- Summary: The sixth album for the British rock band features bassist Chris Wolstenholme on lead vocals for two tracks he wrote.
- Record Label: Warner Bros.
- Genre(s): Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Neo-Prog
- More Details and Credits »
Oct 22, 201280Muse and David Campbell's melodramatic arrangements occasionally raise a smile, but if you like your rock symphonic and your vocals histrionic, The 2nd Law delivers. [Nov 2012, p.87]
Oct 29, 201280Does this all meld together into the cohesive whole of a perfect album? Well, no, not really. But does The 2nd Law represent a band whose only limitations seem to be the high ceiling of their collective imagination? The answer here is an emphatic yes. [6 Oct 2012, p.52]
As a longtime Muse fan, a new album is always a nervous event to comprehend because of Muse and their ever-changing approach to music. From the depths of their uncertain 'Radiohead-esque' era of Showbiz to the masterpiece that was Origin of Symmetry, Absolution, and Black Holes & Revelations, Muse have always impressed me as diverse musicians. Of course, 2009's The Resistance wasn't a great release bar a few tracks and the mighty, and beautiful, Exogenesis Symphony, but The 2nd Law has somehow evolved Muse even further than anything previously has ever done before. Though the recent tour leaves a lot left to be desired (hopefully Undisclosed Desires and Matt's Bono impersonations will be left alone for the stadium tour), The 2nd Law is a solid era, and a rather solid album.
Back when Survival, Unsustainable (shortened via 'The 2nd Law: Unsustainable' on the album), and Madness were released as singles before the album release, I was worried, naturally. Madness, a simple but effective electronic track stripped to its bones, was a concern, but it eventually grew on me. Hearing how diverse this album was going to be, my nerves soon relaxed. Unlike others, I instantly fell in love with Survival and Unsustainable, two monster tracks built for stadium experiences. Still to this day, Survival remains my absolute favourite from The 2nd Law, for its over-the-top builds, its dirty and meaty riffs, and the brilliantly hilarious, but fun, choir. Aside from those three releases, the album holds up as one strong piece of work well polished.
The album itself opens with the epic Supremacy (a nod to James Bond, perhaps) which doesn't set tone at all, but proves Muse have still got it when it comes down to beefy riffs and stunning choruses. This is by far one of the greatest tracks on the album (after Survival, and later Panic Station) and perhaps one of their greatest works. This is followed up by Madness, Panic Station, and later a lovely short prelude progressing into the monster Survival. Panic Station is one track I was initially worried about before the album release, but now stands as one of the strongest on the album. A 'funk-like Stevie Wonder induced anthem', Panic Station is a mountain of fun. It's brilliantly paced as a track, and would work wonders as a single. Follow Me soon follows, an electric 'rave' track deemed the new single (sadly) which was mixed and mastered, I believe, by Nero. This is a track that you will either love or hate, depending on your mood. Strong vocals, cheesy lyrics, surely to attract the chav population of England. Animals is the complete opposite, almost a nod to their Origin of Symmetry era. Strong Pink Floyd styled guitar solos, brilliantly orchestrated lyrics, and a superb ending. Animals is also one of the stronger tracks on the album.
Then the album takes a turn (for the worse?) with classic Bellamy influenced Explorers and Big Freeze. I love Explorers, though some don't seem to enjoy it. Which is understandable, actually. A wonderful piano piece with haunting lyrics and a magical closing, which leads to the 'U2 rip-ff' that is Big Freeze. I despised Big Freeze upon first hearing, though like the rest of the album, it's a grower. If you don't mind a U2-inspired track with Bellamy trying his hardest to sound like his idol (almost a parody, think United States of Eurasia), Big Freeze still stands as a great song. Though I'm not surprised it hasn't been presented in their live shows just yet.
Chris Wolstenholme, the legendary bassist (legendary; in no way an understatement), has given his fair share of commitment to The 2nd Law, too. Almost absent from The Resistance, Chris pounds back with two tracks of his own. Though, they're aren't on top form. Save Me is a slow, dragged out, track backed up with beautiful and personal lyrics. Liquid State is what I wanted from Chris, though turns out to be some short clutter, though by far one of the heaviest tracks on The 2nd Law.
Matt naturally closes the album with two masterpieces of music composition, Unsustainable and The 2nd Law: Isolated System. Unsustainable is a massive 'rock take' on Dubstep, with news reader commentaries (a science lesson in itself), which is closed with the haunting and perfect Isolated System. Though no Exogenesis Symphony, Isolated System is one of Muse's greatest works. Haunting, intimate, massive, bold, furious, but calm at the same time. Wonderful stuff.
Overall, The 2nd Law is a bold direction Muse have undertook, and you'll either love it or hate it. Though it seems like a collection of singles with no flow, The 2nd Law is a brilliant achievement and a clear advancement from their prior album, The Resistance. If you can forgive some cheesy lyrical content and some rip-off guitar solos, The 2nd Law will surely work for you.
Overall Score: 9/10… Expand
7This album is such a mixed bag. It is definitely more a collection of tracks rather than a cohesive whole...it contains some of the best moments of the band's career (Animals, Follow me and Supremacy), but also a few of their worse moments too (Survival, and the too awful for words Big Freeze). Chris Wolfenholme sings on 2 of the tracks, and he is a pretty decent vocalist, but his songs do not really sound like Muse.… Expand
4Appalling compared to previous releases, The 2nd Law is disjointed and completely lacking in cohesion. They try to have too many styles and influences on the album, from prog rock to dubstep and none of them form together in a satisfying way. Matt's staccato vocal delivery is just pompous and irritating, and the two part symphony at the end has nothing on Exogenesis. Like the rest of the album, it's just lots of tidbits thrown together to pass off as experimentation. The only acceptable songs on the album are Panic Station and Supremacy. Matt and the boys need to come down to a little place called Earth, somewhere they were clearly at during the Origin of Symmetry era. That album was amazing. This is pure crap.… Expand