Album of the Week: Muse, 'Simulation Theory'

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Muse, 'Simulation Theory'
Muse, 'Simulation Theory' (Courtesy of artist)
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Muse is one of the last album rock bands who have retained their credibility in the era of streaming. The release of their eighth studio masterpiece brings them another #1 album in the UK, driving the band to a new level of success not realized by the majority of their peers making highly orchestrated rock anthems. On their new album, Simulation Theory, the trio led by Matthew Bellamy pushes their sound closer to the electro-pop-rock sound that gave them their 2012 hit, "Madness."

Muse is a band of a bygone era. They go into the best studios on the planet and create highly saturated and sophisticated records using the studio itself as an instrument. They have always walked in the shadows of the great prog and corporate rock bands of the 70s, but their originality lies in the concepts behind each release. For Simulation Theory, the theme is an artificial reality, so it's appropriate that the arrangements and production on the album sound like something that can only be created in a musical laboratory.

There are the singles that stand out like the stadium ready "Thought Contagion" and "Dig Down." Yet, Simulation Theory has moments that will make your ears do a double take. Muse challenges what you might expect from them on songs like the jarring samples that kick off "Propaganda" and the dissonant combination of minor chords and spoken word delivery on "Break It To Me."

The best version of what Muse is attempting on Simulation Theory comes during the second half of the album with the synth driven "Blockades" which sounds truly like the soundtrack to the next sci-fi blockbuster about a not so distant dystopian future. The song has all the ingredients the power trio has employed since their days as a hard rock band and it's what helps make sense of the band's ambitious vision for their latest work.

Muse's Simulation Theory is out now on Warner Brothers Records.

Resources


Muse - Official Site

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