English rock band Muse have released their a new track titled “Won’t Stand Down”, from their long anticipated ninth studio album titled “Will of the People.”
Muse self-produced the album, making it their third self-produced album and first since The 2nd Law (2012). Will of the People was preceded by the singles “Won’t Stand Down”, “Compliance” “Will of the People” and “Kill or Be Killed”.
Formed in 1994, the band consists of Matt Bellamy (lead vocals, guitar, keyboards), Chris Wolstenholme (bass guitar, backing vocals), and Dominic Howard (drums).
Muse released their debut album, Showbiz, in 1999, showcasing Bellamy’s falsetto and a melancholic alternative rock style. Their second album, Origin of Symmetry (2001), incorporated wider instrumentation and romantic classical influences and earned them a reputation for energetic live performances.
Absolution (2003) saw further classical influence, with strings on tracks such as “Butterflies and Hurricanes”, and was the first of six consecutive UK number-one albums.
Black Holes and Revelations (2006) incorporated electronic and pop elements, displayed in singles such as “Supermassive Black Hole”, and brought Muse wider international success. The Resistance (2009) and The 2nd Law (2012) explored themes of government oppression and civil uprising and cemented Muse as one of the world’s major stadium acts.
Rolling Stone stated the band possessed “stadium-crushing songs”. Topping the US Billboard 200, their seventh album, Drones (2015), was a concept album about drone warfare and returned to a harder rock sound. Muse’s eighth album, Simulation Theory (2018), prominently featured synthesisers and was influenced by science fiction and the simulation hypothesis.
Muse have won numerous awards, including two Grammy Awards, two Brit Awards, five MTV Europe Music Awards and eight NME Awards. In 2012 they received the Ivor Novello Award for International Achievement from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors. As of June 2016, they have sold over 30 million albums worldwide.
Described as an alternative rock, progressive rock, space rock, hard rock, art rock, electronic rock, progressive metal, and pop. Muse mix sounds from genres such as electronic, R&B, progressive metal, and art rock, and forms such as classical music, rock opera and many others.
In 2002, Bellamy described Muse as a “trashy three-piece”. In 2005, Pitchfork described Muse’s music as “firmly ol’ skool at heart: proggy hard rock that forgoes any pretensions to restraint … their songs use full-stacked guitars and thunderous drums to evoke God’s footsteps”.
AllMusic described their sound as a “fusion of progressive rock, glam, electronica, and Radiohead-influenced experimentation”. On the band’s association with progressive rock, Howard said: “I associate [progressive rock] with 10-minute guitar solos, but I guess we kind of come into the category. A lot of bands are quite ambitious with their music, mixing lots of different styles – and when I see that I think it’s great. I’ve noticed that kind of thing becoming a bit more mainstream.”
Many Muse songs are recognisable by Bellamy’s vocal vibrato, falsetto, and melismatic phrasing, influenced by Jeff Buckley. As a pianist, Bellamy often uses arpeggios. Bellamy’s compositions often suggest or quote late classical and romantic era composers such as Sergei Rachmaninov (in “Space Dementia” and “Butterflies and Hurricanes”), Camille Saint-Saëns (in “I Belong to You (+Mon Cœur S’ouvre a ta Voix)”) and Frédéric Chopin (in “United States of Eurasia”).
As a guitarist, Bellamy often uses arpeggiator and pitch-shift effects to create a more “electronic” sound, citing Jimi Hendrix and Tom Morello as influences. His guitar playing is also influenced by Latin and Spanish guitar music; Bellamy said: “I just think that music is really passionate…It has so much feel and flair to it. I’ve spent important times of my life in Spain and Greece, and various deep things happened there – falling in love, stuff like that. So maybe that rubbed off somewhere.”
Wolstenholme’s basslines provide a motif for many Muse songs; the band combines bass guitar with effects and synthesisers to create overdriven fuzz bass tones. Bellamy and Wolstenholme use touch-screen controllers, often built into their instruments, to control synthesisers and effects including Kaoss Pads and Digitech Whammy pedals.
Most earlier Muse songs lyrically dealt with introspective themes, including relationships, social alienation, and difficulties they had encountered while trying to establish themselves in their hometown. However, with the band’s progress, their song concepts have become more ambitious, addressing issues such as the fear of the evolution of technology in their Origin of Symmetry (2001) album. They deal mainly with the apocalypse in Absolution (2003) and with catastrophic war in Black Holes and Revelations (2006).
The Resistance (2009) focused on themes of government oppression, uprising, love, and panspermia. The album itself was mainly inspired by Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell. Their sixth studio album, The 2nd Law (2012) relates to economics, thermodynamics, and apocalyptic themes. Their 2015 album Drones, is a concept album that uses autonomous killing drones as a metaphor for brainwashing and loss of empathy.