THE MUTE GODS - Atheists And Believers

The Mute Gods - Atheists And Believers

10 songs
57:26 minutes
***** **


Progressive rock super group The Mute Gods are back with the third instalment of their album trilogy. Atheists And Believers comes two years after its predecessor Tardigrades Will Inherit The Earth, and in some ways, repeats the good but also the bad from that album. Looking back at their first album Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me, I was surprised to hear bass and Chapman stick player Nick Beggs fronting a progressive rock band. My first encounter with him was as a pre-teen with boy group Kajagoogoo, but back then, the boys still used to play their own instruments, and Beggs was already an accomplished bassist in the early Eighties. He as well as his co-musicians Roger King and Marco Minnemann are all three respected session musicians that have shown for a couple of years now that The Mute Gods are actually a quite good band in their own right.

Their third album Atheists And Believers has just like the two previous albums all the good stuff right at the beginning. The opener and title track shows The Mute Gods at their best, and thatís when they enhance their progressive rock "light" sound with a catchy pop melody. I guess a guy who helped define the pop music of the Eighties should meanwhile know how to craft a great catchy tune. The following One Day is a more straightforward hard rock song, with a rather long jamming part towards the end, and I canít blame the band as they have Rushís Alex Lifeson on guitar on this track. Knucklehed is another of my favourites. Although itís not truly a prog rock song, it comes with strange parts, a quirky sense of irony and a chorus that you wonít forget anytime soon. Envy The Dead is another stomping hard rocker, quite pleasant and a nice return to heaviness after the preceding mellower track. Sonic Boom is an instrumental rock song with Steven Wilsonís Craig Blundell on the drums, making this a very rhythmic piece, but apart from the prominent drumming, itís not really adding much to the album. Old Men is a whimsical, pastoral ballad, quite nice, but would have fitted better on an early 70s Canterbury prog rock album than on this otherwise more modern sounding album. The House Where Love Once Lived is a ballad with rather personal lyrics, showing me that Beggs is more adept at pop and rock than at romantic songwriting. Iridium Heart sees the band returning to rock. Itís a song with some nice melodic parts but somehow not their most memorable moment. Twisted World / Godless Universe is at eight and a half minutes the longest song, and while it could have spread its message in a few minutes less, itís still a pleasant and fiercely rocking piece, the kind that works best for The Mute Gods. The concluding I Think Of You is a tribute to Nick Beggsí mother who died young when he was only seventeen years old. While the idea is moving, this six-minute-long instrumental ballad sounds rather bland.

Atheists And Believers is an album that is one third really great, another third quite good and a last third that fails to satisfy my expectations. Maybe one day I will create a Spotify playlist with the best songs of all three albums compiled, and it will be a masterpiece. And yet The Mute Gods are still one of the more exciting modern prog rock bands. If only they could keep up the greatness of the first few songs throughout an entire album.

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