There’s been a clear division between fans ever since Brit rockers Muse released their fifth studio album The Resistance in 2009. Their shift towards synth-oriented melodies, and grand orchestral movements left fans of previously-experimental prog rock style wonder what had happened.
Of course, it wasn’t all that sudden, but with their sixth album The 2nd Law, which refers to thermodynamics, Muse have latched on to the new wave, whether the passengers like it or not. The 2nd Law is one big epic party. And they want you to come regardless of whether you are — or used to be — a fan of their music.
‘Madness’ has not a single hint of the band’s original influences. Yet, they dare to push the envelope and release it as their lead single. There are Matt Bellamy’s signature soul and R&B vocals, if that’s any consolation.
‘Panic Station’ is from another era, one in which the band never existed. While it’s an interesting experiment, you would rather listen to Queen, because they did it best. ‘Survival’ leans on the heavier side, but packs in the right amount of arena rock elements, while ‘Follow Me’ makes you wonder if you’re listening to a remix. Fans of prog rock Muse will be shaking their heads at this move towards dubstep.
‘Animals’ comes a bit too close to a familiar Radiohead song, with its clean guitars and swift drumming. Thankfully, the band moves away from letting the song become an energetic psychedelic mess by the end.
The only reason for applause on an aesthetic level is the remarkable versatility in song writing and diversity in sound. They stayed true to their word when they (jokingly) said that the group would be a “Christian gangsta rap jazz odyssey, with some ambient rebellious dubstep and face-melting metal flamenco cowboy psychedelia”.
But that’s also the main issue. It splatters an overdose of genres on listeners. And since the songs aren’t very long (‘Explorers’ clocks in at 5:46 minutes), it packs in too much too quickly.
Bottomline: Packs in too much, too quickly.
The 2nd Law; Muse, EMI, Rs. 395
Keywords: The Resistance in 2009