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MUSE

Prog Related • United Kingdom


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Muse picture
Muse biography
Founded in Devon, UK in 1994 - Still active as of 2017

Muse comprise Matthew Bellamy (lead vocalist, lead guitarist, and pianist), Chris Wolstenholme (bass guitarist) and Dominic Howard (drummer).

Muse came together at the age of 13, although the band was then known as Gothic Plague. The name changed to Fixed Penalty, then Rocket Baby Dolls, and finally to Muse, following a "battle of the bands" competition which they won despite playing music that was overtly aggressive and smashing everything on stage.

In October 1995, Dennis Smith discovered them playing in a Cornish village and eventually offered them free studio time. IN 1998, Muse released their self-titled EP, and the single "Uno".

Following the success of their second single "Cave", they released their first album "Showbiz" in 1999. Produced by John Leckie, who also produced Radiohead's "The Bends", Showbiz drew a lot of criticism for its similarities with Radiohead, but nevertheless was successful - and the only real similarities lie in Matt Bellamy's vocal style.

The following album, "Origin of Symmetry" was also produced by Leckie, but saw Muse becoming more experimental in the ways they created atmospheres; Wind Chimes, Bones, Llama claws and bubble wrap are all used to create effects.

A stream of awards and touring followed, and it wasn't until 2004 that Muse finally released "Absolution". This time they employed Paul Reeve, John Corfield and Rich Costey to handle production. The latter will be familiar to The Mars Volta fans, but had also worked with the likes of Fiona Apple and Philip Glass. Costey's finicky approach to recording and mixing makes "Absolution" stand out from the Leckie produced albums, in that the overall sound is "bigger" and the bombastic nature of the music is underscored heavily.

Following "Absolution"'s huge success Muse confirmed their status with a storming set at Glastonbury in 2004, more awards and singles success.

Two years later, MUSE followed up with their 2006 release Black Holes and Revelations which shot to number one in the U.K. and broke into the top ten in the USA. The album features the songs Starlight, Supermassive Black Hole, and Knights of Cydonia. Rich Costey returned to co-produce the album.

2009 saw the release of The Resistance, which is probably MUSE's most progressive album to-date, which takes a strong influence from QUEEN. The album features the singles The Uprising, Resistance, U...
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MUSE Videos (YouTube and more)


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Buy MUSE Music


The ResistanceThe Resistance
Warner Bros. 2009
$5.00
$1.32 (used)
Black Holes and Revelations [Vinyl]Black Holes and Revelations [Vinyl]
Warner Bros / Wea 2009
$15.84
$18.51 (used)
DronesDrones
Warner Bros. 2015
$7.06
$2.00 (used)
Absolution (2 LP) [Vinyl]Absolution (2 LP) [Vinyl]
WEA/Reprise 2009
$21.76
$24.02 (used)
AbsolutionAbsolution
Warner Bros. 2004
$5.95
$1.30 (used)
The 2nd LawThe 2nd Law
Warner Bros. 2012
$5.94
$3.98 (used)
Origin of Symmetry (2 LP) [Vinyl]Origin of Symmetry (2 LP) [Vinyl]
Warner Bros. 2009
$20.97
$16.00 (used)
Origin of SymmetryOrigin of Symmetry
Maverick 2005
$5.83
$2.98 (used)
ShowbizShowbiz
Maverick 1999
$5.75
$2.70 (used)
Live At Rome Olympic StadiumLive At Rome Olympic Stadium
CD+DVD
Warner Bros. 2013
$8.39
$7.38 (used)
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MUSE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

MUSE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.13 | 257 ratings
Showbiz
1999
3.92 | 372 ratings
Origin Of Symmetry
2001
3.88 | 416 ratings
Absolution
2003
3.65 | 392 ratings
Black Holes And Revelations
2006
3.26 | 358 ratings
The Resistance
2009
3.23 | 219 ratings
The 2nd Law
2012
3.35 | 111 ratings
Drones
2015

