As global populism continues to lead humanity down sinister, self-serving alleyways and truth is an irrelevance, does anyone have the capability of saving this planet? Have humans forgotten their responsibilities to each other, especially to those millions of people left homeless and displaced by conflict, while arms sales to warmongering nations carry on abated?
These are some of the powerful themes that The Mute Gods put under the spotlight on Atheists and Believers. This is the third album in a trilogy of pulsating, turbulent rock compositions, that delves even deeper into the machinations that are driving mankind further towards an abyss of its own making.
The metal-edged, menacing wake-up calls to humanity are tempered by three gentler, more sentimental compositions in which Beggs reflects on love and loss, mortality and marriage.
“The album’s key message is that we now empower stupid people and don’t listen to educated, informed experts anymore because truth is no longer fashionable. We must change this course as a species or we will all die."
“Since the release two years ago of Tardigrades Will Inherit the Earth, the last Mute Gods album, we have seen the way in which political agendas are riding the wave of global populism.
It would appear history teaches us nothing when vested interests are at stake. We are manifesting congenital myopia in denial of the responsibilities we have to each other and, more importantly, to the planet.”
For Atheists and Believers, Beggs has enlisted some very special guests, including Alex Lifeson, Rush’s legendary guitarist; Craig Blundell, renowned drummer currently playing with Steven Wilson’s band; multi-instrumentalist Rob Townsend with whom Beggs worked in Steve Hackett’s band and his vocalist daughter, Lula Beggs.
THE NEW ALBUM, TRACK BY TRACK
ATHEISTS AND BELIEVERS
“This is the hypothesis that NASA and SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) have embarked on the search for extra-terrestrial life as a PR exercise when they and governments know it already exists…………”
“An anti-religious anthem that states that we are here only by chance deemed by physics rather than by a mythical overlord, and on which Alex Lifeson plays assorted stringed instruments.”
“A song for humanity because we are all knuckleheads. I am not a fan of the human race: I believe we are too pernicious to be allowed to venture out beyond our solar system. Look at what we are doing to each other and the planet. It will be our children who will be left to mop up the mess and ultimately, will pay the most terrible price.”
ENVY THE DEAD
“There are many people who would rather die than face the world. This song is written from that perspective, but it has an almost comical undercurrent despite its bleak message. Gallows humour can sometimes lighten the darkness.”
“Having worked for some years now with Craig Blundell in Steven Wilson’s band, I wanted to utilise his approach to the kit. So, I wrote this piece based around his original drumming style.”
“It’s the perspective of owning the bullet with your name on. I felt that by writing about old men, I could metaphorically own my own mortality. Ironically, I have just turned 57 and in the generations of my parents and grand-parents, that seemed old. This is not the case today: 57 seems like a new beginning. I don’t intend to grow old as that is just a mindset.”
THE HOUSE WHERE LOVE ONCE LIVED
"After both having experienced failed marriages, my new wife and I have come to acknowledge how happy we are in our domestic lives and how both of us have lived in our current home for longer than any other place. When you reach that point, I suppose you look back and forward at the same time. I think about who will live in our house when we leave and how they will have no idea about the millions of micro events that took place there that formed our lives."
“It is aimed at the root of populism, focusing on the shift of perceived reality in the face of political lies. The intro synth is supposed to emulate the opening fanfare at the Berlin Olympics, a herald marking the arrival of a new social structure where Nazis are tolerated and compete for gold in a world out of step with what’s acceptable.”
TWISTED WORLD, GODLESS UNIVERSE
“This represents the battle between light and dark in a man’s soul - if such a thing does exist. As in my own battles with faith and disbelief, I felt the need to show those opposing sides. I was corresponding with a friend of mine, who is a nun in Finland, who was originally going to sing the lighter more feminine parts doubled by my daughter. But in the end, I stuck with my own vocal performance as it seemed to represent the dialogue’s schizophrenic nature.”
I THINK OF YOU
“I wrote this for my mother Joan, who died when she was only 38 and I was 17. Although I composed this piece, only my windchimes remain from the original recording. I suppose it is a meditation at the end of a deeply turbulent passage of preceding music.”