When Muse released the dubstep-influenced teaser trailer for their sixth studio album The 2nd Law earlier in 2012, it was met with mixed reactions.
While some fans saw this move as a continuation of the band’s typical genre spanning sound, others saw it as selling out and cashing in on the dubstep craze. It turns out that both were wrong, for in The 2nd Law Muse have created a genre defying, bombastic and thrilling record.
From the stadium rock opener Supremacy to the funk-influenced Panic Station, this release is as ambitious as anything Muse have ever recorded. While this creates, at points, a peculiar sense of inconsistency, it also makes the album increasingly listenable, generating a sense that literally anything could come next.
There is a dubstep presence, especially on the Nero-produced Follow Me, but it never threatens to become the main focus of the record, as it is guaranteed that the next track will be entirely different.
While at some points the album struggles lyrically (especially London Olympics theme Survival), the Chris Wolstenholme-penned Save Me and Liquid State appear as particularly poignant moments. Dealing directly with the bassist’s struggle with alcoholism, the songs are as personal and as heartfelt as anything the band have produced, and act as a neat break from the grandeur of the other tracks.
It seems then that six albums in, Muse are only getting more ambitious with their sound. This pomposity is why people both love and loathe the band, and The 2nd Law will not convert any cynics.
What it does do, however, is provide a fascinating, if not always coherent listen, with some truly exciting moments. Muse continue to create overwhelmingly entertaining music, and still stand out as one of the most original bands in the world today.