands down the best song on this album. An awesome synthy intro solo, a heavy and catchy chorus, and verses and a guitar solo that are reminiscent of “New Born”, one of my favorite Muse tracks.  “The Handler is solid as well, keeping the mid-album energy up to bring us home.The back half of the album has an air of epic finality about it, which is really cool in the sense that it makes the entire album feel like a concept album rather than just a bunch of songs on a CD. It starts to drift back into The 2nd Law territory here and there, but Bellamy’s voice is just so damn fantastic that you really don’t even care. “Aftermath” and “Drones” feel like compositions with multi layered vocals and stringed instruments accompanying the otherworldly bass playing of Christopher Wolstenholme. Seriously, you need to listen to this album of something that can pump bass, otherwise you will miss some of the best bass lines of 2015.

All in all, i really enjoyed this album from start to finish. I’m a sucker for albums that follow a theme throughout, and this did not disappoint. Crazy awesome guitar riffs, groovy bass lines, and heavy, full-sounding drums fall in behind the pipes of Matt Bellamy to produce a truly fantastic rock record. My only complaint is with the actual lyrical content. The motif of government oppression and resistance has been present in Muse’s last few albums, and while you can’t fault a band for singing about what they feel passionate about, it would be nice to hear a change of motif on their next album. That being said, if you are an old-school Muse fan, and looking for something to rock out to this summer, I highly recommend.

‘Drones’ by Muse is currently available on iTunes

Rating: 8/10

================================================================================================================