Editor's Rating

Have a listen to: "Mercy"

Rating out of 10

Muse – Drones

Release Date: 5th June 2015
Warner Bros Records

My inner Muse fan from 2007 has wanted me to hate this album considering both 2009’s ‘Resistance‘ and 2012’s ‘The 2nd Law‘ were way too experimental for mine, and a lot of older Muse fans’ tastes.  ‘Drones‘ surprisingly takes a step back into the direction Muse were heading in back in 2003 when they released ‘Absolution‘, providing listeners with a rather uniquely alternative hard rock sound that only Muse can pull off.

First single and opener track to the album ‘Dead Inside’ sets a tone that doesn’t seem to reflect the rest of ‘Drones‘, but is a closer nod to their previous two releases. Electro-pop rock that sounds closer to a mix between Queen and Prince, along with the very simple beats and added keyboards, give the song a very 80’s atmosphere.

Directly after that, a skit of a drill sergeant and soldiers obeying orders sends a message that dominates the main topic of ‘Drones‘. If you think about drones, you think of thoughtless workers that just do what they are instructed to do. The title of the album reflects the concept of dehumanization of modern warfare and the loss of empathy through modern technology.

The drill sergeant skit leads on into ‘Psycho’ which opens up with a riff very similar to the one in their 2006 single ‘Supermassive Black Hole’ and contains a very similar tone of anthemic alt-rock. This is the sound that many fans have been crying out for since their first experimental album was received with very mixed responses.  More recent single ‘Mercy’ takes a very similar approach, even if somewhat softer with the keyboards and a more anthemic atmosphere;  an instant classic that you can tell will become a fan favourite when played live.

Both ‘Reapers ‘and ‘The Handler’ push to the heavier side of Muse, with deeper riffs and angrier tones. ‘Reapers’ kicks off with very twiddly guitars but leads into crunchy distorted chords that, for the first time on the album could lead you to actually banging your head.   ‘The Handler’ goes for a more progressive feel – slow and steady at first but later on builds to faster riffs and eventually a sense you can rock out like you could to the Muse of old.

Drones‘ is an attempt at back to basics Muse, while writing songs that will cater for gigantic crowds. Muse have always seemed to push some kind of boundaries within rock since the beginning, with the constant effects, piano and keyboard pieces which add depth to their songs to create a sound bigger and more epic than anything in the rock scene. You just have to look at how epic ‘New Born’ was on one of their earlier releases. ‘Drones‘ is just taking those elements of old and expanding them to fit all the tastes of the fans they have acquired from the beginning, and their more experimental phases.

While the inner Muse fan inside me wishes for more monster tracks like ‘Hysteria’ and ‘Citizen Erased’ which contain some of the meatiest riffs in rock, it has been a nice surprise that Matt Bellamy and co are heading back in a direction that will appease some of the older fans.  The album is still too “Radio 1” for my liking but at least this time around it is much more listenable than the pretentious garbage the 3-piece have provided fans over the last 6 years.


For Fans of : Queen, The Smashing Pumpkins