MUSE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.70 | 69 ratings
Hullabaloo Soundtrack
2002
4.42 | 81 ratings
H.A.A.R.P
2008

MUSE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.89 | 29 ratings
Hullabaloo: Live At Le Zenith-Paris
2002
4.23 | 22 ratings
Absolution Tour
2005
3.64 | 14 ratings
Live at Rome Olympic Stadium
2013

MUSE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.00 | 2 ratings
Showbiz Box
2000
4.50 | 2 ratings
Symmetry Box
2004
4.00 | 2 ratings
Absolution Box
2005

MUSE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.00 | 5 ratings
This Is A Muse Demo
1995
2.81 | 10 ratings
Newton Abbot Demo
1997
2.48 | 16 ratings
Muse
1998
2.50 | 12 ratings
Muscle Museum
1999
3.33 | 3 ratings
Uno
1999
3.80 | 5 ratings
Cave
1999
3.40 | 5 ratings
Muscle Museum
1999
3.50 | 4 ratings
Sunburn
2000
3.00 | 4 ratings
Unintended
2000
3.00 | 6 ratings
Random 1-8
2000
3.78 | 9 ratings
Plug In Baby
2001
4.40 | 10 ratings
New Born
2001
3.25 | 4 ratings
Bliss
2001
3.40 | 5 ratings
Hyper Music/Feeling Good
2001
4.09 | 11 ratings
Dead Star - In Your World
2002
3.67 | 3 ratings
Stockholm Syndrome
2003
2.75 | 4 ratings
Time Is Running Out
2003
3.67 | 3 ratings
Hysteria
2003
4.00 | 4 ratings
Sing for Absolution
2004
4.00 | 3 ratings
Apocalypse Please
2004
5.00 | 4 ratings
Butterflies and Hurricanes
2004
3.00 | 5 ratings
Starlight
2006
3.50 | 4 ratings
Knights of Cydonia
2006
2.55 | 19 ratings
Supermassive Black Hole
2006
2.67 | 3 ratings
Invincible
2007
3.40 | 5 ratings
Map of the Problematique
2007
2.67 | 3 ratings
Uprising
2009
2.40 | 5 ratings
Undisclosed Desires
2009
3.25 | 4 ratings
Resistance
2010
2.75 | 4 ratings
Neutron Star Collision (Love Is Forever)
2010
4.21 | 14 ratings
Exogenesis
2010
3.47 | 19 ratings
Survival
2012
1.92 | 25 ratings
The 2nd Law: Unsustainable
2012
2.06 | 25 ratings
Madness
2012
2.40 | 5 ratings
Follow Me
2012
4.00 | 8 ratings
Supremacy
2013
3.75 | 4 ratings
Panic Station
2013

MUSE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Absolution by MUSE album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.88 | 416 ratings

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Absolution
Muse Prog Related

Review by Necrotica
Prog Reviewer

2 stars I feel like I'm being gutted with every word I write, because I'm tearing so deeply into a piece of my own upbringing. The passage of time has become a cruel sadist, strangling me with the fretboard of my own guitar as I hear the pieces I practiced so diligently in my adolescence. It's sickening, but only because of how brilliant and addicting the original experience was at one point. It's sickening, because I can still recite every damn word of something that I can't connect to anymore. The pedestal that shouldered this old giant has since become dusty, long abandoned as newer acts have built their own pantheon from scratch, but it wasn't supposed to be this way. They sang thoughtfully about revolution and social/political corruption. They incorporated beautiful classical flourishes in their energetic brand of alternative rock. They had a charismatic frontman who was proficient in countless different musical fields.

But, again, the passage of time can be cruel.

