Muse - Will Of The People

Regular price $ 23.19

Revolution, geopolitical strife, and existential crises have been Muse's bread and butter for decades. Yet, after all these years singing about Armageddon from above, the real threat was coming from within all along. Will of the People, the band's ninth full-length effort, landed at a time of real crisis, when a pandemic, social division, and a climate disaster pushed thoughts of alien invasions and intergalactic threats to the side. For frontman Matt Bellamy, the album's title could go either way: will the masses protect democracy and save the earth, or devolve into the shadows of populism? Against that conceptual backdrop, Bellamy, bassist Chris Wolstenholme, and drummer Dominic Howard crafted a set eerily similar to past works. And for good reason: originally, their label requested a greatest-hits collection, but instead, the band made an album of new songs that sounded like old ones. That convenient solution hits the mark on the group's tightest effort to date.

At a slim ten tracks, the record is by-the-numbers Muse, with a formulaic approach sure to delight fans with its bevy of callbacks. In the market for the heaviness of Drones or Absolution? The glam rock title track -- a satirical view of the dark side of society that was inspired by the attack on the U.S. Capitol in 2021 -- merges "Psycho" with Marilyn Manson's "The Beautiful People," while the churning "Won't Stand Down" serves meaty riffs and stabbing synths on a buzzsaw blade, as if "Stockholm Syndrome" or "Hysteria" were rewritten by a metalcore outfit. Meanwhile, "Kill or Be Killed" is a storm of riffs, death growls, and double-bass drums that bests "Reapers" and "Assassin" in terms of ferocity. Fans of Simulation Theory and The 2nd Law will delight in the urgent synth anthem "Compliance"; the sparkling U2-sized "Verona," an ode to star-crossed love that matches "Madness" and "Starlight" in its lovelorn earnestness; and neon-washed highlight "You Make Me Feel Like It's Halloween," whose campy title and haunted house organ mask the song's real-life inspiration, the horrors of domestic violence cases that surged during pandemic lockdown. On the softer end of the spectrum, the swelling, Queen-esque "Liberation" revisits "United States of Eurasia" with its rousing piano, operatic harmony, and soaring guitar solo, as the heartbreaking "Ghosts (How Can I Move On)" pays tribute to loved ones lost on this effort's contemplative "Soldier's Poem"/"Drones" moment. To close, Muse slyly revisit two fan favorites -- "Time Is Running Out" and "Knights of Cydonia" -- with the propulsive "Euphoria" and the blunt "We Are Fucking Fucked," whirlwinds of catharsis that beg for respite in the endless doom before sealing our fate with a heavy dose of nihilism and a monster guitar breakdown. While Will of the People is not as essential as their 2000s classics, it's a quick, satisfying burst of Muse essentials that cleverly forgoes the hits-compilation graveyard in favor of fresh material that honors both their evolution and dedicated fan base.

Bone Colored Vinyl

1 Will of the People 3:18
2 Compliance 4:11
3 Liberation 3:06
4 Won't Stand Down 3:29
5 Ghosts (How Can I Move On) 3:37
6 You Make Me Feel Like It's Halloween 3:00
7 Kill or Be Killed 4:59
8 Verona 4:57
9 Euphoria 3:23
10 We Are Fucking Fucked 3:36