Review: Muse – ‘The Dark Side’

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Promising

The Dark Side will intrigue fans with its 80s infused sound, backed by the band's classic striking vocals, heavy bass lines and strong lyrics, and is a real contender to being the leading single from Muse's upcoming album, Simulation Theory.

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Hailing from Teighnmouth, Devon, British rockers Muse have attracted the label of being one of the most progressive alt-rock bands on the UK music scene throughout their 20 years active, where the band has been seen to evolve their musical style with each album they release. As fans eagerly await the release of the band’s ninth studio album, Simulation Theory, and with announcements of another arena-tour spectacular on the cards, Muse have added to the buzz by releasing their fourth single from the album, ‘The Dark Side’.

Coming off the back of their eighth album, Drones, a concept based album which saw the band return to a simple rock sound, their readiness to experiment has now seen them pluck up the courage to trial tracks infused with a retro 80s based sound. In spite of this newer sound, ‘The Dark Side’ is perhaps the most promising of the latest singles from upcoming album Simulation Theory released so far. While there is noticeable synth-based backing to the track that long standing fans of the band may find themselves surprised at, Matt Bellamy’s distinct vocals make the futuristic track immediately recognisable.

The opening lyrics, “I have lived in darkness / For all my life, I’ve been pursued”, ring similar to melancholic-sounding tracks from the band’s earlier album Absolution released back in 2003. ‘The Dark Side’, too, is darker and heavier in its lyrics and overall apocalyptic tone. The track also features a trademark Muse guitar solo following the song’s bridge, making the final chorus and outro of “Break me out / Set me free” appear all the more defiant and triumphant in its powerful lyrical protests.

With the release of the single also came the launch of an accompanying sci-fi inspired music video, seeing front-man Matt Bellamy navigate his way round a dystopian landscape, rocking a pair of red shades. While the track has appeared to largely divide opinions of Muse’s dedicated fanbase – with the majority gladly embracing another of Muse’s musical experiments, but others begging the band to return to their rock-inspired roots – ‘The Dark Side’ has certainly brought together the seemingly muddled collection of singles also set to feature on the album, which include the likes of ‘Something Human’ and ‘Thought Contagion’. ‘The Dark Side’ unites the inconsistent overarching sound of the singles, and successfully sets the tone for Simulation Theory’s release later this year.

‘The Dark Side’ is available now via Warner Music UK.

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I'm a regular gig-goer, partial to the music of ABBA, tunes of the 80s, and bands of the indie-rock persuasion. I am also a keen blogger and a strong advocate of the Robin and Barney pairing from HIMYM - forever willing to argue anyone who disagrees, and insists that Ted and Robin were the better couple.

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