Much like Muse's relevance, the quality of their peak era has seemed to decay with every passing year. What once seemed thought-provoking now reeks of a horrible sense of pomp and self-importance that puts their sincerity in question. What seemed so beautifully elaborate and intricate now sounds derivative and dated. What seemed like a modern-day rock opera of progressive rock grandeur and propulsive flights of metal fancy has now devolved into something that is simply a dull homogeneous slog. The same things that once distinguished Absolution as a modern classic have now somehow worked against it, to the point that many of its tracks are practically unlistenable now. I can't get through 'Falling Away with You,' with its blend of overly melodramatic croons and repetitive melodies, and the horrendously overblown piano theatrics of 'Apocalypse Please' become a chore to endure for even the mere four minutes of its runtime. Even a lot of the more uptempo pieces feel a bit lifeless today, and tricks that seemed so impressive to my teenage mind - particularly the piano solo in 'Butterflies and Hurricanes' - seem more gimmicky than beneficial to the music now. Adapting influences from Sergei Rachmaninoff into rock music may be cool on a superficial level, but not when it creates a disjointed and disorganized piece of work. The worst thing about all this is that, with a handful of experiences here, I can still sense how much effort and passion were thrown in. 'Hysteria' is still a beautifully uplifting alternative rock classic, and the pulse-pounding heavy metal riffage of 'Stockholm Syndrome' can still bring the chills. But taken holistically, it all falls apart very quickly. There's diversity here; I'll give the band that. We get everything from alternative metal ('Hysteria,' 'Stockholm Syndrome'), to symphonic rock ('Butterflies and Hurricanes,' 'Blackout') to even some slices of melodic punk ('Thoughts of a Dying Atheist,' 'The Small Print'). But it plays out like a smorgasbord of musical stylings that never comes together in a meaningful fashion. The diversity is more scattershot than complementary, and having Matt Bellamy doing his irritating 'operatic' wailing over every different genre doesn't help matters. This is musical Attention Deficit Disorder disguised as variation.

None of this is pleasurable at all to write, as it definitely hurts removing rose-colored glasses to see how gutting reality can be. But listening to Absolution again was eye-opening (or ear-opening) for all the wrong reasons. Hearing it again is like meeting with a friend after years of distance, only to realize you took completely different paths and pursued completely different interests in the meantime. Deep down, there will always be that bitter disappointment when contemplating what could have been a fantastic reunion, and all that remains is an awkward reminder of how young and naive you both used to be. That, more or less, is the feeling I have now. And I also feel sick.

 Drones by MUSE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.35 | 111 ratings

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Drones
Muse Prog Related

Review by guiservidoni

4 stars I've always felt that the criticism towards Muse's Drones is way harsher than things actually are on the album. Such a solid record deserves more recognition, and I quite enjoy it and find myself revisiting it every now and then, even though I don't listen to a tenth of the amount of Muse I used to listen to.

None of their albums follow a story: mostly, they have an extremely vague concept that usually fails to give the albums cohesion. Not by at means they fixed it with Drones, but it was a huge step towards the right direction. The concept of wars, drones, people as pawns, the usual rage against the system, it's all a lot more present and felt throughout the songs. The interludes (Drill Sergeant, JFK) provide that in a great way. I know the interview where Bellamy said it was an actual story, but I bet he made it on the go. I don't buy that story by any means. Nonetheless, it's conceptual work, and a great one.

On this record, the band tried to escape from the electronic dubsteppy sound from the two previous releases and provided a much more rough and powerful sound. Fuzz-filled basslines and crunchy guitars give that, and the musicianship is great. It all goes really great with the concept.

The songs also do have a flow that pleases the listener. I'm not talking about songs with no silence in between, but a thought order that provides peaks and rest-time. The three last songs feel like a single piece and for me it's where the album shines the brightest.

Overall, it gets way less recognition than it deserves, and everyone, from the indie guy that thinks he's cooler because he has all the Arctic Monkeys albums, to the nerdiest prog snob, should give this album a couple of listens before saying it's a three-star record. It's not a masterpiece, but for me it scores somewhere between 4-4.5.

