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The Knights of Cydonia (Left to right): Chris Wolstenholme, Matt Bellamy, and Dom Howard

"Come ride with me
Through the veins of history
I'll show you a god
Who falls asleep on the job
And how can we win
When fools can be kings?
Don't waste your time
Or time will waste you"
Muse, "Knights of Cydonia"

Muse is an English alternative/progressive rock band formed in 1994 by vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist Matthew Bellamy, bassist Christopher Wolstenholme, and drummer Dominic Howard. They are well-regarded for their eclectic hybrid of musical styles, which is characterised by the incorporation of strong elements of classical music, art rock, electronic music, metal, jazz and flamenco, with a defiantly experimental bent. This is all tied off with a penchant for the darkly theatrical, which reveals itself especially in their rather hyper-operatic live performances.

They have released nine studio albums thus far, with Will of the People the most recent on August 26, 2022. With regard to singles, the band has been successful in both their home country — where they've had 17 Top 40 singles — and American alternative radio, where they have ten Top 40 singles on the Billboard Hot Alternative Tracks (formerly Hot Modern Rock Tracks) chart. They also managed a #37 hit on the Hot 100 pop chart with "Uprising", something they achieved without the help of pop radio. They have been nominated for the Grammy Awards four times, and have won twice - the first being for The Resistance in 2011 and the second for Drones in 2016.

Their music video for "Knights of Cydonia" has its own page, which should tell you something.

"Survival," from The 2nd Law, was the official song of the 2012 Olympics; while "Isolated System" was adopted as the theme for World War Z.

Note: Tropes specific to certain albums go on their own page.


Tropes Are Running Out:

