Muse – Drones Review

With their 2013 album “Live at Rome Olympic stadium” behind them, English rock band Muse quickly began writing for what would be their 7th LP, “Drones”, the album that’s secured their fifth UK number 1.  Muse focused on returning to their roots with “Drones”. Bellamy stated that “The album should be something that really strips away the additional things we’ve experimented on with the last two albums.” The orchestral and electronic sounds that were present in their 2009 album “The resistance” and “the 2nd Law” from 2012 are most definitely absent, apart from in songs such as “dead inside” and “mercy”.

It’s a bit of a no brainer that Mercy should have been left off an album that’s supposed to be representing the old Muse. The whole song could have been written by Chris Martin and the Coldplay squad, and in my opinion Muse should have ditched the feminine piano melody in order for it to match up with songs like Reapers for example. The Bass and guitar is spot on, and it really could have worked if the piano was exempt, But nevertheless the diversity is somewhat refreshing, if ill fitting. Now the guitar riff for the track Psycho is impeccable, and watching the lyric video on YouTube it’s evident that people are happy with it, “HOLY SHIT THEY ARE BACK <3” is one of many comments left by satisfied fans, but I must say, I was left feeling a bit cringed out from the lyrics. It seems like quite a few critics, myself included, are extremely happy with the actual songs themselves but have issues with the half hearted lyrics. It’s almost as if the words are disguised by the heavy instrumentation, you kind of forget that the whole song actually only has two proper verses, and they aren’t that great. All in all, the instrumentation of psycho is undeniably the old Muse, but the line “Your ass belongs to me now” is never something I would have imagined leaving the mouth of Matthew Bellamy in a normal conversation, let alone a released single. It’s the absolute epitome of shit lyricism, and I really wish I could unhear it. But whatever Matt, have it your way.
When you stray from the bad, you certainly encounter the good of this album. Since “Drones” is a concept album, it’s done its job of highlighting the dehumanisation of modern warfare and its impact, particularly with the song reapers and it’s unnerving video. We live in a world that can be obliterated by the touch of a button, and the song reapers sets out to prove just that. It’s really great when music can be used in a way that brings attention to the worrying aspects of our reality that many of us choose to sweep under the rug.  One of my favourite tracks from the album is ‘dead inside’. It’s evident that it has some operatic influences, but this seems to work because the guitar is still heavily present in the background. The percussion is potent and loud and I’m still in two minds about whether or not it fits or if it takes away attention from the vocals which I really enjoy in this song.
In general I love the album, if Psycho was permanently removed / had different lyrics. But beggars can’t be choosers, and myself along with thousands of other Muse fans are happy that the band have done something that’s brought them back to where they came from musically. It’s refreshing to know that such a thing is actually possible, as so many musicians stray from their origins and focus on selling rather than making enjoyable content. The album is well constructed and the message behind it is a powerful one.
Muse – Drones = 8/10
Hannah Crowe

Single Review – Muse – Reapers

Muses seventh LP “Drones”, due for release on June 8th, consists of a chilling 12 track narrative, with an unprecedented boldness that brings to light plenty issues governments prefer to keep suppressed.

A particular track from the LP with an even more particular message is the song “Reapers”. The intro is something you’d hear on Guitar Hero’s expert mode, a fast paced solo filmed in a white hot Call of Duty style survival map, matching the theme of the whole video- Trying to escape from radicalised methods of warfare, or in other words, Drones. The theme that is present in every single track of the album. “Drones” is a musical masterpiece, and also a massive reality check.
The track is super heavy on guitar riffs with aggressive percussion, emphasised by the painfully bold lyrics describing brutalised and deceitful governments. The stereotypical Femme Fatale is also a main element of the video. A blonde, red lipped female seductively controlling the air strikes, just the perfect amount of power to be deemed attractive and harmless by male listeners. Any more power, minus the red lips and angelic face, may have came as a threat. The most important issue raised by the blatant female objectification, be it on purpose or not, is how much this highlights how much we live in a mans world that still adheres to the binding laws set by the patriarchal order. And this “mans world” that we live in, is manipulating technology to commit mass murder and genocide, through the push of a button- by use of drones. What muse have done with not only this track but their whole album, is bring to light the damaging issues of modernised warfare that could end up destroying our planet.
Muse have obliterated any slither of an electronic sound and really focused on creating a heavy instrumental presence to match the mood that the lyrics set. What’s interesting is that although Matt Bellamy’s vocals tell the story, the guitar is still the main element of this song. But nevertheless the vocals are incredible, and take added depth from Chris Wolstenholme’s backing. Muse have truly gone back to their roots with “Reapers”, and hopefully the message of this album reaches exactly who it was desired to reach.
Hannah Crowe

Single Review – Muse – Psycho

The Devonshire alt-rock big hitters that are Muse have announced a new album Drones for June 8th and with it comes the release of an initial track from it entitled ‘Psycho’. It’s very much a slight departure from the more pristine and cleaner rock of the bands last material and is a more rough and loose affair with the pounding, fuzzy guitars with the marching beat of the drums. These are met with screams from Matt Bellamy or with the vocal harmonisation of the group over the heavy instrumentals. It’s not a ground breaking track from Muse in any sense, but will be welcomed by hardened Muse fans.