Independent outlook /// Muse ‘Drones’ [Album] 2015

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Sci-fi virtuosi Muse are in the pantheon of those great bands whose every record is a big event in the world of music. These musicians are not scared to tread unfamiliar sonic territories but at the same time they manage to stay true to themselves and their trademark sound. When Muse’s seventh record was underway, Matthew Bellamy promised heavier sound. By the time the album, which later became known as ‘Drones’, had fully shaped he also called it Muse’s best effort to-date. The moment ‘Drones’ finally hit our ears, it became crystal clear that when Muse promise things, they never go back on their words, but give you even more than promised.

It seems that ‘Drones’ is the quintessence of everything what Muse are about. Their melodies are the explosions of beats and chords that are so unique and hard-hitting that leave you totally breathless. Piano pops in here and there and makes a great difference with its beautifully divine sound. Cinematic passages pierce you, get into your system and circulate there giving an ultimate music pleasure. Muse have been in business for so long that they can afford lyrical digressions to record the hymn of the Olympics, experiment with dubstep or write a Twilight soundtrack. However, they always remain Muse and with such an impressive career the band have nothing left to prove to anyone: you either already have, or don’t have them in your life. With ‘Drones’ Muse step back a bit – to the times of ‘Absolution’ and ‘Black Holes and Revelations’, while at the same time they make a step forward as it’s older and more experienced Muse that have created this record.

Let’s put it straight, though: ‘Drones’ IS heavy. Once it rolls in with abrupt and distorted ‘Dead Inside’, it never stops its victorious march of heavy riffs and hammering rhythm section, varying the tempo only. However, Muse’s heavy is far from thoughtless guitar shredding or beating the hell out of the drums for the sake of it. Muse’s heavy is intricate and unearthly, thunderous and sometimes intimidating, bold and charismatic, but always carefully thought out, sophisticatedly layered and skillfully crafted into the perfection of an album. And there’s not a single filler on ‘Drones’. All of the tracks as well as short spoken pieces are there for an important reason: to create a whole narrative, just as if you were reading a book. Hard-hitting ‘Psycho’ is anarchic and merciless, ‘Reapers’ and ‘The Handler’ built up the strength for a riot and ‘Defector’ is the mission statement, the anthem of freedom and the call for action. Elevating and uplifting ‘Revolt’ has nods to the majestic sound of Queen and absolutely epic ‘The Globalist’ spins 10 minutes of complex structures and building-up switches from mellow calmness to a volcanic uproar and then back again. Softer side of Muse shows on ‘Mercy’ – begging, wary – and lyrical, gorgeous ‘Aftermath’, while the closer ‘Drones’ is stripped down and artistic with Matthew’s unearthly vocals leading the way and sounding like never before. The whole record, though sci-fi it is, sounds so real that produces the feeling of having Muse playing in your room. Electronics highlight just what is necessary and never more thus adding up to the thunderbolt melodies and not overlaying them. Thus ‘Drones’ is a very human record: you can see Muse behind each line and chord progression unobstructed by machines and computer technology.

When you talk Muse and Matthew Bellamy in particular, you might as well be talking some of the cleverest guys in the industry. Scientific, political, social and life-related issues are not alien to the singer and he discusses them as easily as is they were trivial everyday affairs. ‘Drones’ has a clear concept explained by Muse themselves. It is a story of a man who gets into the army, is brainwashed and constantly told what to do there but then starts a revolt, fights for his rights and wins in the end. However, this made-up story is used to disguise real-life issues. Alongside these strong political and social matters wrapped up in a storyline with a fictional character, there’s something more personal. It’s the story that most listeners can relate to and our life itself that Muse talk about. They get everyone to summon the courage to stand up against constant brainwashing and think for themselves. It’s a wake-up call, if you want – a push to get rid of invisible control and breathe in freely. Isn’t it the best advice from one of the most intelligent bands out there?

When ‘Drones’ was announced, for many it immediately became the most anticipated album of 2015. The wait was worthwhile as Muse have once again given us the blessing of a truly great album.

‘Drones’ is out now and available from iTunes.

Find Muse on Facebook.

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