 Origin Of Symmetry by MUSE album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.92 | 372 ratings

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Origin Of Symmetry
Muse Prog Related

Review by darkshine41

5 stars It's absolutely brilliant feeling when you figure it out that some young band like Muse keep some of prog culture in their works. Origin of Symmetry is personally my favourite Muse's album. Full of prog elements, passive-agressive atmpsphere and brilliant falsetto voice by Matthew Bellamy is full shot. Hardly who can nowdays even try to tackle with new prog. Muse absolutely left their mark with their first albums and then going on with experiments in rock culture.

New Born is maybe the greatest track on this album, or maybe the greatesr ever in Muse's history of music.

Citizen Erased applies to be the most progressive track ever untill the 2015. when they make 10 minute prog nightmare called The Globalist.

Micro Cuts shows us the high frequency of Bellamy's falsetto capability. It's dark song, creepy and quite unique for prog music.

Feeling Good is their first covered album track. This Nina Simone's song is one of the most popular songs which are covered, and Muse do that on really good way. Full with hard piano chords, strong bass in the background, and Dominic Howard's impressive drum skills, can't leave you without ''good feeling''.

Lyrics are quite genius too. Bellamy wrote songs for the first time on theme of atheism. Discretly, he sends message of his beliefs, or in this case, unbeliefs. We can see that in songs Megalomania and Hyper Music.

Plug in Baby applies to be one of the greatest riffs of 21st century. In this song, Bellamy warns us to see how technology is rising, and we can see that nowdays.

In the end, i can say that if you like to hear a few steps forward of progressive music, you necessarily must start listening Muse. They always want to do something new, try to experiment with many kinds of music, and i think that's really brave, in this days, when people judge for the first time you try to find your skills in other genres.

Keep going on Muse, you can Revolt! :D

 H.A.A.R.P by MUSE album cover Live, 2008
4.42 | 81 ratings

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H.A.A.R.P
Muse Prog Related

Review by CassandraLeo

5 stars Muse's studio releases have generally struck me as being merely good. They're certainly far better than a lot of other mainstream rock music out there, but they also come across as being a bit by-the-numbers and predictable, and the energy level isn't what the material demands. I'll listen to them occasionally, but they're generally lacking the fire that's necessary to keep a recording in regular rotation for me.

The same can't be said, however, for the band's live performances. From start to finish, on both the CD and the DVD here, the band's performance is absolutely incendiary. Indeed, I'm having a difficult time thinking of many other modern rock acts who have this much energy live. Essentially every other song on here is vastly superior to its studio counterpart, and on many of them the band stretches out and improvises at length, making the CD and DVD far from retreads of the same material.

My only complaint is, as is the case with many modern rock recordings, with the sound quality; it suffers from the same "loudness war" issues that most modern rock recordings do, although fortunately it's not a Death Magnetic or Raw Power-level disaster. Regardless, it does keep the set from being as purely enjoyable as it ought to be.

It's not enough to keep me from recommending this set, though. If you acquire only one Muse recording, you should unquestionably make it this one. Indeed, I'd say this set is so good as to make the studio versions effectively superfluous. Now if only they'd release a set collecting the highlights of their later work...

 Drones by MUSE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.35 | 111 ratings

