More about: Muse
In an epic setting at the top of one of London's tallest building, Gigwise was given a very special listen to Muse's new album 'The Resistance' on Tuesday (September 1).
Check out our first impressions of the band's follow-up to 2006's 'Black Holes And Revelations' in our track by track guide below.
If ever a statement of intent was needed for 'The Resistance', then it arrives almost immediately in the chorus for opener 'Uprising'. “They will not force us, they will stop degrading us,” sings frontman Matt Bellamy over an emphatic, crunching combination of bass and drums, before adding ominously: “They will not control us, we will be victorious.” It's an intimidating start the album: one that sees the mighty of Muse come up against a haunting, Dr Who-echoing synth and a guitar riff that sounds a little like Blondie's 'Call Me'.
After a ghostly instrumental opening, the album's title track provides the first real sign that Muse have been listening to a lot of Queen. Here, it sounds as though the late Freddie Mercury is duetting with Bellamy as Muse's frontman repeatedly chants the songs chorus of, “It could be wrong. It could be wrong.” It's an ambitious slice of stadium rock that gallops towards a dramatic climax, before finally breaking down again at the song's conclusion.
A sinister sounding love song where, aside from the retro 80s musicianship, all of the emphasis is placed firmly on Bellamy's lyrics. He sounds, at times, like he's trying to court a demon. “You maybe a sinner, but your innocence is mine,” sings the frontman at the beginning, before adding later: “I want to reconcile the violence in your heart.”
'United States of Eurasia (+ Collateral Damage)'
I'll brush over the fact that this really does sound like Queen - it's an unashamed attempt to cater to a stadium audience - and instead focus on the atmospherics created by the song's haunting, Arabian sounding breakdown. Special mention also needs to go to the (+ Collateral Damage) suffix at the end, which provides an emotional juxtaposition to 'USOE's' scaremongering lyrics. Bellamy proves himself to be an accomplished pianist throughout 'The Resistance', but none more so than on this track.
There's no chance for a breather as 'Guiding Light' ramps up the pace of the album with its hard-hitting drum beat and bass line. Bellamy's melodic guitar playing in the song's breakdown contains elements of The Edge, before he – and the track – erupts into another monumental Rock riff (think Queen, again). Lyrically, the frontman is still evoking images of love and salvation as he says there is “no guiding light left inside”.
After beginning with an ethereal sounding church organ, 'Unnatural Selection' transforms into a driving, full-throttle mammoth (think 'Supermassive Black Hole', only 100bpm faster) which, at times, seems to leave even Bellamy gasping for air. Thankfully for the singer, however, the song breaks down as he sings about trying “to ride out the storm” over a distorted guitar solo. The pace then picks up again as the Bellamy and bassist Chris Wolstenholme unleash a Rage Against The Machine sounding finale.
A symphony according to Muse, 'MK Ultra' provides a proper introduction to the album's classical influences, which Bellamy and his bandmates spoke so passionately about during production. The track's frenetic pace is broken up with an ethereal string section, which Muse manage to make it their own by adding traces of their trademark psychedelia and sing-a-long hooks. I expect this will more than make its mark when the band take 'The Resistance' on the road this autumn.
'I Belong To You'
Along with 'Undisclosed Desires', 'I Belong To You's' piano-driven intro is notably 80s influenced. But, just as Keane showed last year with 'Spiralling', that isn't always necessarily a good thing. The lyrics - “I've travelled the whole world to say I belong to you” - are also a bit too Tom Chaplin in places. As with previous tracks on the album, the song features another instrumental breakdown, which sees Bellamy showcase some of his best French. Piano and drums return – along with what sounds like an oboe – at the song's conclusion.
'Exogenesis: Symphony Part 1'
The first song of the album's concluding three-part symphony evokes Gustav Holst's orchestral suite, The Planets, which is suitable for a band who appear to have broken through the outer-echelons of space at times on 'The Resistance'. Bellamy sings in elongated breaths of air as a long and powerful guitar solo emerges from the distance. It's chilling and, above all, proves we're still listening to Muse, not Mozart.
'Exogenesis: Symphony Part 2'
Part two features a more piano led opening with a solo from Bellamy. The subtleness is soon broken, however, as the song develops into an elaborate, drum-powered second third. It's yet further evidence that Muse seem determined to challenge each other on every musical level throughout 'The Resistance'. The question is: just what will their fans think?
'Exogenesis: Symphony Part 3'
'Exogensis' concludes in a suitably Muse-like way. Following another orchestral opening, the song builds into an emotive and epic chorus where Bellamy and Wolstenholme share vocal duties. The band then take their foot off the pedal as the song – and the album – comes to an end.
'The Resistance' is released on September 14. Muse will tour the UK in November.
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More about: Muse