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Album Review: Drones by Muse

Muse released their seventh studio album Drones at the beginning of June and sees a formidable return to form. If we’re being brutally honest, we had initially shied away from listening to Drones, expectations were at a rock bottom after 2009’s The Resistance and The 2nd Law (2012). Thankfully Drones sees a return to basics, the electronic and orchestral experimentation is gone and you’re left with a sound more akin to Black Holes and Revelations (2006).

Muse will never have the raw intensity of their first two albums again. That was the sound of a young band, this iteration of Muse takes that intensity, refines it and produces a storming rock album. The magic in Drones comes in the music, the talent and musicianship in Muse can’t be doubted and Bellamy’s riffs really come to the fore in songs like ‘Defector’ and ‘Reapers’. In Christopher Wolstenholme, Muse have one of the UK’s best bassists and his sumptuous bass grooves shine throughout.

Drones is a concept album, following the protagonist’s journey from abandonment to indoctrination as a “human drone” and eventual defection. In Bellamy’s own words “To me, drones are metaphorical psychopaths which enable psychopathic behaviour with no recourse. The world is run by drones utilising drones to turn us all into drones. This album explores the journey of a human, from their abandonment and loss of hope, to their indoctrination by the system to be a human drone, to their eventual defection from their oppressors.” As such the lyrical content and story of the album remind you of Queen, yet at times the lyrical content and overdubs are cringe worthy. This is startling obvious on ‘Physco’, yet the quality of the music behind it more than makes up for it. The throbbing base line creates a regimented backdrop while the guitar riffs add an air of authority making for a post-apocalyptic landscape.

That essentially the beauty of Drones as a concept album, the music is so emotive and powerful that it tells its own story. ‘Mercy’ and ‘The Handler’ are fantastic songs. If you buy into the theme of the album and use your imagination the music is the ideal medium for this post-modern tale. 90% of the album is of the highest standard, yet there’s moments in which the band could tone done the guitar solos and perhaps not be as grand. Take ‘The Globalist’, at the heart of things it’s a great song, but you feel that it could be refined and toned down a little, the huge riff at the five minute mark is phenomenal though. Lyrically it’s a real cringefest.

Without a doubt this is the best Muse album in the last 9 years. It doesn’t quite have the magic of Origin Of Symmetry but that was never going to happen again. An essential listen for any discernible rock fan.

AD Rating 7.5/10

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