  • Ace Custom: From Origin of Symmetry on, most of Matt's guitars are custom-made by Manson Guitarworks (a luthier based in their native Devon). Some of these guitars would achieve cult status among fans, including:
    • DeLorean, Matt's very first custom commission after Showbiz became a hit.
    • Red Glitter, a.k.a. Glitterati. One of Matt's most iconic guitars, it sadly met a tragic end during a live concert accident in 2010.note  It appears in the music video for "Uprising".
    • 007, identifiable by the gold plate on its matte black body. It appears in the "Time Is Running Out" music video.
    • Bomber, with World War 2-era rivets and a bright blue stripe on a chrome body. It appears in the "Starlight" music video.
  • Badass Longcoat: Matthew James Bellamy, in multiple music videos and live shows.
  • Bizarre Instrument:
    • That weird bass thing Chris plays in "Madness" is a Kitara bass version.
    • Some of Matt's primary guitars have an MIDI touch pad built into them, resulting in instruments that land somewhere between analogue and digital.
    • Occasionally Matt's guitars are also built with unusual features like built-in whammy pedals, doublenecks, lasers, swiss cheese-like holes, Tron Lines, and even a keytar fitted into a classic guitar silhouette from scratch.
  • Careful with That Axe: A feature of some of the rougher and rawer tracks, such as "Dead Star" and "Agitated." Matt also has a tendency to punctuate live performances with random, startling screams, especially during outros or particularly intense extended jams.
  • City Shout Outs: Occasionally the band does a musical version of this, prefacing a song with a riff themed to wherever they're playing.
    • The Star Spangled Banner in various US cities.
    • The South Korean national anthem at a 2013 show in Seoul.
    • At Chicago shows, they sometimes play a brief instrumental cover of "Cherub Rock" as tribute to the Chicago-based Smashing Pumpkins.
  • Concept Album:
    • Black Holes and Revelations draws parallels between astronomical concepts such as space and time, and human concepts like love and hatred.
    • The Resistance has many songs directly inspired by Nineteen Eighty-Four. It's mainly a discussion of rebellion and the pressing need for it in the modern context.
    • Drones is a concept album about a person who joins the rankings of being a "drone" within warfare and eventually defects. Beware the huge Downer Ending.
    • Matt later on confirmed that Drones has two stories: Songs 1-10 follow the story of "Mary", who joins the rankings of being a "drone" within the army after losing her lover. The last two tracks are about a man who follows a similar story like Mary, but it only leads to a Downer Ending.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: In Matthew Bellamy's own words to a German magazine:
    "I've always been interested in conspiracy theories. There is much information withheld from the people for sure. Including myself, so I'm not saying that I know about them. I've read much about it prior to the album production. Some things are just bollocks, other things are quite interesting. I like this narrow line. Many songs on [Black Holes and Revelations] deal with conspiracy theories or the formation of a world government, a topic which has been discussed in the last fifty years. Other songs are about control and how the media is purposely influencing and trying to keep us off from the truth. Methods that keep people off from questioning things and issues. Inventions and technologies bottled up in order to be able to use them later in military. I'm interested in all this, and it influenced the album." note 
  • Cosplay:
    • Dom is known to often wear a Spider-Man costume (normally sans mask) during live performances.
    • Smaller examples are Chris' Captain America costume and the outfits worn by the band during the encore of their concert on Halloween 2009: Matt was a vampire, Chris was Batman with light-up horns, and Dom was, predictably, Spider-Man.
    • Matt cosplayed as one of the masked hooded revolutionaries from Will Of The People at Burning Man.
  • Dare to Be Badass: "Butterflies and Hurricanes" and "Dig Down" are calls to arms.
  • Dark Is Evil: Played with when it comes to the rebels in the Will of the People concept films. They intend to overthrow their oppressive government, but in the process end up becoming ''the oppressive government'' once they take over. Whether the original government was doing something bad is even up in the air, the lyric "we need a revolution, so long as we stay free" making it seem that they weren't.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Matt is usually very calm in music videos where he ends up in life-threatening situations.
    • In "Bliss", he has a a three-minute long fall down a giant pit of death.
    • In "The Dark Side", he calmly dodges the attacks of giant robots guarding The exit of the Simulation.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Matt's default appearance and on-stage persona. With his gaunt, pale features, spindly frame, unruly black hair, piercing tenor vocals and an affinity for the theatrical and doom-laden, it's no wonder he's often compared to a banshee.
  • Elmuh Fudd Syndwome: Matt Bellamy is afflicted with this, moreso in speech - although it does seep into his singing as well. This performance of "Time Is Running Out" shows it off quite well. On some songs ("The Small Print," for one) he sounds a bit like he's spitting into the mic.
  • Everything Is an Instrument: Matt once played guitar with a fan's shoe.
  • Fanservice:
    • In the otherwise un-sexy "Undisclosed Desires" video there is a gratuitous lingering shot of Dom Howard's buttocks. That this is done while Matt Bellamy is singing "Please me" might make it Ho Yay.
    • The lyric video for "Dead Inside."
    • The Simulation Theory concert film features dancers in skintight bodysuits fumigating the audience during "Propaganda".
    • The "Time Is Running Out" music video would be an otherwise straight-laced Dr. Strangelove homage, if not for the attractive dancers and lingerie.
  • Genre-Busting: Oh, hell yes. They never seem to be tied down by one genre for too long, but they're still mostly considered alternative and new-prog.
  • Genre Mashup: To a point, with shades of New Sound Album.
