by / September 1st, 2009 /

Muse – The Resistance

 5/5 Rating

(Warner Music)

Muse are the great proponents of outlandishly exuberant modern rock; a skyscraping musical juggernaut teetering on that finest of lines separating the splendorous from the utterly ridiculous, forging compositions that are an irresistable blend of both. On record they possess an uncompromising attention to detail to produce exquisitely intricate, fantastical music, whilst their boundless energy on stage has confirmed their standing as one of the planet’s most exhilarating live acts. It’s a formidable reputation that has won them a veritable army of followers. And it’s this reputation the Devon trio are charged with upholding on their latest studio effort, The Resistance.

Maintaining the momentum reached on their previous effort, Black Holes and Revelations, would appear to be a difficult task when considering the dizzying sonic heights it scaled. Interesting then that Muse have chosen this juncture to make their first foray into self-production, having previously relied on guidance from such notable figures as David Bottrill, Rich Costey and John Leckie during the creative process. They’ve also raised eyebrows by employing the services of a 40-piece orchestra during recording sessions at their studio in northern Italy. These factors invoke curiosity but also entice the listener to approach The Resistance with some apprehension. Have Muse finally bitten off more than they can chew?

Thankfully, the answer is no. On the contrary, the album finds Matt Bellamy, Dom Howard and Chris Wolstenholme at their superabundant best, continuing the mesmeric space-rock saga initiated on its predecessor. The curtain-raiser, ‘Uprising’, is typical Muse with its steady beat, stellar synths and Matt Bellamy crooning his way through lyrics alluding to struggle, revolution and victory. But anyone expecting the LP to unfold in this vein will be pleasantly surprised. ‘Undisclosed Desires’ is a case in point, owing more to the R&B production stylings of Timbaland than standard rock music formulae.

On the whole, however, it’s the ghosts of Queen, Jeff Buckley and even Chopin himself who intertwine with Muse’s own characteristic sound on this record. The piano intro and multi-layered vocals on ‘United States of Eurasia’ call to mind sequences from ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, with the song culminating in a foot-stamping, fist-raising chorus. ‘Belong to You (Mon Coeur S’Ouvre A Ta Voix)’ bounces along with it’s bubbling bassline tucked in beneath Bellamy’s falsetto and ends with – of all things – a strangely appropriate clarinet solo. The best, and most extravagant, is saved for last, with the final section of the album set aside for the three-part ‘Exogenisis Symphony’. It’s an undertaking the band members themselves approached with some trepidation; but listening to the ensemble progressing through the various movements it becomes apparent this is the composition Muse have always been destined to write. It’s awash with dramatic string arrangements and purposeful brass sections, interspersed with moments of pure serenity. ‘Exogenisis’ matches the three-piece’s virtuosity and satisfies their musical ego, resulting in a phenomenal 14 minutes of music.

Muse have crafted a daring body of work laden with expansive soundscapes, resulting in an album more complete than any of their previous offerings. Perhaps it’s the added dynamic of the orchestra or maybe it’s because they’ve let their imaginations run riot when left to their own devices. Whatever it is, it’s made The Resistance more than just a collection of awesome songs… it’s a work of art.

Pre-order the album here.

Listen: Spotify | Bandcamp | Soundcloud | Youtube

  • To say I cant wait to hear this album is an understatement of epic proportions. By far my favorite live band ever, and the albums have all been great at the very least. When’s the release date?

  • Patrick Conboy

    The album drops here on the 11th. The ‘Uprising’ single will be in the shops on the 4th but it’s already available to download.

  • Excellent, Ill be outside the record store at 9am on the 11th, aging portable CD player in hand πŸ™‚

  • Muse – I’m a fan

    Thanks for for the glorious review. I really enjoyed it. This album is going to be something special. Feels like I’ve been waiting for it to come out my whole life. Isn’t it marvellous to be in Ireland, where we get it three days before the UK?! In the meantime, I am off to Devon to see Muse destroy their hometown with their epicness. Nobody does it better. And I do mean NOBODY.

  • MUSEFANATIC

    Man, you guys are lucky, I can’t get hold of the album till the 14th!
    Far too long to wait.

    I’ve got every Muse song going on my walkman, including rare b-sides (do we need this, spiral static, eternally missed Etc)even the rare Newton Abbot demo songs. I freaking love these guys!

    I need this album!

    I’m seeing them live for the first time in Sheffield in November.

    JOYGASM!!!!

  • I can’t wait

    I can’t wait. I REALLY can’t wait. I love Muse. They’re the best band of this era. They’re like a modern-day Queen. I can’t wait for the new album. It’s gonna be epic. GO MUSE!!!

  • This is going to be without doubt one of the monster albums of this year. I reckon it will be Muse’s finest. Listening to the live shows in Teignmouth (on YT), Unnatural Selection sounds amazing.

    I love how they can vary their music, yet still make the album work, I havent heard the Resistance yet, but it sounds like it does.

  • Ramses

    I have downloaded the album yesterday (10 sep). It somehow leaked and I could easily download it from rapidshare. It’s a very refreshing Muse i.m.h.o…! The first song is typically Muse, but I couldn’t help hearing some Marilyn Manson in the beat…. in a good way nonetheless. The rest of the album is very divers, with a variety of influences. Where “Undisclosed Desires” is…. dare I say it?… a Nelly Furtado-like hit-potential, other tracks bring up feelings normaly only epic movie soundtracks would, or even musical-like sounds, with dramatic tempo changes and melodies. Other often heard comparisons involve the compositions of Queen and even Chopin and Beethoven (recognize Moonlight Sonata in the final track?)!

    This album is definitly different from the previous ones. Less rock, more… Muse! It will take some, but not too much time to get used to this new, fresh sound, where Muse is fortunately still Muse. Mat Bellamy’s lyrics in the previous albums maybe had more desperation in them, this album however leaves me with a feeling of resolution, determination, combined with a touch of melancholy. Bold, empowering AND moving. I think might just listen to this one a LOT for a long time to come….!!

  • His Royal Oddness

    For those who can’t wait until the get the album, you can listen to it in full streaming here: (no registration required)

    http://apps.facebook.com/ilike/artist/Muse

  • Ben

    Excellent review. I tip my hat off to Patrick for this article. I particularly cannot wait to listen to the epic trilogy at the end of the album..