Gonna Make You, Gonna Break You.
4 Out Of 5 Stars
In all heir pompous glory, Muse are old fashioned prog-rock band, with the fat trimmed off and aspirations toward the big statement. With "Drones," that landed a live one. "Drones" is allegedly about the dehumanizing of men and the militarization of the world. Y'know, you're a drones, we fight with drones and don't you make me one. Packed with big guitars, flourishing keyboards and Queenly harmonies, it's just what a Muse fan would be looking for, The concept gets a little wavy at times, but it's all good music.
The best songs are where the band stretches out, like "Pyscho" or the sprawling "Aftermath," a 10-minute epic that starts with an Ennio Morricone whistle, plays into a Pink Floyd vibe before finally tearing into some muscular metal. And that's before Matt Bellamy even sings a note, which he does over another flourish of piano. It's not like Muse has not tread this turf before, there was the two-pronged title track to "The Second Law" and the three part "Exogenesis" off "The Resistance." Just this time, they crammed it all into one song and rock it into submission. Same for the album opener, "Dead Inside," which throbs like Queen's "We Will Rock You."
I'm all for bands making sloppy concept albums. Done well, the concept often takes a back seat to the songs (like "Drones") or overwhelms and makes the album fly along one big trajectory (think of the classic Jethro Tull album, "Thick as a Brick"). Either way, you'll get more bang for your buck, and Muse are such a great band that "Drones" is a big deal of fun, without the overwhelm. It's as much a concept album as a return to form. Top notch stuff.