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Hear Matt Bellamy’s Yngwie Malmsteen-inspired solo on the new Muse album

Matt Bellamy of Muse performs on stage during day two of Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix at Marina Bay Street Circuit on September 21, 2019 in Singapore.
(Image credit: Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images)

Muse’s latest album, Will of the People, lands today, and while its tracklisting is all over the musical map, there are some ripping guitar moments to be enjoyed.

Obvious standouts include Slipknot-meets-System of a Down riff-fest Kill Or Be Killed and electro-punk end-of-the-world anthem We Are Fucking Fucked, but the album’s best solo is buried away in an unlikely cut.

You Make Me Feel Like It’s Halloween plays home to the standout lead, and while its organ and synth-bass production don’t exactly scream neoclassical shred-fest, Matt Bellamy unleashes a monster of a guitar solo at the halfway mark, complete with some liquid legato and a rapid-fire descending harmonic minor lick that sounds right out of the Yngwie Malmsteen playbook.

And it turns out it could well be, as Bellamy details Malmsteen’s influence on his playing in a new interview with Total Guitar’s Amit Sharma.

“I haven’t listened to him in a while, but Yngwie was one of those people I got into in the early ’90s when I first started playing,” he says.

“Clearly back then, I thought there was a chance [of learning to play like him]! After a while I realised I simply couldn’t get to where he was and sort of veered off towards more classical and flamenco guitar styles. Then I started listening to players like Hendrix and Cobain and felt, ‘You know what? I can do chaos. I can’t do this unbelievable technical precision but what I can do is create a mess!’

“So I went down the road of noise, chaos and carnage... and little elements of the other things stayed with me… some of the fast-moving harmonic minor ideas will have come from players like that.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Bellamy reveals how metal played an important role in shaping the band’s sound, right back to their inception.

“Metal has always been around for us,” he recalls. “When we were growing up, we were listening to bands like Iron Maiden. Dom [Howard, drums] was really into them as well.

“And though we connected more through Nirvana, Rage Against the Machine and The Smashing Pumpkins, we always had this love for ’80s metal. It kinda hung around a little bit, which is where you might pick up on the harmonic minor scales we use. Metallica were also a big one for us, but Iron Maiden were the British band and also felt a bit more punk rock in ways.”

For the full interview, where Bellamy dives into his guitar collection, his plans for the future of Manson and reveals where he played Jeff Buckley’s Grace Telecaster on the record, check out the latest issue of Total Guitar, available from Magazines Direct (opens in new tab).

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Mike is Editor-in-Chief of GuitarWorld.com, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism, and has spent the past decade writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar (opens in new tab), Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as the best part of 20 years performing in bands of variable genre (and quality). In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe (opens in new tab).