Every time Muse makes an album, I feel like they’ve reinvented a new soundtrack for the apocalypse. The last time the world ended on the Muse timeline was 2006 with “Black Holes and Revelations,” a flurry of heavy, progressive rock. “The Resistance” brings us a Muse with a heightened awareness of their classical influences on their sound and they’ve incorporated this to a great degree of success. The end of days this time around will occur to a seamless weaving of rock and classical music that transcends the title of mere “rock album” and heads into masterpiece territory.
Title The Resistance
Release date: September 15, 2009
Record Label: Warner Brothers
The British rock trio finally embraces their potential to create truly symphonic music after showing hints of it on previous albums. Lead singer Matt Bellamy’s falsetto vocals lend a raw emotional energy to his lyrics and his flair for the operatic is exemplified on “I Belong to You (Mon Coeur S’Ouvre A Ta Voix).” Towards the end of this track, Bellamy croons a part of the French opera “Samson and Delilah” only adding to the beauty of this song.
“United States of Eurasia (+ Collateral Damage)” is another song that borrows from a classic. A bit of Chopin’s “Nocturne in E Minor” performed on the piano by Bellamy bringing an epic song to an end. The rest of the song is very reminiscent of Queen in their heyday. Bellamy invokes Freddy Mercury here with a soft piano entrance that builds into a resounding chorus of voices and guitars that burst you into the rest of the song.
The first single off the album, “Uprising” will sound very familiar to British listeners and science fiction fans. Muse has taken the theme song from “Dr Who” and turned it into a rock anthem.
Those worried that this album is just Muse fooling around with an orchestra, tracks like “Unnatural Selection” and “Undisclosed Desires” will put you at ease. The latter is more to the style of the old Muse — slight strings, punchy percussion, melancholic lyrics and lilting vocals. Muse put a new twist on the old formula by adding some funky slap bass to the chorus which fits surprisingly well.
“Unnatural Selection” begins with a haunting organ opening that forays into some aggressive guitar work. It almost hypnotizes the listener when Bellamy’s voice and the guitar glide over the same notes together, two instruments working as one. The song comes to a halt in the middle with a heart-wrenching guitar solo to remind everyone of Bellamy’s guitar prowess.
Surprisingly, one of the best parts of the album is the final three songs that comprise the symphonic portion. When I first heard Muse was recording a heavily classical album, it made me nervous. I was afraid they would get overly ambitious and turn out some pretentious crap, but Muse has successfully dispelled that notion. “Exogenesis” is a symphony in three parts played out with a full orchestra and Bellamy’s operatic voice. This is definitely their most ambitious album yet and will leave fans eagerly wondering what creative direction Muse could possibly go in now.