Simulation Theory, the eighth studio album from rock band Muse is the commendable effort to maintain the pivotal success of the band’s previous work. Whilst being a matrix for new offerings, it contains no stand out brilliance. That is not to say it is without merit; they continue to be progressive within the genre they dominate. After all, it’s struggle for them to find things they just haven’t done before.
If you are a listener looking to find the mastery of earlier albums, then you could be faced with disappointment, yet, if you are willing to look for moments of genius in a seemingly standard release, then this album is a hidden gem. Muse’s electronic sound brings a certain touch of youth. The singles ‘Thought Contagion’ and ‘Pressure’ were solid releases with their mechanical synth and upbeat choruses leaves a sweet metal aftertaste, however that’s nothing unusual for the band. Where the album triumphs is at the hands of Matt Bellamy’s vocal performance and the band’s impressive lyricism especially present in the final track, ‘The Void’, which offers a compelling end to the album. It shares parallels to the message of ‘Dig Down’ but in a more consistently Muse style in terms of production.
The album initially feels somewhat empty, it comes across as safe – lacking the in your face singles that we are used to, but Muse have always been ahead of the curb. They’re experimenting with subtleness and it suits them. One piece of advice – listen to it more than once and you’ll grow to enjoy the offerings that Muse have hidden along the course of these eleven tracks.