    • Showbiz was Radiohead-inspired alternative rock.
    • Origin of Symmetry adopted hard rock and prog metal qualities.
    • Absolution shifted slightly to symphonic rock whilst retaining the hard edge.
    • Black Holes and Revelations took a more pop-y, electronic turn.
    • The Resistance adopted cues from classic rock and prog rock (a la Queen) and classical music.
    • The 2nd Law really plays this trope straight by borrowing aspects of a wide variety of genres, from synth-rock to symphonic prog to funk to, yes, dubstep.
    • Drones has a more straight-forward rock sound with a few pop-adjacent songs in it.
    • Simulation Theory is almost entirely composed of vaporwave and hip-hop inspired electronic pop rock songs.
    • Will of the People amps the theatrics up to eleven, mixing the electronic themes of its predecessor with the guitars of Drones.
  • Guyliner: The "Supermassive Black Hole" video. Also a staple of Matt's stage looks from around 2005-2011.
  • Heavy Mithril: They have but a handful of metal songs, but their lyrics oftentimes are very much out there in such territory.
  • Hell Is That Noise: A lot of their early music is filled with this for the creepy vibes.
    • One example would be Matt's vocals in "Micro Cuts".
    • The guitar parts on the B-Side "Host" are fairly haunting, listening to the song alone at night is probably not advisable.
  • When Matt breathes in the song "Dead Star", it isn't so much breathing as a disgusting, horrifyingly raspy slurp. Really uncomfortable, very creepy.
  • More creepy, slurp-y breathing in "New Born."
  • Even more creepy, slurp-y breathing in "Time Is Running Out," where the lyrics "asphyxiated" and "I know I'm trapped" really create a tense atmosphere that is completely at odds with most other hit singles of the time.
  • Hidden Eyes:
  • Iconic Outfit:
    • Dom is often depicted in a black tank top with a skeleton print on it, his Spider-Man costume, or a suit with an animal print on it. Or the hat and frilly jacket and pants from "Panic Station"'s music video.
    • Chris usually just wears a leather jacket (maybe lined with silver or patches) and some jeans.
    • There are not one, but many, especially for Matt.
      • In general, spiky hair.
      • The white coat from the Glastonbury 2004 gig.
      • The red hair and shirt from the "Bliss" music video.
      • The red suit and Guyliner from the "Supermassive Black Hole" video.
      • A black leather Badass Longcoat, best seen in "Knights of Cydonia" and "Uprising"'s videos.
      • A completely different red suit and all-white ensemble, both from the Wembley 2008 shows immortalized in HAARP.
      • The projection sunglasses and red fur coat from "Panic Station"'s video. Also, the sparkly chunky shoes.
      • The striped jacket and red pants from the 2nd Law tour, most prominent in the Live at Rome Olympic Stadium concert film.
      • The light-up jacket and power glove from the Simulation Theory film and tour.
      • A white shirt with the "WOTP" symbol spray-painted onto it in black.
      • Hot pink suits.
  • Impractical Musical Instrument Skills: Matt has been known to play the guitar while spinning, dancing, frolicking, or running down the stage. He may also play the guitar behind his head, or trigger the MIDI pad with his tongue.
  • Indecipherable Lyrics:
    • "Forced In."
    • Execution Commentary from the Plug in Baby EP may as well be the ultimate example ever, where the trope is taken up to eleven. Just... listen to it. Hell, check any official page for lyrics. Chances are it'll read (Indecipherable screaming), which, frankly, is rather to the point.
  • Kaleidoscope Hair: Matt often dyed his hair various colors during the Showbiz and Origin of Symmetry periods - notably red, blue, and blond. He also briefly had a skunk stripe in 2006.
  • Keet: Matt, both on and off stage. On stage, he's incredibly animated and theatrical, often running about and jumping around while performing. Off stage, rather at odds with the intensity of the music, he's prone to going so far off on tangents he'll often forget the original topic, talking at the speed of a bullet train, and breaking out into fits of childlike chuckling.
  • Large Ham: Oh, yeah, Matt Bellamy. Literally the one reason why Muse is so damn over-the-top. Just listen to how their songs are composed, or their lyrics, or any solos, or his voice. He loves to show off his skill and even when he has nothing to do at live performances, he will ''still'' find something to do!
  • Last Note Nightmare:
    • "Eternally Missed" ends with some incredibly creepy whispering.
    • Downplayed in "Supremacy," where the "nightmare" only lasts for about eight seconds after the false ending.
    • "Ruled by Secrecy's" creepy countdown at the end.
    • "Reapers" ends with an absolute shriek of "HERE COME THE DRONES!" Several times over.
    • "Take A Bow," which turns what was an almost triumphant choral climax into an electronic howl that fades away over the space of more than 20 seconds.
  • Lead Singer Plays Lead Guitar: Matt is the lead vocalist, lead guitarist, pianist and primary songwriter.
  • Long-Runner Line-up: The band has had the same lineup ever since they formed in 1994.
  • Loudness War: Most of their albums, even when they mixed/mastered. The 2nd Law, however, got a high-definition digital release that mostly averted this trope. It is possible that other albums will follow suit.
    • Hullabaloo Soundtrack in particular gets this really bad, to the point where it's often hard to hear vocals and guitars frequently brickwall.
  • Medium Blending: A lot of the Simulation Theory and Will of the People music videos are blends of CGI and live-action.
  • Metal Scream: Mostly type 4s with a bit of 3 in them. Matt pulled off a type 2 memorably in "Kill Or Be Killed" (though it's pulled off with some obvious electronic assistance).
    • "Psycho":
    I'm gonna make you! I'm gonna break you! I'm gonna make you! A FUCKING PSYCHO!
    Tired of fighting... tired of fighting... YOURSELF! YOURSELF! YOURSELF!
  • Mind Screw: Many of their lyrics. Especially if you're listening to Origin of Symmetry.
    • "Exo-Politics", once one finds out the inspiration for this song. ''Good luck finding out though.'
    • "Ruled by Secrecy", too.
