It’s been three years since Muse dropped their last record, 2015’s heavier, conceptual Drones. After dropping singles for almost two years now, the band has finally returned with their newest effort, and they’re not done with their wild concepts. Muse dive deep into the 80s with their eclectic new Simulation Theory, a grandiose and different record for the band.
Simulation Theory is all about fighting the system and rising up to escape control. It’s also full of synths, like it’s straight out of the 80s. Muse does a great job at capturing that old-school sound while bringing it to a modern stage: single ‘The Dark Side‘ is a great example of that. The synth-heavy track has this funky alternative groove to it, Matt Bellamy‘s delivery and guitar solo also being reminiscent of the band’s critically acclaimed Origin Of Symmetry (this track is like a modern ‘Space Dementia‘). Even opening track ‘Algorithm‘ finds a great blend of tense drama and alternative drive, the dark build never quite exploding in an overbearing way but definitely gets the job done. Muse’s exploration of these 80s sounds finds a different face in ‘Something Human,’ an acoustic ballad where Bellamy sings sweetly about being away from home.
Muse doesn’t forget to bring the jams, though. ‘Pressure‘ is the record’s most bombastic track, proud brass supporting the punchy guitar riff and wild drive. ‘Thought Contagion‘ channels a Thirty Seconds To Mars kind of anthemic energy, while lead single ‘Dig Down‘ slowly builds with a choir-like disposition. The hook of ‘Propaganda‘ is pretty jarring, but the verses have this cool, bluesy sort of movement to them that keeps the song going. Muse gets weirdly metal in ‘Break It To Me,’ but in the best way: the darkness of the track paired with the Middle Eastern melodies make for an awesome track. There’s even time for more direct and upbeat anthems like the alternative ‘Get Up and Fight‘ (which features vocals from Tove Lo) and the battle-cry that is ‘Blockades' with its huge delivery and dynamic solo. ‘The Void‘ wraps this science-fiction journey up on a dark and dynamic note, the build of the track taking the record out hauntingly.
Muse dive deep into the 80s with their eclectic new Simulation Theory, a science-fiction adventure that sees the band fight against control. It’s as Muse as Muse can get while still moving forward in a new direction, and with an incredible slew of bonus tracks (alternative versions of the album tracks), Muse really delivered a lot here. The next stop: the live stage.
Favorite Tracks: Pressure, Thought Contagion, Break It To Me, The Dark Side, The Void
Least Favorite Track: Propaganda
Rating: 94 / 100
Stream or buy Simulation Theory on Apple Music, and follow our 2018 Playlist on Spotify: