In 1999, school friends Matthew Bellamy (lead vocals, lead guitar, piano, keyboards), Christopher Wolstenholme (bass, vocals, keyboards, rhythm guitar, harmonica) and Dominic Howard (drums, percussion, synthesizers, sampling) began a long and tedious journey to success, starting with the release of “Showbiz.” In 2006, with the release of their fourth album, “Black Holes and Revelations,” and with the joining of keyboardist and percussionist Morgan Nicholls, Muse speed up their climb up and issued a three-year-releasing plan of launching new material. So, three years after their last release - “The Resistance” and one year after Bellamy announced the band’s sixth album would be a “Christian gangsta-rap jazz odyssey, with some ambient rebellious dubstep and face-melting metal flamenco cowboy psychedelia”, The 2nd Law hits the music stores worldwide.
The new album stirred controversies on the internet, as Muse change their musical style a bit, dabbling in dubstep. Due to this new album, the band that was regularly compared to Queen, Rush and Radiohead, will probably be compared to Meat Loaf, Skrillex or Bruce Springsteen as well. That’s because The 2nd Law will certainly conquer the fans with music that was meant to be funny without being a joke. It’s an album filled with obvious influences, an album that bears Bellamy’s undying need to experiment and, just like Billboard magazine wrote, it’s “a display of self-assurance”, “blatantly frontloaded” as if Muse has made a commitment to play ” live for the rest of their careers-huge, gaudy pieces of orchestration.”
The 2nd Law starts with a monstrous seven-string guitar riff and with Bellamy narrating a musical in “Supremacy.” Some critics say this track resembles perfectly with Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” and Wings’ “Live and Let Die”, but without explaining the comparison. The second track of the album, “Madness,” is “a massively infectious single without sounding coy about it”, a song that “follows suit-it’s sincere without being overly earnest” as Billboard wrote. Throbbing synths, an electronic bassline and Bellamy’s vocal, which doesn’t burst into an ear-splitting falsetto this time, makes this song a pretty good one.
Moreover, the album has its good songs and its bads. “Panic Station” is amongst the good ones, with every Muse hallmark included, successful riffs and audacious horns.”Survival”, the 2012 Olympics theme song is also relevant, with its ostentatious intro, triumphant lyrics and a solo ripped from an Alfred Hitchcock soundtrack. “Follow Me” is very emotional and touching, as it starts with Matt Bellamy’s baby’s heartbeat, recorded days before his wife Kate Hudson even gave birth. In fact, the entire song is about Bellamy’s baby boy, as she sings: “I will keep you safe, I will protect you, I won’t let them harm you.” But, beside the sentimental aura, the song introduces the album’s dubstep dalliance. “Explorers” is also a good track, a dreamy and more like a lullaby promised Bellamy’s new son. Listening to it and you will get six minutes of nice tenderness.
“The 2nd Law: Unsustainable” remembers their last album, but it is also filled with dubstep. It feels like Skrillex took over the stage. “The 2nd Law: Isolated System” gives closure to the album in a unique style and mars whatever mixed feelings of disappointment you may have had with some of the tracks, such as with “Liquid State” or “Big Freeze”.
Muse - The 2nd Law Album Cover
Muse - The 2nd Law Track Listing
1. “Supremacy” - 4:55
2. “Madness” - 4:39
3. “Panic Station” - 3:03
4. “Prelude” - 0:57
5. “Survival” - 4:17
6. “Follow Me” - 3:51
7. “Animals” - 4:23
8. “Explorers” - 5:48
9. “Big Freeze” - 4:41
10. “Save Me” - 5:09
11. “Liquid State” - 3:03
12. “The 2nd Law: Unsustainable” - 3:47
13. “The 2nd Law: Isolated System” - 4:59
14. “The Making of The 2nd Law” (video)
15. “Bonus Feature” (video)
Released 28 September 2012
Recorded October 2011 - August 2012 at Eastwest Studios, Los Angeles; Shangri La Studios, Malibu;
Capitol Studios, California; Air Studios, London
Genre Alternative rock, new prog, electronic rock, symphonic rock
Label Helium 3, Warner
Producer Muse, Nero (On “Follow Me”)