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The Mute Gods - Atheists and Believers CD (album) cover

ATHEISTS AND BELIEVERS

The Mute Gods

 

Crossover Prog

3.70 | 44 ratings

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TCat
4 stars The Mute Gods is a Crossover band formed by Nick Beggs (previously from "Kajagoogoo" and Steve Hackett's and Steven Wilson's band among others) back in 2014 who now plays bass, chapman stick, keyboards and vocals. He has recruited Roger King on keyboards and guitar, who was also with Steve Hackett, and Marco Minnemann on drums and percussion who was also with Steven Wilson's touring band.

The band's 3rd full length album is called "Atheists and Believers" and features a few guests. For example, "One Day" features Alex Lifeson (Rush), "Sonic Boom" features Craig Bundell (Steven Wilson's band) on drums, Rob Townsend (Steve Hackett's band) on sax and duduk and Lulu Beggs on vocals.

This album centers around the rejection of truth in exchange for believing what just sounds convenient at the time, that those with less knowledge about a topic now have more of a voice than ever before and how experts are shunned. Beggs vocals are quite suited for heavy pop music, easy to listen to and understand. The music overall has a heavy, yet accessible sound thanks to Beggs' ability to write catchy hooks, and his music has somewhat matured from his earlier days. For example, the 2nd track "One Day" has some nice melodic hooks, but also has a heavier and somewhat dark sound, but doesn't go overboard with this in that it would be easy for anyone to digest this music. The addition of Lifeson on this track where he plays a nice slide guitar solo during the instrumental break.

Beggs has a negative view of basic human tendencies that most people tend to want to be comfortable in their situations and because of that, they don't exert any energy to change their much less-than-perfect lifestyles even when society makes them live in less than ideal situations. This shows a lot in his lyrics, especially in the spoken vocal section of "Knucklehead". But, interestingly enough, the music is quite positive sounding and upbeat, and the keyboard solo in this one is excellent.

As the album continues, you get some nice and heavy riffs, but there are times when the vocals don't quite match that attitude, because his voice is almost too perfect for that style, but that is not a major issue. The instrumentation is so good in most of this album, that you almost don't notice that anyway, and there are times when Beggs lets his cynical self show through in his vocals, and those are the most convincing parts of the album.

There are also a couple of instrumental on the album. The first one is "Sonic Boom" where Marco lets Craig Blundell take over the drums. This track was written specifically for Blundell's drum style. The Stephen Wilson style instrumental is very upbeat and heavy with great guitar work and a nice synth hook. The middle section slips slyly into a reggae vibe which brings even more appeal to this track. "I Think of You" is also an instrumental and the final track of the album. This one is inspired by his mother's untimely death when Beggs was 17 years old and she was only 38. It is a beautiful, heartfelt track consisting mostly of piano, lush synths and later, a moody sax.

There is also room for some other slower tracks. "Old Man" is a pastoral sounding track that has vocal accompanied by a simple acoustic guitar and what sounds like a flute and warm synths. "The House Where Love Once Lived" is also a ballad, but features the full band, and this one is more meaningful. The vocals lend themselves better to the full band than in the more minimal "Old Man" track which tended to be a bit corny.

There are a few tracks here that also lend themselves to a more progressive sound. "Iridium Heart" returns to a dark and heavy sound, even more so in this track as it utilizes a hook similar to "The Smiths" most famous hook, but it works for this track. The vocals are changed up a bit here to sound more like an evil entity without going overboard with it. In this track, Beggs utilizes his 80s pop sensibilities with a more updated and dark sound so that it all comes out sounding relevant for today's crowd. "Twisted World Godless Universe" is the longest track on the album at 8+ minutes. Again, this continues with a dark and heavy sound with a mid-tempo beat. Vocal effects are used again to help darken Beggs' vocals.

This album hits on a lot of different moods and styles, and, for the most part, it works. There are only a few minor faults here, but they become less apparent because of the production and overall musicianship. The use of effects to help darken the feel of the vocals helps a lot on some tracks. Also, the use of a variety helps to keep things from getting stale, and the fact that a few surprises here and there keeps things interesting. It's not a perfect album, but it is still pretty good, and a little more use of progressive techniques could have helped, but I feel it is still deserving of 4 stars.

TCat | 4/5 |

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