Album of the Week: Muse 'Drones'
Mon, 08 Jun 2015 17:02:12
English alternative rock provocateurs add a kick of old school guitars to triumphant cinematic piece.
Muse take Album of the Week with Drones [Warner Bros. Records/Helium-3]. The UK trio's seventh full-length album sees the musicians—Matthew Bellamy [guitar, vocals, piano], Christopher Wolstenholme [bass], and Dominic Howard [drums]—artfully augment the cinematic expanse of The Resistance and The 2nd Law with the right amount of muscular distortion and six-string gusto. The result remains the ultimate Muse record to date an embrace of Absolution's explosive rock 'n' roll punch and the swooning orchestration of more recent fare.
Drones follows a sci-fi narrative that'd make Stanley Kubrick proud, however, the band manages to throw in quite a few surprises. Beyond the dialogue samples, it's the instrumentation that swings so sweetly and sharply. "Psycho" hops along on one of the triumvirate's most theatrical and technical riffs to date, punctuated by just the right amount of jamming and a pronounced looseness that's wonderfully rock 'n' roll.
By the same token, the opener "Dead Inside" boasts a downright mind-blowing falsetto from Bellamy, while the six-minute "Reapers" gets delightfully frenetic on the mid-section as the guitars snap to attention and hit hard at all the right moments as if primed for maximum impact. The off-time syncopation entwining with electronic samples and psychedelic shredding usher rock's evolution forward.
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However, the pièce de résistance is the ten minute-plus "The Globalist." Beginning with an ominous whistle, the track builds at a tempered pace, moving along on soft crooning. Eventually, its own chemical makeup starts to bristle and burn and we get a thick guitar that cycles in and out rapidly in tandem with a stadium-size beat. Soon, after a countdown, everything explodes onto one final crescendo that's as raw as it is remarkable. Then, a somber piano leads the way out as if back through the gates of heaven for one final poignant passage. It's rock and roll magic.