At the end of Muse‘s third studio album, 2003’s Absolution, is a powerful ballad that, to this day, is one of the band’s best ever creations: “Ruled By Secrecy.” The song, rooted in Matt Bellamy‘s dueling arpeggiated pianos, is a patient exploration of an individual’s lack power against an unknown societal force, a stirring call to those who “are working so hard/ but [they’re] never in charge,” and a nod of suspicion towards society’s manipulative leaders.
“Ruled By Secrecy,” along with the other dramatic, apocalyptic themes of Absolution, marked a new thematic highway for the British trio, and it’s one that they’ve followed staunchly since the album’s release in 2003. Black Holes and Revelations came next with a greater emphasis on sci-fi, but still found the band using a sound of epic proportions to empower individuals against that same unknown societal force, as lead single “Knights of Cydonia” goes: “You and I must fight for our rights/ You and I must fight to survive.”
And in 2009, their fifth — and arguably most successful — album, The Resistance, doubled down even harder on the dystopian political commentary. Its two biggest singles were, in the most general sense, all about fighting oppressive leaders who seek to manipulate and control their subjects, and how revolution is necessary to bring love and life back to our world. Also, it was kind of just about the book 1984.
Now, 13 years and three similarly dramatic, politically-fueled albums later, Muse have returned with yet another dramatic, politically-fueled record: Will of the People. This album sounds exactly what you think a Muse album called Will of the People in 2022 would sound like, except, perhaps, its occasional foray into the muscular stylings of metalcore and hard rock.
Muse have always dug into the expansive possibilities of progressive rock and metal while remaining true to their most pop-forward impulses, and Will of the People certainly shows Muse take their sound to the furthest extent of both the metal and pop genres.