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Drones
Muse Prog Related

Review by Stiyekton

3 stars Drones is not a bad album, but it is noticeably not as good as Muse's 2000s albums. While the lyrics to "Dead Inside" are actually good, the song is really a less interesting "Madness" that sounds like an 80s style U2 song with a clichéd chord progression. "Psycho" is cheesy, but it is silly in a good way. "Mercy" is a musically interesting song and at the same time a pop hit type song, and the somewhat unusual keyboard part in the verses works pretty well. "Reapers" is a highlight mainly because of the guitar playing and a good solo with different parts, even though the lyrics are starting to get repetitive with the mention of drones. "The Handler," whose beginning is like an angrier version of the beginning of "Come Together" by The Beatles, is another highlight, with good high-pitched singing and a buildup in the guitar solo and bridge. "Defector" is a fun rock song with its vocal harmonies and exciting guitar solo, and it does a great job incorporating the JFK intro into the song and a great part of the speech at the end of the song. "Revolt" is in my opinion one of the worst Muse songs. The verses do have an interesting rhythm, but that's about it for the good stuff in the song. The song has a cheesy late 80s rock feel, and the chorus is poorly written in just about every way in that it does not fit with the rest of the song, it uses the 1-5-6-4 chord progression, and the lyrics are incredibly shallow and repetitive. "Aftermath" is a ballad with a well-written melody, but is not very deep musically or lyrically. "The Globalist" is the main prog track on the album, and it is good but not amazing. The three distinct sections are all great, especially the fun middle section with a buildup and a hard rock guitar riff, but the sections do not feel very connected. The album ends with the title track, which is a boring a capella track that is hard to follow and just continues to repeat words that have become cliches through their use throughout the album, and it is a very disappointing ending.
 Drones by MUSE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.35 | 111 ratings

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Drones
Muse Prog Related

Review by crashandridemusic

3 stars Muse is a band that is recommended to me constantly. I always hear 'Oh, you like the White Stripes? You'll like them.' Or possibly 'If you like Radiohead, you'll definitely love these guys.' I might have heard their more popular songs like 'Uprising' and 'Madness' on the radio, but have never made the connection. With their latest album 'Drones' released recently, I decided to let it be my first taste of them.

Muse consists of Matthew Bellamy on vocals/guitars/keys, Christopher Wolstenholme on bass guitar/vocals/keys, and Dominic Howard on drums. Upon listening to their music for the first time, I can hear the resemblance to Radiohead, being a harder and experimental sound with moments of progressive and space rock. To call this band a progressive rock band, though, is a little bit of a stretch, but I can understand where critics and listeners come up with such an opinion. I would say their sound is more closely related to a pop/alternative rock, consisting of heavily overdriven guitar riffs like the Foo Fighters/Queens of the Stone Age right aside piano ballads that remind me of Coldplay/30 Seconds to Mars. Their newest album 'Drones' basically throws all these names into a blender and presses the on button.

Much of this album follows the same tempo and flavor from start to finish. Each song has a catchy rhythm, mixed with weird sound effects, falsetto vocals a la Jeff Buckley, and fairly simple drum beats. Simply put, the album is straightforward. For being a progressive album, I actually was a little underwhelmed. There aren't too many highs and lows, and aren't too many highlighting moments for any band member. Dare I ask, is this my first negative review? Perhaps it doesn't catch my attention like most of the music I tend to listen to, but that doesn't mean this album is devoid of great material.

There are two songs in particular that stood out to me: 'The Handler' and 'The Globalist.' I believe these two songs are the two best on the album, and for different reasons. 'The Handler' starts with that overdriven guitar sound, but chimes in with deeps bass lines and drum beats that bring the song down a whole other level, one that isn't pursued too much in 'Drones.' Alongside these extremely deep and low tones is Bellamy's high-pitched vocals, drifting between sharp and flat notes that give a very eerie vibe in the song's chorus. Add in the sound effects over his vocals and the song becomes even creepier. A simple but nicely inserted solo using a phaser pedal extends the song into the four minute mark. Every time I play this song, I can't help but play it twice.

The other song, 'The Globalist,' runs over 10 minutes long. For that reason alone, I believed it was worth mentioning. Being the most progressive sounding track on 'Drones,' 'The Globalist' starts off with a country western-style whistling over clean guitar chords, a much slower pace than any other track on the album. This sound shifts towards slide guitar and military style snare drumming, which continues the concept present throughout the album, which I will mention shortly. This section actually reminds me a little of David Gilmour's solo material, which was a great change of pace. Sure enough, the track falls right back into the (by this point) slightly boring alternative rock sound and tempo half way through the song, which is where my attention shifts away. The song closes with a piano arrangement, followed by the a cappella title track.

