Get Excited About… Conspiracy theories, political plots - Muse’s ‘Drones’ guarantees madness

DIY looks ahead to the group’s seventh studio album.

The last we saw of Muse was a headline set at Coachella Festival in California, in April 2014. It marked the end of the tour in support of the bands sixth studio album, ‘The 2nd Law;, which had started some eighteen months earlier and circled the globe. It was ambitious, daring and bordering on the ridiculous, everything we’ve come to admire about these three childhood friends from Teignmouth.

Months of silence followed before the band broke cover in October of last year, sharing a photo of the band recording, coupled with the caption “Day 1…” Intermittent but vague updates followed throughout the remainder of 2014 and into this year, with steadily increasing regularity. While nothing explicit has been given away, whispers from the band themselves and people associated with them have helped paint a picture of what we might expect from ‘Drones’.

From the upcoming live shows, to the album itself and everything that comes packaged with it, Muse are stirring, And if you believe the tail of the photoshopped weapon the band recently shared, ‘Drones’ should be out in June.

#MuseDrones

A photo posted by @muse on

Back on the live circuit

The wheel’s already turning on Muse’s live return. The ‘Drones’ tour is currently scheduled to kick off at Rockavaria Festival in Germany at the end of May alongside Kiss, Metallica and Faith No More. Also penciled in are dates headlining England’s Download Festival and BBK Live in Bilbao, Spain. Those are the shows - then there’s the spectacle. From the white cones of the ‘Origin Of Symmetry’ tour through the satellite dishes of ‘Black Holes and Revelations’, through through to the giant robot (Charles) of their last tour, Muse have constantly pushed the boundaries of what a live show can accomplish. Rehearsals for their stadium tour in 2013 saw people phone the fire brigade, because it looked like the Ricoh Arena was burning down.

By the time the tour kicks off, Muse will only have three gigs under their belts in almost eighteen months. Not only has this left plenty of time for the band to think outside the box, but it also lends itself to a warm up show or two. Rumours of a club tour to celebrate the band’s 20th anniversary tour never materialised but maybe they’re just delayed.

A new sonic trip?

A video posted by @muse on

As it stands, we have heard less than a minute of potential new music from Muse. A series of videos on Instagram have shown strings being recorded in Milan - they’re also a shot of the band playing various snippets of music in the studio, backed by a chant of “Drones.” There’s not much to go on, but from the videos released thus far, it’s already shaping up to be a pretty diverse record. The video that first gave away the title of the record also features audio of military discipline, lovingly labeled ‘Psychological Abuse’, an idea repeated in tweets from Matt Bellamy in regards to the first “too offensive for radio” single to be taken from the album.

Historically, Muse have tackled everything from Rachmaninov-influenced piano pieces in ‘Megalomania’ to System Of A Down-style riffs in ‘Stockholm Syndrome’. More recently, Muse have drawn inspiration from the likes of Skrillex and U2. Not only has new producer Robert ‘Mutt’ Lange worked with the likes of AC/DC and Lady Gaga but arguably Muse’s best two albums were recorded under the tutelage of producers they were working with for the first time - Rich Costley on ‘Absolution’ and David Bottrill and John Leckie on ‘Origin of Symmetry’.

Comments in a Twitter Q&A have also given rise to the possibility of a sequel to ‘Origin of Symmetry’’s ‘Citizen Erased’, a return of guitar solos and the promise that “it’s going to get heavy”.

And then there’s the conspiracy theories

Every Muse album has come with a theme. The escapism of ‘Showbiz’ through to the rules of thermodynamics on ‘The 2nd Law’, the band have always pushed the topic of conversation into weird and wonderful places.

From stockpiling baked beans and buying an axe in case the UK gets blockaded to writing songs about abandoning the planet in search of a new one, ‘Exogenisis’ or the royal family being descendants of giant lizards, ‘Unnatural Selection’ Matt Bellamy is renowned for his off-kilter views.

Already Matt has hinted that ‘Drones’ will be about World War Three, Deep Ecology and The Empathy Gap. While the frontman can’t always be trusted to keep his word (we’re still waiting for our ”Christian gangsta rap jazz odyssey, with some ambient rebellious dubstep and face melting metal flamenco cowboy psychedelia”album) the current political climate is sure to offer a muse to Muse. Matt was very vocal during the Scottish referendum and he’s being sharing articles about Infinity Machines and actual drones. Whatever the topic up for discussion, Matt’s not staying quiet.

What about everything else?

Conspiracy theories, political plots - Muse’s ‘Drones’ guarantees madness

There’s the potential SEKDEK involved music video that promises “a series of fantastically colourful, expressive & psychedelically gory sculptured head and torso images that were caught using an expressionistic painting / being extraction / messy visual chaos technique that includes spreading clay, acrylic paint, glitter, fake blood, wigs, fabrics and flour etc.. all over the models.”

There’s the guidance of the talented Matt Mahurin, who’s worked with everyone from Tom Waits and U2 to Metallica and Tracy Chapman. There’s the history Muse have of not only having striking album covers but ridiculous music videos, the teddy bear revolt of Uprising or the space western of Knights of Cydonia immediately spring to mind.

All this points to is a band who seem determined for ‘Drones’ to have a strong physical aesthetic that matches up to this description, taken from Matt Mahurin’s website: “’Drones’ - a word offering a dark and intriguing exploration of the potential virtues and abuses that come with control, responsibility, and purpose.” Intriguing, right?

Muse will play Mad Cool, which takes place 6th July - 9th July 2022. DIY is an official media partner. Tickets are on sale now.


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