Muse
Drones


3.2
good

Review

by Insurrection USER (114 Reviews)
June 5th, 2015 | 86 replies


Release Date: 2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: While Drones is a step in the right direction for Muse, it still doesn’t quite live up to the band’s irrefutable potential.

Drones had everything going against it. It was following Muse’s most controversial and critically panned release The 2nd Law, singles ‘Psycho’ and ‘Dead Inside’ nullified any and all credibility to ringleader Matthew Bellamy’s promise for a “return-to-roots” album, and let’s not forget that appalling excuse for cover art. All evidence pointed to Drones being another collection of poppy, uninspired drivel drifting further and further away from the classically tinged, progressive laden alt rock template they so beautifully crafted on Origin of Symmetry and Absolution. However, while Drones certainly is not a return-to-roots, it does overshadow their last two albums and inspires a modicum of hope for the band’s musical maturation sometime in the future.

Much like The 2nd Law, Drones is woefully inconsistent. It’s very top-heavy – after ‘Defector’, the album loses steam and subsequently tapers off into cheesy rock ballad territory with a half-hearted attempt at an epic (which I’ll get into later). The latter half of Drones is also home to one of the worst songs of the band’s career: ‘Revolt’, which sounds like an insipid bastard child of Mika and U2. ‘Psycho’ is the band’s attempt at a heavy guitar-driven song by taking a riff they wrote ages ago and playing it over and over again, plodding along at a slow tempo for five-and-a-half minutes. While the riff worked wonders as a fun jam session in their live shows, stretching it out into a full-length track is simply forced and lazy songwriting.

Many tracks draw comparisons to songs Muse have written in the past. ‘Dead Inside’ is reminiscent of ‘Undisclosed Desires’ and serves as the album’s token electronic track, ‘Mercy’ is a masquerading moniker for ‘Starlight 2.0’, and ‘Psycho’ is essentially the cousin of ‘Uprising’ with distorted guitars and loud feedback in place of sweeping synths and arpeggios. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though. Muse finally make use of their penchant for electro-pop on ‘Dead Inside’ by coalescing Matt’s signature croons over a Duran Duran esque beat with an electric bridge section to boot. The verses of ‘Reapers’ sound like the Muse of old, and album centerpiece ‘The Handler’ allows room for each band member to shine as if it was recorded fresh off their Absolution sessions, making for the best and most honest Muse song of the past decade.

Lyrically, Drones is as subtle and putrid as its cover. I don’t even want to get into it, but lines like “your ass belongs to me now” and the fact that “drones” is said a hundred thousand times over the course of the album should paint a pretty clear picture of Matt’s lyrical integrity these days. Musically, the tail end of Drones is where the album falters most. Pushing the ten-minute mark, you’d think ‘The Globalist’ was the band’s attempt at another ‘Exogenesis’ or the proper sequel to ‘Citizen Erased’ as the band alluded to. However most of the song’s progressions, as pleasantly subdued as they are, don’t do much to separate themselves from previous ballads off The Resistance, and just when you think the song is going to kick it into high gear around the six-minute mark, it implodes with a terribly awkward transition into the most disappointing anti-climax on the album. While the passage is beautiful in its own right, it feels completely out of place after the massive build-up and sonic explosion the song promised moments earlier. The closing eponymous track is an acapella pseudo gospel outro that is admittedly comforting on a surface-level but because it follows such an unassuming stretch of tracks it comes across as hollow and perfunctory.

Drones isn’t going to change the way you feel about Muse one way or another. If you hate their other works, you will most definitely hate this. If you stuck with the band this long, Drones may be a pleasant surprise. What’s most upsetting about Drones is that we have concrete proof Muse are still capable of writing catchy, energetic alt rock, but instead they chose the easy route by rehashing old melodies and tepid pop choruses for a good chunk of the album’s runtime. It’s not so much a complaint of Drones not being good enough because it is a largely enjoyable listen and certainly a step in the right direction for the band. Rather, it’s a matter of Muse once again failing to reach their irrefutable potential to make another consistently great album.

Recommended Tracks:
Dead Inside
Reapers
The Handler




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user ratings (987)
2.8
good
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Insurrection
June 5th 2015


24764 Comments

Album Rating: 3.2

it's out in Europe so yeah



"The Handler" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BF1DQr5dKW8

"Reapers" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gcNEC9NaJuE

"Dead Inside" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5sJhSNUkwQ

Friday13th
June 5th 2015


7139 Comments


The Handler was okay, but if that's the best on here then I'm not interested. Good balanced review.

Supercoolguy64
June 5th 2015


9503 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

good rev, album looks really "meh" based on some of the singles released, but i'll check anyways since i have very fond memories of muse the past few years

Digging: Static-X - Project Regeneration Vol. 1

Snake.
June 5th 2015


22267 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

inb4 bad thread

TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
June 5th 2015


18911 Comments


Haven't seen a "recommended tracks" section in a contrib/staff review in a long time.

Digging: Taylor Swift - Folklore

Lord(e)Po)))ts
June 5th 2015


57539 Comments


glad to see you are really fleshing out your musical intake insurrection

Digging: HellHammer - Apocalyptic Raids

Lord(e)Po)))ts
June 5th 2015


57539 Comments


live up to the band’s irrefutable potential.


lmfao rofl smp

VanPelt
June 5th 2015


27 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Agreed on most points. Definitely a step in the right direction, pretty solid (if a bit drawn-out) up to Defector, then it goes cheesily poppy on Revolt and The Globalist is just a disjointed mess.



Expected it to be much-much worse, but the early singles have grown on me, even though I'm still surprised how they just took that live outro rif and stretched it to 5 minutes.

VanPelt
June 5th 2015


27 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Pscyho and Reapers are surely the most drawn-out (or should I say DRONE-OUT), they could easily lose about 2 minutes each.

StrizzMatik
June 5th 2015


3926 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

I was going to review this but there's kind of no point lol, you said everything that had to be said. Great job!

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
June 5th 2015


16488 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This pretty much sums up my thoughts. Great rev.

Digging: Dawn Of Ashes - The Antinomian

Gard3n
June 5th 2015


439 Comments


It has begun...

trackbytrackreviews
June 5th 2015


3429 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

➢ ➢ ➢

GooGooGajoob
June 5th 2015


218 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

You've got to be kidding me. This is terrible!



I think The 2nd Law has more going for it than this record, at least that has more variety! I think it's worth mentioning the drums on this, as for every Muse album in the lead up to this, has become less and less authentic and creative. Dom may as well be replaced with a drum machine at this point.

JJKeys
June 5th 2015


1123 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah but... Handler

SonofSnow
June 5th 2015


1782 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Actually much better than I thought this would be based on the start.



Cut out Dead Inside, Psycho and Drones, and this record is is pretty solid.





BandNewbac
June 5th 2015


2462 Comments


this is the only accurate review so far tbh.

RadicalEd
June 5th 2015


9546 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

tbh the singles ARE the worst. But I still don't think this record is worthy of anyones time. "Mercy" is the worst thing I have heard this year.

Pangea
June 5th 2015


4416 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Haven't heard this yet but im very excited. I really like reapers and dead inside. I see dead inside as a better version of madness



Good review

Digging: Ben Howard - I Forget Where We Were

ksoflas
June 5th 2015


1311 Comments


The last three offerings of the band shouldn't be under Muse name.
Pure discrace.



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