Now for the other reason why most people suggest Muse to me: the lyrics. If you didn't know, I'm a sucker for conspiracy theories. Not that I necessarily believe in them, but I am fascinated by the research, explanations, and devotion that comes with the territory. Turns out Mr. Bellamy is the same way. As stated in several press interviews, 'Drones' follows a concept of indoctrination and defection as the main protagonist fights against the system. To me, this concept alone sparks my interest in the album. Unfortunately, much of the lyrics are uninspiring to me. I feel Muse really had the chance to make a much larger and profound statement with their lyrics considering the state of the world today, but just flat out missed it. I wanted to be caught up in their vigor with youthful aspirations and invoke the libertarian views in me, but I just didn't feel it in 'Drones.' The lyrics are a little boring, predictable, and even at times laughable. The chorus of 'Psycho' is a prime example:

'I'm going to make you, I'm going to break you, I'm going to make you / A f*cking psycho / Your ass belongs to me now'

Another example is the abusive instructions between a drill sergeant and a private inserted in this song. It's a little over the top and unnecessary. Maybe their next album will make me feel like standing up and fighting for what I believe in.

With all the positives and negatives I've mentioned, I'd still recommend 'Drones' to anyone on this blog. Sure, it isn't the perfect album, but it's still really catchy and interesting, perfect for driving and rocking out.

I give this 3 of 5 stars. At best.

Taken from Crash And Ride Music

 Drones by MUSE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.35 | 111 ratings

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Drones
Muse Prog Related

Review by Rune2000
Special Collaborator Prog Metal Team

3 stars I haven't been actively listening to Muse since 2009 due to complete disinterest in the material on The Resistance and The 2nd Law. Even though I've been a fan of their sound since Origin Of Symmetry, Muse made a turn for the simpler and commercially oriented sound on Black Holes And Revelations and expanded in the same direction with The Resistance and especially The 2nd Law. So why did I suddenly decided to return to Muse? Well, the answer is that I actually enjoyed Drones a lot more than their previous two releases and thus decided to write a few words about it.

First off, let's be clear on the fact that Drones is by no means a return to the band's old sound. What we get here is a mix between the old and the new, some tracks are completely omittable while others are among the best that Muse has ever recorded. If you've heard a couple of the singles from Drones and thought that they were weak, then you're definitely not alone; my reaction was completely the same. Dead Inside and Psycho are riff-driven anthems that completely leave me cold while Reapers is slightly more enjoyable even though the song drags a bit too long.

The first really great song here is Mercy, this track is a mix of Starlight and Bliss featuring a strong melodic chorus that transitions well between the verse-chorus sections. The Handler and Defector and Revolt are strong album tracks that manage to move the album along while adding layers to the concept of drones warfare. My favorite part of the album are the three final tracks that begin with the ballad Aftermath, progresses with the 10 minutes of bliss with The Globalist and finishes off with an a cappella outro on the title track. The Globalist is probably the biggest reason for my return to Muse since this is easily their best multi-part epic that manages to completely overshadow both Exogenesis and The 2nd Law.

I really hope that the band will continue in a more conceptual direction on their next releases while moving away from the dispensable singles that have filled their last couple of albums. Drones is a slight return to form thanks to the marvelous second part of the album that focuses on the beauty of the band's sound and reduces the filler. Recommended to fans of Absolution and Black Holes And Revelations!

