Thinking Man's Thursday: THE MUTE GODS
Greetings folks and welcome to the first ever Thinking Man’s Thursday! Much like our other sub-genre specific weekly columns (Funeral Doom Friday, The Monday Grind, etc), each week myself or fellow prog-dog (no one calls us that, but they should) Greg Kennelty will traverse the worlds of progressive metal and rock to bring you newly discovered bands, forgotten classics, previews of upcoming releases, and whatever else feels right. I hope this column shares the spirit of prog as it unfolds by constantly evolving, expanding minds, and alienating those that don’t enjoy technical wankery and nerd shit. So, whether it be the intricate conceptual madness of Ayreon, the complex polyrhythmic pummeling of Meshuggah, the crippling sad story telling of Steven Wilson, or literally every sound you can imagine at once by the likes of Sigh, there are no rules. So put on your thinking caps, tighten your ponytails, and let’s get proggy. This is Thinking Man’s Thursday.
Progressive music is no stranger to incestuous side-bands, supergroups, one-off projects, and the likes. The Mute Gods are one such side-band. The group is led by bassist, chapman stick poker, and vocalist Nick Beggs who is either best known for being the “blonde bombshell” in Steven Wilson’s solo band, or perhaps the coolest part of the new wave band Kajagoogoo. Beggs serves as the center of The Mute Gods venn diagram having worked in Wilson’s band with drummer Marco Minnemann (also of Aristocrats, Necrophagist, Joe Satriani’s band, and a million other bands), and in Steve Hackett’s solo group with guitarist and keyboardist Roger King. There are also guest contributions on the from the numerous other bands these guys have played with.
Together the core three create an unsurprising, yet satisfying amalgamation of their talents. There is no shortage of rhythmic acrobatics, nor soaring ambiance and atmosphere over the pair of albums the group has released. I honestly think It is impossible for Minnemann to not shine as one of the greatest drummers alive in any setting. The Mute Gods is not a frantic, overly technical setting, but his subtle flairs are there. Beggs’s ability craft interesting song structures with vocal layering and memorable basslines, is worth a nod. The upcoming record features tracks like "The Singing Fish of Batticolloa" and "The Andromeda Strain" which both have a strong Dream Theater vibe, while "Animal Army" feels Devin Townsend Project-esque. While these songs have moments of familiarity, Beggs and company make the material their own. Roger King may be the most understated and underrated member of the group. He’s clearly a talented guy having worker with a prog OG like Steve Hackett, but this isn't exactly a guitar solo-centric so he plays more of a support role. King has is moments though and when he shines, he's pretty great.
Thanks to his already notable catalog, Minnemann is more or less a household name at this point (If you live in a prog obsessed house that is, and realistically, you probably don’t). The Mute Gods will hopefully instead propel Beggs and King beyond their status as session players, or backing band members to prog gods at the level of Tony Levin, Guthrie Goven, and others. If nothing else, the band will get Roger King a Wikipedia page and make it easier for folks like me to find more of his work.
The Mute Gods’ second album Tardigrades Will Inherit the Earth drops February 24th from Inside Out, but you can enjoy the band’s first album Do Nothing till You Heat from Me while you wait.