Muse's Matt Bellamy reveals previously unspoken love for Yngwie Malmsteen and Iron Maiden: "Metal has always been around for us"

Muse's Matt Bellamy
(Image credit: Jason Koerner/Getty Images for Audacy)

Alongside Slipknot's The End, So Far, Muse's Will Of The People album is arguably the heaviest album to have topped the UK charts in 2022, and frontman Matt Bellamy says that's because "a bit more metal has crept in this time."

Speaking in the brand new issue of Classic Rock magazine, Muse's leader says, "Metal has always been around for us."

"When we were growing up we were listening to bands like Iron Maiden. And though we connected more through Nirvana, Rage Against The Machine and the Smashing Pumpkins, we always had this love for eighties metal. 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. The song Phantom Of The Opera [from Iron Maiden’s self-titled debut album] doesn’t feel as bloated or overtly classical as other metal songs. There’s still something quite angry and scary about it. That’s why Maiden are a band we’ve always looked up to.

"That usage of the harmonic minor scale and the progressive approach to arrangements is something that we share, even if we never sounded like them and live in a different genre. We have a lot of respect for them as musicians, especially Steve Harris, who is one of the best bass players around."

Speaking to Classic Rock's Amit Sharma, Bellamy also revealed a hitherto unspoken affection for guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen, after Sharma points out that a lick in the song You Make Me Feel Like It’s Halloween sounds like something the Swedish shred-guitar maestro might play.

"Oh, brilliant!," Bellamy exclaims. "I haven’t listened to him in a while, but Yngwie was one of those people I got into in the early nineties when I first started playing. Clearly back then, I thought there was a chance! 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."

You can read more from Matt Bellamy in the new issue of Classic Rock

Classic Rock 309 cover detail

(Image credit: Future)
Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.