REVIEW: THE MUTE GODS – “Atheists And Believers”
Having reviewed the debut and the follow-up albums of the brilliant and sassy The Mute Gods, I was excited for their new offering ‘Atheists and Believers’. First off, if there are bands out there who want to stick to their older and well-established sounds, believe me, this band is a great case study. The new album is true to the sounds of the previous two albums of the band ‘Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me’ and ‘Tardigrades Will Inherit The Earth’. So whether ‘Atheists and Believers’ is your first foray into The Mute Gods or not, you will find an air of familiarity in the band’s sounds by the time you get really in and around their music. It’s a nice place to be despite some of the dystopia thrown around. Maybe the realism the album deals with is a confidence-building measure of sorts!
The album opens up with the title track “Atheists and Believers”. Almost immediately the band’s past comes right at you. But here’s the thing, the album is able to stay true to its older sounds and still innovate a lot within this. This becomes evident as the opening track progresses and opens up the album more. “One Day” follows up to the opening track. This song opens up with some very catchy organ church rock cross over organ sections with some lovely synth work and solid rhythm parts. This song features the legendary Alex Lifeson on an assortment of stringed instruments.
“Knucklehead” is the third song on the record. Now personally I think this is one of the best songs crafted by the band. The drums and funky bass parts and strings are absolute bangers on this song. The lyrics are truly reflective of political frustration that haunts all of us. Of course, it takes Nick Beggs to really sing out frustration and make it sound very fluid and sassy while driving home the point. Now simply because a whole lot of us are going to be alive to fight out a dying planet and rotten systems, the band brings out a little feeling in us that they so aptly titled “Envy The Dead”. In all its seriousness, the song brings out a little comic humor. Regardless of how awful things are getting, you wouldn’t need any tablets with your names on to enjoy this album.
“Sonic Boom” ever so slightly alters from the overall feel of the sound of the album. Why so, you may ask because it features Craig Blundell (Steven Wilson and Frost*) on drums. A fellow bandmate of Beggs from Steve Wilson’s band, Blundell creates a very different vibe on this instrumental piece which was composed around his style. A real treat! “Old Men” is a break from the fast prog feels of the album. This is a small introspective piece that gives aging a new perspective – one that catches time and the ideas that come with it and turning the inevitability of a linear life on itself; life can have many new starts and beginnings through its course.
“The House Where Love Once Lived” is an ode to living a life that one is thankful for. When was the last time you celebrated nostalgia? This is a wonderfully warm and mellow song and its something nice to keep going back to like some memories. Talking about memories, the worst of our political pasts are never forgotten and the band makes this clear with “Iridium Heart” – a song dealing with the new but ridiculous emergence of Nazism. It’s terrifying to see something like getting mass prominence in our everyday discourses. The intro of the song is supposed to emulate the opening fanfare at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. “Iridium Heart” is another voice of sanity.
“Twisted World Godless Universe” opens up with wonderful string sections before jumping into the typical sound of the band. The rhythm sections are party similar to some previous sections of the album. This song is a serious introspection on the polarities of opposing beliefs. This is a very lush song. The album closes with an instrumental song “I Think of You”, a lovely soothing piano piece accompanied by a rich strings section. It’s a wonderful close to a great and enthralling album.
‘Atheists and Believers’ is another job well done by the power trio of Nick Beggs, Marco Minnemann and Roger King. The drums are thunderous and it really makes Minnemann’s style shine wonderfully. King’s work on synths and programming really created an aggressive atmosphere on the record where needed and toned down at the right spots. Above all, hats off to his production and mastering of the album. Top notch production for progressive rock standards! Beggs is back with his assortment of instruments from the bass to the stick and his singing is brilliant as usual. Additional guests on the album include Lula Beggs on backing vocals, Rob Townsend on flute, soprano saxophone and bass clarinet, Craig Blundell on drums and Alex Lifeson on assorted stringed instruments. Atheists and Believers is a power packed album with lots to offer as you dive deep into the album. This album will definitely be one of the best records of 2019.