***** star songs: The Globalist (10:07)

**** star songs: Mercy (3:52) The Handler (4:34) Defector (4:33) Revolt (4:06) Aftermath (5:48) Drones (2:50)

*** star songs: Dead Inside (4:23) Psycho (5:17) Reapers (6:00)

** star songs: [Drill Sergeant] (0:21) [JFK] (0:55)

 Drones by MUSE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.35 | 111 ratings

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Drones
Muse Prog Related

Review by robbob

4 stars I listened at first to the singles...separated...the 5 first songs.... My first impression was...ou...As the first songs and singles of the 2nd Law ...now their tendency is to make rock for the masses....'what happen to the most progressive vein of Muse demonstrated ...in Absolution,or Black Holes...something in Restoration and in the 2 nd Law. But listening and listening..to the singles and then to the next 6 songs ...I felt pleasure for recognizing all songs are very good ...the singles and the next 6 (well Drones is a joke of Gregorian music. .but well...)..Aftermath and Globalist mostly in the line of Queen .Revolt maybe the worst Is a good album not as good as their best ......but the average is 3,5- 4 stars
 Drones by MUSE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.35 | 111 ratings

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Drones
Muse Prog Related

Review by Insin

4 stars Drones: Muse's seventh album and supposed return to form. Keeping their promise of decreasing (but not eliminating) the symphonic and electronic influences so central to their previous two albums, they have left two main styles struggling for dominance: pop and rock. Piano is still present and important, though secondary to the guitar, symphonic elements appear briefly on a few songs, and after Dead Inside, the electronic parts majorly tone down. And the Queen influence? Still there.

The progressive elements are definitely present as well. While most of the songs don't fit the definition of prog rock, Drones is the band's first concept album. The storyline follows someone who has been broken, and then brainwashed to kill for the military. Eventually, the protagonist fights back and the story ends at Aftermath. (The Globalist a separate storyline and the a cappella/monk chanting title track is the album's outro.)

It is completely unsurprising that Muse has focused their concept album on war and how the government brainwashes us, given themes from previous albums, and the cover art demonstrates it perfectly (notice how we can't see who the largest hand belongs to... remind anyone of Ruled by Secrecy?). Drones is commentary on warfare, psychology, politics, history, and even a touch of religion. The background is fairly complex, but the storyline is simple and easy to follow. The narrative is told well, with Bellamy singing as the protagonist for every track except Psycho, though sometimes it is unclear how or why things happen (for example, how does the protagonist suddenly find love in the Aftermath?). Out of the context of the album, the individual songs usually cannot stand without their lyrics sounding ridiculous, the already-infamous line "your ass belongs to me now" from Psycho being a prime example. Good thing there's no such thing as a casual I-only-listen-to-Muse-on-the-radio fan? right?

While it could be better, Muse does a decent job of making the lyrics fit the music. Defector is the best example of this, as the protagonist begins to become independent of the society and moves towards freedom, and it the song sounds triumphant and proud. However, the subject matter Drones deals with is dark, and in order for the lyrics and music to fully fit, pop songs aren't going to cut it.

The album is split between primarily pop and rock, as a result of the abolishment of electronic and orchestral components. Dead Inside, which sounds like your average, generic pop-alt radio hit, the U2-influenced Mercy, Revolt, and the unbearably cheesy ballad of love Aftermath make up the pop department, and consist of four of the album's ten non-interlude songs. Depending on your preferences, you may or may not want to check them out, but for me, none of these are particularly good.

In the rock department, things are more exciting. Songs like The Handler and Defector display guidance from Royal Blood, the bass sound thick and central. These two songs tend to be operatic and dramatic but fairly heavy, like a cross between Origin of Symmetry and The Resistance. The lead single, Psycho (which I originally hated due to its un-Muse-like excessive cursing) makes much more sense in context of the plotline. It has great energy and a great riff, one that has been around for a long time and now has finally been put to good use.

The album's best offerings lie in Reapers, the fifth song. Let me just say it: riffs. The intro riff and the one played during the Drones chant (main riff), to be specific. It also features what is potentially Bellamy's best soloing and tastefully minimal electronic presence. The noisy outro could have been left out to no loss, but the song is pieced together well and each part has its value. It lies on the unconventional side.

