Muse, and Matt Bellamy in particular, make no bones about Drones: their seventh album is political through and through, a bold statement concerning the dehumanization of modern warfare. As Muse is not a subtle band -- any suspicion they were is erased by the artwork depicting a hand controlling the joystick of an office drone controlling a joystick directing drones -- it's hard to avoid their conclusion that war is bad, but this inclination to write everything in bold, italicized capital letters is an asset when it comes to music, particularly here where they've teamed with legendary hard rock producer Robert John "Mutt" Lange. Always a sucker for oversized guitar riffs and bigger drums, Lange also allows the trio to indulge in a bit of Floydian fantasies -- the made-to-order dialogue of "Drill Sergeant" is straight out of The Wall -- but he spends much of Drone sharpening Muse's synthesis of every arena rock idea ever essayed. Echoes of other bands can certainly be heard -- an early Radiohead influence still lingers, due largely to Bellamy's vocal phrasing, but that can soften into a glimmer reminiscent of Coldplay, while elsewhere they aim for the majesty of U2 and the showboating velocity of Van Halen ("Reapers" opens with an erupting hurricane of finger-tapping pyrotechnics), but this absurdly overstuffed synthesis is unmistakably Muse's own, so thunderous it drowns out any good intentions the band may have had.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine