The Mute Gods
Category: Progressive / Rock / Pop
Album: Tardigrades Will Inherit the Earth
Blurb: With even more aggressive fervor than the debut album, surpassing its progressive and pop leanings to deliver a dark warning to a humanity rapidly bringing about its own destruction, The Mute Gods succeed in making an album that is apocalyptic, ironic, and catchy.
Nick Beggs, Roger King, and Marco Minnemann – the trio known as The Mute Gods – are among the most accomplished and reputable musicians working today, having worked collectively with the likes of Gary Numan, Tina Turner, Steve Hackett, John Paul Jones, and Steven Wilson. As The Mute Gods, with Beggs at the helm as primary songwriter, the trio lyrically explores and criticizes the state of humanity racing toward its self-imposed extinction and the desecration of the planet, set to a musical backdrop of intricate arrangements befitting the musicians’ progressive rock backgrounds with an accessible pop sensibility. With the second album, Tardigrades Will Inherit the Earth, Beggs continues to pontificate on the same subjects with more aggressive fervor.
Those familiar with King’s orchestral arrangements and production will surely recognize his signature on the opening overture, “Saltatio Mortis,” a processional introduction that sets the tone for the album that immediately reminds this writer of the man’s work with Steve Hackett. Then the first howls of “Animal Army” enter as a screech of guitars and drum breakdowns give way to a simple but muscular guitar phrase whose heaviness belies the melodiousness of the vocals, with Beggs’ words evoking a martial image of animal life delivering a harsh karmic blow against those who have wronged them. This theme pervades the album as “The Singing Fish of Batticaloa” features layers of lush keyboards and guitars, the fluid solos mirroring the actual recordings of singing fish in Sri Lanka, Beggs’ words imagining the creatures’ tones as an unheard warning of darker things to come, while the sardonic title track presents an almost fatalistic portrait of mankind making the most of what little time it has before the next dominant species – surely, the extremely resilient microorganism Tardigrades – takes its place. It’s an undeniably apocalyptic and ironic statement, and one that is quite catchy with a chorus that is sure to get stuck in one’s head quite easily as it did for this writer. Another theme that is explored quite effectively on tracks like “Window Onto the Sun,” its lofty melodies and solos reminiscent of later era Pink Floyd, and on the instrumental “The Andromeda Strain” is the ambiguous nature of science and technology and the consequences of mankind’s misunderstanding and mishandling of it. Anger, frustration, and despair are exhibited in equal measure throughout the album, as the scalding riffs, powerful rhythms, and acerbic lyrics of “The Dumbing of the Stupid” and “We Can’t Carry On” certainly hit hard both sonically and in terms of subject matter, while the instrumental “Lament” showcases Beggs’ proficiency with intertwining harmonies on the Chapman Stick.
Tardigrades Will Inherit the Earth is undoubtedly a darker, heavier album than its predecessor, presenting the same themes but with a forceful ire that surpasses Do Nothing Till You Hear from Me. Despite the undertones of pop friendly melodies and recognizable rock & roll power, the topics The Mute Gods touch on are as confrontational as the heaviest metal or industrial act, forcing the listener to look at one’s own place in a world rapidly bringing about its own demise. It’s also an even tighter outing with the core trio of Beggs, King, and Minnemann creating the album without any guest performers, aside from some backup vocals provided by Lula Beggs and Lauren King. Of course, “Stranger Than Fiction” ends things with just the slightest glimmer of hope, the twinkling pianos and beautiful vocal harmonies delivering heartening tale of love providing the faintest bit of understanding… but make no mistake, this is still a dark record with warnings to be heeded by way of some rather excellent music.