Muse – Will of the People (Album Review)

Muse – Will of the People (Album Review)

The sonically adventurous English band started off, in the 1990s, as part of the flourishing Alternative Rock scene and then slowly set its music apart from most of its batchmates by dabbling into the more creative and complicated world of Art Rock and Progressive Rock.

Formed in 1994, in Teignmouth, Devon, England, Muse consists currently of Matt Bellamy (lead vocals, guitar, keyboards, piano), Chris Wolstenholme (bass, backing vocals), and Dominic Howard (drums, percussion), augmented by a group of touring musicians. To date, the trio has nine studio albums–from 1999’s Showbiz to the just unleashed Will of the People.

Released on Friday, August 26, 2022, via Warner/Helium-3 Records, Muse’s new record consists of ten songs self-produced by them, all while touching on everything the band is capable of musically. Featuring an impressive five singles that followed the full album release, it opens aptly with the celebratory, four-on-the-floor grind of the title-track; theatrical, industrial, exuding dark and ominous echoes of Marilyn Manson’s “Beautiful People” and Ministry’s “Psalm 69.” It then takes the listener to the flickering dancefloor of the discoteque, as the Synthpop-stylized “Compliance” plays next. A change of pace and mood follows in the form of the piano-led, stadium-ready, Queen-inspired “Liberation,” and then the powerful “Won’t Stand Down.”

Moving forward, “Ghosts (How Can I Move On?)” then cascades fluidly with its glassy piano arpeggios and impassioned vocal swagger. The ensuing “You Make Me Feel Like It’s Halloween,” on the other hand, treats the listener to a carnivalesque adventure, Cirque-du-Soleil style; a trek into a shady territory full of mirrors and sharp guitar lines. Muse then changes costume once again with the onslaught of the metallic buzzsaw thriller, “Killed or Be Killed.” Progressive drama then unfolds with the beautifully arranged “Verona.”

The penultimate track, “Euphoria” turns on again the blinding laser lights; and finally, Muse finishes its latest effort with the in-your-face, politically charged rant of the Gothic-glazed Progressive Rock stomper “We Are Fucking Fucked.”

Simple put, Will of the People‘s stylistic diversity is unsurprising; this is something they have shown their entire career. Bellamy himself stated that the band’s new offering is what he would describe as “a greatest-hits album of new songs,” for its multi-genre theme is a deliberate homage to all the various sounds that they had explored and dabbled in, in all the records that they made in their 28-year career. Living up to their reputation, Cryptic Rock gives Muse’s Will of the People 4 out of 5 stars.

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aLfie vera mella
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Born in 1971, in Metro Manila, Philippines, aLfie vera mella is a healthcare worker, singer/songwriter, and editor/writer. He was the frontman of the ’90s-peaking Philippine Alternative Rock / New Wave band Half Life Half Death, which released a full-length album and several singles on Viva Records. aLfie worked at Diwa Scholastic Press as an editor/writer of academic textbooks and supplementary magazines, focusing on Science & Technology and English Grammar & Literature. In 2003, aLfie migrated to Canada; he has since been living in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He works full-time at a healthcare institution, while serving as the associate contributing editor of Filipino Journal—a local community newspaper in Winnipeg—tackling Literature, Languages, Cultures, Lifestyles, and Music. aLfie has been a music journalist since the mid-’90s for various print magazines as well as websites. He started writing album reviews for Cryptic Rock in 2015. In 2016, aLfie published Part One (Literature & Languages and Their Cultural Significance) of his Essay Series, Can You Hear the Sound of a Falling Leaf?; in 2021, his first book of poetry, Pag-íhip sa Dáhon ng Kahápon [Blowing Leaves of Yesterday]. In his spare time, he enjoys reading books and listening to music. aLfie is a dedicated father to his now 13-year-old son, Evawwen; and a loving husband to Kathryn Mella, who herself moonlights also as a writer aside from holding a degree in Bachelor of Arts, Major in Sociology.

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