Muse – The 2nd Law (2012)

The waiting – and unfortunately the resistance – it’s over, the upcoming sixth studio album by Muse it’s set to be released on 1st October 2012, respectively on 2nd October 2012 in the USA.
The expectations are pretty high, “The Resistance” was a brilliantly super album which also put one Grammy Award for Best Rock Album in their pocket, although they were nominated in three categories. Along the way, Muse have won several music awards including five MTV Europe Music Awards, five Q Awards, eight NME Awards, two Brit Awards—winning “Best British Live Act” twice, an MTV Video Music Award, four Kerrang! Awards and an American Music Award. In a digital era with serious piracy issues, they still managed to sold over 15 million albums worldwide.
The album title refers to the second law of thermodynamics. The music it’s a colorful mixture of old and new, merging sounds and genres from roots back to traditional Brit Rock, invoicing mainly Queen, up to contorted, so-called “Dubstep” influences from American producer Skrillex.

The opening “Supremacy” sounds like a James Bond title soundtrack where grungy riffs, Dubstep layers, Brit Rock grandeur and orchestral arrangements are making a decent pair, although all this together might seems quite disturbing. Then we move to “Madness” which is a completely electronic output of the classy Queen style, Matthew Bellamy feels like a returning ghost of Freddie Mercury and the choruses are even more phantomatic reflections of Queen up to the extremely May-ish guitar solo. Sounds like a Dubstep fueled reiteration of Queens’s ” I Want to Break Free”.
“Panic Station” have – apparently – a more heavy vibe, they took us back to ’78’s “Jazz” album by Queen and it’s mixed up with some funky and Bowie colours, Manic Street Preachers have sometimes this kind of songs, while I’m still waiting to hear something Muse.
“Survival” have a kind of 70s perfume, the Queen parallel still lives on, a Russian flavored choir and some heavier guitar riffs invoking Led Zeppelin feel like strength creating a quite interesting vibe and the song have its own groove, positive tension and drive. Probably one of the best moments of the album.
“Follow Me” it’s a strange Pop song where many different aromas, flavors, sounds and genres are melting together, but the result is quite doubtful.
“Animals” almost sounds like Muse, the vibe is the right one, the tension it’s flowing throughout, manage even to explode at the end and gave us some release, eventually this is one of the genuine tracks from the album, but not a masterpiece and far not enough.
“Explorers” returns to the classic Queen vibe incorporating some 70s, 80s after-taste, supposed to be soulful, it’s actually kind of boring.
“Big Freeze” reveals the more Rocker side of the Queen influence, Muse incorporated a more pumping modern sound in it, but they are still not so convincing.
“Save Me” have a kind of David Bowiesh taste, feels like a trip out to space, although it was written by bass player Chris Wolstenholme about his battle with alcoholism, and he providing lead vocals as well.
“Liquid State” pounding a little bit heavier, but things seems not to line up this time for Muse. The whole album have a borrowed, second-hand feel and their weaving of sounds and the massive production can’t fill in to replace the real content.
This “The 2nd Law” it’s kind of “The King’s New Clothes”, it’s gorgeous, but totally missing.
“The 2nd Law: Unsustainable” brings Skrillex wobbling and contortions in. I actually have nothing against it, make sense in its relation with the lyrics and the message, but sounds pretty strange connected to the rest of the album.
“The 2nd Law: Isolated System” bring to the surface Jean Michel Jarre taste like electronic layers, subtle orchestral fills, hidden tension, modern beats and a general impression of lack of content.

Disappointing? Not really. It’s hard, if not impossible to beat a record like “The Resistance”, three years were not enough to find new inspiration and the strength to move over and trying to stay on top by incorporating nowadays mandatory wobbling and so-called Dubstep sounds, it’s actually pity. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got nothing against wobbling, contortions, this modern Dubstep. I actually love murderous bands such as Subsource, but this Skrillex type of sound it’s exactly that kind of so-called Dubstep which sounds massive, but it’s empty and completely soulless.
This “2nd Law” seems only an intermediary station on the evolution line of the band, so, be patience and wait for the next journey, this one is quite forgettable.

Tracklist:

01. Supremacy
02. Madness
03. Panic Station
04. Survival (Prelude)
05. Survival
06. Follow Me
07. Animals
08. Explorers
09. Big Freeze
10. Save Me
11. Liquid State
12. The 2nd Law: Unsustainable
13. The 2nd Law: Isolated System

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