Even more unconventional is The Globalist, Muse's self-described "prog nightmare," only song over ten minutes, and sequel to fan favorite Citizen Erased. By now I've heard plenty of ten minute songs (and I'm sure everyone else who's reading this has as well), but never from Muse. So it's an interesting listen, and the song I was looking forward to hearing the most. The song starts out spacey, western, and reminiscent of tracks Invincible and Knights of Cydonia from the band's fourth album, Black Holes and Revelations. The buildup lasts 4 ½ minutes until a mediocre transition into a good, heavy riff, which plays for about two minutes. The song winds down into a "celebratory" piano ballad of the type that bands will slap onto the end of a prog epic, to give the track a feeling of closure rather than ending it as it peaks in intensity. It's not a bad song, but its major issue is that? it's not long enough. The band spends so much time building up and recovering from the most powerful and exciting portion, the metal riff in the middle, which takes up a disproportionately small part of the song at two minutes/one fifth of The Globalist's runtime. In order to justify the length of the intro and outro, the middle needs to be extended. They could have added another riff, another vocal part, a solo break, or even gotten rid of it. Otherwise, it sounds out of place and completely disrupts the flow of the song. Additionally, The Globalist doesn't have much likeness to Citizen Erased anyway.

Drones is a flawed album. Is it bad? No, although the pop songs are weak and The Globalist is disappointing. There are still good songs on here, Reapers not only one the best song from Drones, but a highlight of their catalogue. If there is one song to hear from this release, it would be this one. But Muse is also becoming more progressive, seeing as Drones is a concept album, and they've even had a go at writing a "ten minute prog nightmare." Hopefully, this, rather than pop, is a path they will continue down.

I would give it three stars musically? but it's a concept album, a first for Muse, and more entertaining and interesting that way. A for effort. Until next album.

 Showbiz by MUSE album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.13 | 257 ratings

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Showbiz
Muse Prog Related

Review by Insin

3 stars Before Muse released Showbiz in 1999, they had already been playing together for five years, writing about fifty songs. Twelve of these would make it onto Showbiz, a debut that makes it feel like the band wasn't going for popularity, respect, or fame ? they just wanted to get their music out there.

Showbiz has a sound rooted predominantly in alternative rock, with touches of influences like blues and Latin that would not survive to see their later releases, and it lacks the symphonic and progressive elements for which Muse is better known. Some heaviness is present, although in a noisy, punk-ish fashion rather than a strictly metal sound. Whatever experimentation is present on the album seems to come about organically, and it is smoothly incorporated into Showbiz's alt rock foundation, as opposed to the band writing a song purely in a different style (as was done on The Second Law). Escape, for example, starts off mellow and bluesy, then explodes into angry hard rock; Falling Down does the same but retains the bluesy, contemplative feel for most of its duration. Muse showcases some more diversity as well with the inclusion of the acoustic ballad Unintended and piano-based Sunburn, something of a precursor to their later love of experimentation.

Since "traditional" Muse lyrics (conspiracy theories, science, politics, and whatnot) have not yet come about at this point, much of the focuses of Showbiz angsty and naïve instead. They spend most of their time complaining about small town life, relationships, and overall sounding immature. The song Muscle Museum even includes the quite memorable line "I have played in every toilet." No, I don't know the story behind that.

As an alternative rock album, the songwriting, as you'd expect, isn't particularly innovative or interesting. The riffs are not great, the soloing lacking, the songs only "kind of" catchy. The best thing about the instrumentation is Bellamy's vocal performance. His voice itself does not stand out as above average, but what he can do with it is incredible. Take the end of the title track ? he lets out some absolutely glass-shattering high-pitched screams.

The album's most defining characteristic is its rawness, its unfiltered purity of emotion. Unintended is one side of the spectrum, an innocent, honest love song, while the rage of the title track and Escape are impossible to ignore. Falling Down, which is about wanting to leave town, just sounds so authentic. Muse did not go out of their way to make an experimental album in seven different genres. They wrote the music that came about from their circumstances and made something that captures a genuine feeling of angst. And the actual music isn't bad either.

Thanks to Certif1ed for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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