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VINE VOICETOP 500 REVIEWERon 31 December 2012
I'm really torn about this one. Muse are one of my favourite bands of all time and their outlandish and overblown creativity has resulted in some of the greatest albums ever made. Their willingness to evolve and embrace new directions have kept them relevant, consistently attracting new fans and has given their back catalogue a character and depth that some bands simply don't have. However, The 2nd Law, a bit like Black Holes & Revelations, has a pop sensibility running through the album which makes a fan like me slightly unsure about whether I truly like where they're headed. Although the "dubstep" moments have been the most contentious and widely debated elements of the album, their full embrace of 1980s Queen (my least favourite Queen era), as can be heard on "Madness" and "Panic Station" where guitar sounds, bass-lines and hooks are lifted, wholesale, from Freddie, Brian, Roger and John's catalogue. Even "Panic Station"'s guitar solo is reminiscent of Billy Idol's "White Wedding". I have to admit, it's terrific pop music, but it's not what I like about Muse, that's for sure. Still, it's never anything less than enjoyable and they provide decent distractions before the truly great songs of the album "Prelude"/"Survival", "Explorers" and "Big Freeze". The album opener, "Supremacy" is almost frighteningly good too. Unfortunately the album really tails off with the 2nd Law duo of songs which start off brilliantly but then it ends with a whimper rather than a bang. To surmise. this album is a bit of a disappointment to me, if I'm completely honest, but it's still extremely good. Just goes to show that it's all relative - my least favourite Muse album ever with a higher than average tally of average songs still manages to be one of my favourites of the year. If you could just stop channelling that inner Freddie you're embracing at the moment, Matt, that'd be great - oh, and stop letting Chris sing too. He's just not as good as you.
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VINE VOICEon 25 March 2014
I will leave discussing the second law of thermodynamics and making smart comparisons to the content of this album to other reviewers. Suffice to say that Muse continue to experiment and not get stuck in a rut – something that a band really needs to do to survive. Take for example Queen, Radiohead, Pop Will Eat Itself, U2 and Depeche Mode who were never scared to experiment and possibly annoy a few hardcore fans along the way with a change in style or message. As such this is actually Muse at their most commercial, given the seriousness and pretensions displayed on previous albums.

The official anthem of the London Olympics Survive is here in all its overblown pomp and choral ridiculousness like the mutant child of We Are The Champions and My Way, but with its heavy layered guitar and rock drumming is actually more representative of early albums than this new one.

In comparison the flagship single Madness sounds like a mix between early Radiohead, Freddie Mercury’s solo stuff and, towards the end, U2; as such is representative of the whole album in its varied influences. But that is not a bad thing. It is quite possibly one of the best singles Muse have ever done and happily glides through a room of X-Factor nobodies like a shark with style and charm as close to perfect pop rock as you can get.

Muse have gone poppy in places, cinematic sounding (Isolated System) in others, along with a little dalliance of the current dubstep zeitgeist (Follow Me, Unsustainable), Carter USM-esque television news samples, and references to classical music and opera. It is far more accessible than Absolution or indeed The Resistance (which lapsed into pseudo classical navel gazing in the extreme) while still containing a shed load of really good guitar solos / riffs.
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on 1 October 2012
he big question for Muse's sixth studio album was were they going to release an album full of dubstep tracks, given that they had been hinting about going in this direction as well as declaring a love for dubstep maestro Skrillex. Well yes the album does have elements of dubstep but it has got a whole load of other styles too. Any fears that long time Muse fans had that about the band going completely dubstep were well and truly buried when the first single "Survival" was released as one of the official tracks for the 2012 Olympics; it was a track that saw the band draw heavily on their Queen influences.

In fact "The 2nd law" features Muse's most funkiest song that they have ever recorded in the excellent "Panic Station" which is a funk filled slab of funk rock at its finest and sounds like 80's style Red Hot Chili peppers when they hung out with George Clinton as well as a Chuck Mosley fronted Faith No more and a hint of Prince from his 80's best. The second single to be released from the album "Madness" which features some big electronic beats and a flourish of a guitar solo towards the end is reminiscent of the style of "Undisclosed Desires" from previous album "The Resistance".

Anybody who thought that Muse had abandoned their guitar roots completely will be happy with opening track "Supremacy" which opens with a chugging grinding guitar, if there ever was a song suitable for a James Bond movie this one ticks all the boxes. Interestingly bassist Chris Wolstenholme not only writes two tracks for the album but he also takes on lead vocals on both "Save Me" and "Liquid Sate". They both deal with his battle with alcoholism. It's a bold move but one that works as Wolestenholme is spot on with his vocal delivery. There's no doubting that the final two tracks are the ones that will split Muse fans as they are the dubstep tracks that were promised "The 2nd Law: Unsustainable" and "The 2nd Law: Isolated System" are two over the top tracks that are dubstep but done in Muse's way, yes there's all the shrieking and bleeping sounds that are familiar with dubstep but with the epicenes of Muse. ""The 2nd Law: Isolated System" starts of sounding quite similar to Clint Mansells "Welcome to Lunar Industries" from his score of the movie "Moon".

With the special edition of the album you get a making of "The 2nd Law" which is interesting as you get to see the songs take shape and all the work that goes in to making them, Drummer Dominic Howard gets impatient as he does his drum parts for "Animals" as he sits there he just wants to get on with it. It's great to see all the work that went in to "Survival" and then to hear the finished song on the album itself.

