Latest album from Muse experiments, disappoints
Published: Thursday, October 11, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 11, 2012 00:10
Beloved English experimental hard-rock trio Muse released their sixth album, "The 2nd Law," Oct. 1.
Frontman Matthew Bellamy promised "something radically different," and this is definitely what they achieved.
Muse has amassed a dedicated following that dates back to their debut album, "Showbiz."
The trio contains three music legends. Singer and guitarist, Bellamy, has gained the respect of musicians with his intricate licks, screeching improvisation and impressive piano technique.
Some have named bassist Chris Wolstenholme a champion of his craft for futuristic sounds and ability to play the synth.
Dominic Howard is a drummer with an excellent ear and feel for the beat, always playing exactly what is needed – never too much or too little.
Like other bands that hit it big, after the massive success of "Black Holes and Revelations" in 2006, Muse has undergone some changes. Their next album, "The Resistance," was released in 2009. The record was a huge success, and, although it may not have lived up to the prior release, it was chock-full of new, mature ambitions and classical influences.
The aftermath of a highly praised album is sometimes devastating and irreversible. "The 2nd Law" is an example of this.
Adding a "dubstep track" to an album is something that Justin Beiber might do, but not the legendary Muse. The record is not exactly a flop, it has some interesting experimentation, but Muse should be past this stage.
As a whole, it is a mess of colorful ideas from talented minds, but all the colors mix to brown.
The album opens with "Supremacy," a promising beginning with familiar Bellamy-style guitar and a dynamic military feel, mixed with epic hard rock.
One of their singles, "Madness," abruptly follows, completely pushing the album’s course toward awkward electronic pop.
"Panic Station" interrupts this flow, introducing what resembles a mix of Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Mooney Suzuki covering "Supermassive Blackhole."
Just when you’ve thrown away all prior impression of Muse, "Prelude" reminds you of their past success, but you quickly realize you thought too soon when what sounds like "Grace Kelly" begins.
You’re still not entirely convinced the old Muse is gone, but the other single, "Follow Me," rips you open and dubsteps all over your heart. This is not a Muse take on dubstep; this sounds like a Nero remix from commercialdubstep.com.
Muse then attempts to bring you back with "Animals," a return to their relaxed, ominous, signature sound.
"Explorers" maintains this nostalgic and gloomy feel, while "Big Freeze" contrasts with an overly cheerful, U2-like track.
The next two songs – Wolsteholme’s first compositions – are arguably the most successful experiments on the album.
The first, "Save Me," is a spacious ballad that explains, despite the hardships you may put your family through, they are always there for you.
The second, "Liquid State," was written after he gave up alcohol and describes the state of inebriation in which your drunk and sober selves battle it out within your mind.
The record ends with a two-part song, "The 2nd Law: Unsustainable" and "The 2nd Law: Isolated System." The first is an impressive display of Bellamy’s ability to mimic the erratic sounds of a dubstep track, but I’m not sure that is something to brag about.
For some reason, the second part has little correlation to its predecessor, but is very effective. It is minimal at first, but Bellamy’s fantastically ambient piano leads you through tranquil orchestration, as the bass resounds as if playing in the club next door.
This is a great way to end the album, and hopefully this track signifies the change Muse was searching to capture.
Put simply, this album is not on par with Muse’s past creations.
The group clearly has enough money to ignore the requests of the pop scene and make profound music for themselves and diehard fans, and I am optimistic Muse will make a comeback and destroy the curse of a band killed by American success.