The Mute Gods are a kind-of prog-rock supergroup, with all three members of the line-up having a lengthy pedigree playing in other major bands, currently including The Sea Within and Steve Hackett, among several others. This new album follows on from their last release, 2017’s Tardigrades Will Inherit The Earth, and continues to shine the spotlight on topics and issues that band main-man Nick Beggs feels strongly about, namely political issues, humanity and the state of the world for those who’ll follow his generation. Similar to Andy Tilson of The Tangent, Beggs believes there’s a place for music which considers serious issues in a serious vein.
Beggs says the album’s key message is “we now empower stupid people, but we don’t listen to educated and informed opinion any longer because the truth is no longer fashionable”. This is reinforced with the scepticism of Beggs’ own lack of faith in humanity and the direction it’s heading in, and this is graphically reflected in some of the lyrical content.
All the songs on this album are relatively straightforward, with none being overlong, yet both musically and lyrically they all pack a punch. As befits musos with such a pedigree, the playing is superlative, the songs are strong and there’s an impressive roll call of Prog luminaries occasionally lending a hand. The album begins with the title track, ‘Atheists and Believers’, a potshot at NASA’s attempt to find alien life when it’s known it already exists. This is followed by the anti-religious tune ‘One Day’, where Beggs sings “everybody’s looking for something they can’t have but one day we might find ourselves”, to a tune drawing from the riff of Nirvana’s Teen Spirit. Added bonus on this track is the presence of Alex Lifeson from Rush adding some fine guitar work. ‘Knucklehead’ sees Beggs taking a swipe at a human race he seems not to be a fan of, especially those people who walk around blind and can’t see what’s happening around them. There’s even an attempt at some gallows humour on the track ‘Envy the Dead’, a track written from the perspective of someone who believes “when I look at this planet, I envy the dead”.
But it’s not all gloom and doom. Closing track ‘I Think of You’ is a gorgeously haunting piano and low key orchestral instrumental which Beggs dedicates to his mother, who sadly died when he was only 17. This is a beautiful piece of music to remember anyone by and a delightful way to conclude possibly the best album The Mute Gods have released.