So "The 2nd Law" isn't the dubstep album that maybe some thought it would be, only the final two tracks are dubstep and if that's not your thing there is plenty on here that's got all the Muse hallmarks to keep long-time fans happy as well as a few new elements. After all it is Muse and whenever have they not experimented in different styles? They should be applauded for once again trying new things.
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on 3 October 2012
Having booked to see the band in Paris in a couple of weeks, I decided I needed to do some homework. Up until now I've only bought Muse on CD, and always felt that the either medium didn't do justice to the music or they were just pretty ordinary in a studio compared to their live performances, but given that I've invested in a decent system so I am now heavily back into vinyl I decided to give this a whirl.

Wow. Like all Muse albums there are tracks that you wonder why they bothered, but these are soon forgotten as you at last get the full richness of the Muse sound. Plagiarists? Well if you think you detect early King Crimson, Radiohead and, of course, Queen with a handful of Jean Michel Jarre (and no doubt more) I'd go with that. But it is well wrapped in Muse sound. A nice by product of this "influences" thing in any case is that this album got me spinning stuff I'd not listened to for a while. The 2nd Law tracks got me playing King Crimson's "Lark's Tongues in Aspic" for example.

The quality of the recording is excellent, the production of the sleeve a little disappointing. Minimalism is all very well, but this is a vinyl double album and could have taken a bit more. But if you liked "Black Holes" and were then a little disappointed in the last album then be assured, Muse are back with chorals and strings to boot.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 4 October 2012
Muse are so unique in their sound that if they produced record after record that simply sounded like the one before, they would be criticised for 'sameness'. If they experiment, people who liked the previous output will criticise too. So this is a record that walks the line between the two demands: it has 'Absolution' type tracks but also moves the band forward in different areas.

I found myself thinking of Queen more than once as I listened to this album: massive arrangements with a soaring voice to the fore. Very effective. Then there are other tracks where Matt Bellamy uses his voice as another instrument - distorted, impossibly high notes on top of a huge vocal range - a direct throwback to earlier albums.

Muse fans will not be disappointed in this. Their material is evolving, as it must, but their musicianship remains of the highest order. Very good. Four stars.
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on 4 October 2012
Having loved Muse from their early days, I was with them all the way to `Black Holes and Revelations', then I started to become a little antsy. The Resistance has some great tracks, but many I don't like. And then this. Some tracks on The 2nd Law do grow on you quickly, but I miss old Muse! Matt Bellamy is an absolute genius - such a rare talent in music these days - and while they're always pushing new ideas, I worry they're gonna go too far. The 2nd Law, to me, is bordering on too far.
The tracks I really like are: Unsustainable, Liquid State, Madness, Animals and Supremacy. The others I don't like. Some may grow on me, others never will. I Absolutely HATE Panic Station!!
I'm still with you Muse... but only just! I gave the album 4/5, as the tracks I like I REALLY like...
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on 27 April 2014
This is a superbly produced album from Muse but I had the overwhelming feeling I was back in 1975 listening to Queen's "Night at the Opera" sometimes, the album seems littered with it in the vocals and instrumental passages - not a complaint because everybody draws their material and style from the past, but usually less subtly than here, I have been a
Muse follower from their early albums and the band have developed their own style, no need to sound like Queen quite so much, but saying that this is one of Muse's best albums and the production is amazing, great songs, superb quality and a great addition to the band's catalogue!
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on 21 November 2015
Didn't know I was going to like this as much as I did...but yeah, great album. Not really big on Muse but this is a special album anyway...it's not the Muse I used to know from Absolution days no...it's got more grandeur, big sounds...orchestra, dubstep...big theatrical soundscapes...it could be perceived as quite pretentious but the music is fun to listen to. My fav tracks are Madness, Big Freeze, Explorers, Supremacy. I liked this album more than The Resistance.
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on 25 November 2012
Muse are a great band and I have come to expect great things from them. This CD has not hit the high notes of Muse's musical excellence. I think it's over produced and pushes too far into theatrical and rock opera territory.

The CD has merits. Madness and Panic Station are the tracks I appreciate most. Sadly for me the opening (Supremacy) and close (The 2nd Law: Isolated System) are far weaker. Getting attention and leaving the listener craving more is, in my mind, important. These tracks didn't cut it. The pattern and musical consistent is to 'rangey'.

The band has unbelievable talent (Chris Wolstenholme's bass playing is some of the best to be heard). This CD doesn't show the talent. But I am looking forward to the next CD from this great band.
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on 24 January 2013
Muse are the finest rock band on the planet right now and this is their finest album to date. As usual, Matthew Bellamy sings his heart out and the powerful "Supremacy" is the perfect opener. The stirring Olympic song "Survival" is preceded by the loveliest prelude that Rachmaninov never wrote! Other influences can be heard on the album, particularly U2,Scissor Sisters, Brian May and George Michael, but this is NOT a criticism! "Explorers" is dreamy, sad and very beautiful but everything leads up to "The 2nd Law" itself, which comprises the final 2 tracks. Its chilling message is a stark warning about what could happen if we continue to rape the Earth and plunder its resources. This is thoughtful, intelligent rock music that has no equal. A happy surprise is the inclusion of 2 excellent songs written and sung by bassist Chris Wolstenholme. His plaintive, choirboy-like vocal on the lyrical "Save Me" contrasts sharply with the strident hard rock of "Liquid State". This guy is brilliant and I really want to hear more of his work! "The 2nd Law" is very polished and dramatic but also very accessable so it should win Muse many new fans as well as delighting existing ones, such as myself! This album is definitely one of my all-time favourites.
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