  • Motor Mouth: Averted in their discography, but Matt in real life talks very, very fast. The fact that he also is pretty quiet and mumbles a lot doesn't help.
  • Musical Nod:
    • The prechorus melody of "Euphoria" matches the prechorus melody of "Time is Running Out".
    • Several classical music references appear throughout the band's discography:
      • Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings" in "Interlude".
      • Fryderyk Chopin's "Nocturne in E-flat minor" in "Collateral Damage" (the outro of "United States of Eurasia").
      • The middle section of "I Belong to You [+Mon Coeur S'Ouvre à Ta Voix]" is a direct reference to the Camille Saint-Saëns opera Samson and Delilah.
      • "The Globalist" features both the Adagio in G minornote , and Variation IX ("Nimrod") from Edward Elgar's Enigma Variations.
      • The Toccata and Fugue in D minor in "You Make Me Feel Like It's Halloween".
  • Nobody Loves the Bassist: Averted. While Chris is not a Lead Bassist, he is still a well respected musician in the bass community with many memorable bass lines in his repertoire. Even more awesome knowing that Chris used to be a drummer in his old band and had just started playing bass professionally after joining Matt and Dominic.
  • Non-Appearing Title: Zigzagged throughout their discography. Though it's growing less frequent.
  • Phrase Salad Lyrics: A lot of their early lyrics are these, being faily easy to understand on their own but difficult to piece together into a narrative.
  • Playing with Puppets: A rather common motif in several songs. The music video and stage visuals for "The Handler" feature faceless hands controlling marionettes, while the chorus of "Micro Cuts" references "destroying puppet strings to our souls."
  • Precision F-Strike: This tends to be averted, but it's played straight on "Crying Shame" (B-Side for the Supermassive Black Hole single), "Panic Station," and "Psycho", the only times when the word "fuck" has been used in the band's entire discography other than the self-explanatory "We Are Fucking Fucked" and the absurdly over-the-top hidden track from the Starlight DVD. Even though "Panic Station" only contained the one solitary F-bomb (in a less-than-sexual context, too), it was enough to slap the entire album with a Parental Advisory sticker.
  • Pretty Boy: Matthew Bellamy.
  • Protest Song: A staple of the band starting from Black Holes and Revelations onwards.
  • Recovered Addict: Chris once admitted to being a "raging alcoholic" for a considerable section of the band's career. He has since sobered up, and wrote "Save Me" and "Liquid State" about his experiences and his determination to not slip back into it.
  • Repurposed Pop Song: A Downplayed Subversion; once their cover version of "Feeling Good" was released, Nestle tried to acquire the rights to use that song in a commercial, but the band turned them down. But they used it anyway! Muse then successfully sued the company, and then promptly donated the money they got to charity.
  • Rockers Smash Guitars: Matt has a real penchant for this, even having a world record frequently attributed to him. This page chronicles the death of many of Matt's precious axes.
  • Rock Trio: The band has only three primary members. From 2006 to 2019, however, keyboardist Morgan Nicholls assisted them on tour, mostly to prevent excessive use of backing tracks. Morgan would later be replaced by Dan Lancaster in 2022.
  • Rule of Cool: The reason for Muse's existence. Considering how their stuff is crazy-awesome Genre-Busting with generous heaps of operatic flamboyance, who cares if the concepts don't entirely make sense at times?
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: Their wardrobe varies, but they have their moments.
  • Shout-Out:
    • "Resistance" is based on the love subplot between Winston and Julia in Nineteen Eighty-Four. The song mentions the Thought Police, and "United States of Eurasia" is a very blatant reference to the states of Eurasia, Eastasia, and Oceania.
    • Most of the video for "Knights of Cydonia" is movie references, listed on its page.
    • They used a recording of Tom Waits' "What's He Building in There?" to open concerts around the Origin of Symmetry era. It can be heard on the second disc of Hullabaloo Soundtrack by rewinding from the first track (though not all CD players will support this) or by ripping the album as a disc image, then altering the start of the first track in the resultant cue sheet. Fittingly, the band brought it back when they played Origin of Symmetry in its entirety at Reading 2011.
  • Sigil Spam: The band's logo gets the brunt of this. In addition to the typical merch (CDs, t-shirts, posters, etc.) the logo has also appeared on guitar picks, harmonicas, Christmas ornaments, a ping-pong table, and even a hovercraft.
  • Signature Instrument:
    • Matt's collection of custom Manson guitars, many in the distinctive "Mattocaster" style (basically a cross between a Gibson and a Fender Telecaster).
    • Chris's Status basses with LED lights on the neck.
    • Three songs on Will of the People used another musician's signature instrument during recording, that being Jeff Buckley's yellow Fender Telecaster.
  • Solo Side Project: During the COVID lockdown Matt recorded a handful of covers and rearranged songs, which would later be compiled in the 2021 EP Cryosleep.
  • Title Track:
    • "Showbiz."
    • "Resistance" counts, even if the album is technically called The Resistance.
    • The last two tracks on The 2nd Law.
    • "Drones."
    • "Will of the People".
    • "Sing For Absolution".
    • Averted outright with Origin of Symmetry, the only (studio) album to date with neither a Title Track or an Album Title Drop. A track with the title "Origin of Symmetry" was mentioned by the band prior to the album's release, but this track has never been released or heard in any form.
  • Video Full of Film Clips: The official music video for "Neutron Star Collision (Love Is Forever)" is stuffed with clips from The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. However an unedited version of the original video sans film clips does exist.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: Not common in their lyrics, but particularly present in Origin of Symmetry, most notoriously "New Born", "Plug In Baby", "Space Dementia", and "Micro Cuts". Also, whatever a "dark shine" is is anyone's guess.