Muse have ratcheted up the riffs and rage in anticipation of their politically charged upcoming album, Drones, releasing two new tracks, “Reapers” and “The Handler,” ahead of the LP’s June 9th release.
“Reapers,” which arrived recently with a brutal and chilling lyric video, finds Muse at their heaviest and frontman Matt Bellamy at his most vitriolic, wailing about government deceit, radicalized intelligence agencies and the alienating inhumanity of remote-controlled death machines. The accompanying clip is fittingly blunt, depicting a man caught in the crosshairs of a drone and running for his life while a woman with red lipstick waits to pull the trigger.
“The Handler,” which can be streamed on Spotify, treads similar sonic territory with its buzzsaw guitars and bombastic, plodding percussion. Bellamy also carries the song with flashes of his signature operatic melodrama as he sings about resisting the control of the powers-that-be: “I must stand free from your grip, you will never own me,” he howls in a soaring falsetto.
Both “Reapers” and “The Handler” are among a handful of Drones cuts — along with “Psycho” and “Mercy” — that Bellamy recently told Rolling Stone represent a crucial turning point in the LP’s overall narrative.
“They’re about being overcome by these oppressive forces,” Bellamy said. “Midway through ‘The Handler,’ in the darkest places, the protagonist, or me, since I’m singing in the first person, feels this desire to actually feel something. They decide, ‘I don’t want to be used by others. I don’t want to be controlled. I don’t want to be a cold, non-feeling person. I want to actually feel something.’ The desire to fight against the oppressors sinks in.”