Tardigrades Will Inherit The Earth

Nick Beggs (Steven Wilson, Steve Hackett), Roger King (Steve Hackett) and Marco Minnemann (Joe Satriani, Aristocrats) deliver adventurous rock effort infused with timely perspectives on the state of religion, politics, media, and the environment.

Any rational observer of the current trajectory of the world is bound to ask similar, critical questions. Is humanity about to slam into a brick wall? Do we understand the fragility of our existence? Are we driven to distraction by media and politics at the expense of solving problems of enormous magnitude? Does democracy truly exist anymore? What’s the one thing we can focus on that can shift our direction?

The Mute Gods examine these and other major queries facing our planet on its second album for InsideOut Music. It’s a darker, deeply thought-provoking follow-up to its acclaimed 2016 debut recording Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me. It picks up from where the first album left off, with its examination of societal control mechanisms, and looks at the inevitable outcomes should we continue down dark, dogmatic pathways. Musically, the album is an expansive rock effort with a heavier, more metal-oriented focus than its predecessor, yet steeped in melodicism and addictive hooks.

“I know I’m not the only person who feels the way I do,” says Beggs. “Other people understand the state of the world and what’s at stake as we make one terrifyingly bad decision after an other. This album asks people to take off their rose-tinted spectacles and consider the reality facing us. At this point in my career, I feel strongly that it’s important to use music as a vehicle for truth, not just feel-good entertainment.”
The Mute Gods was founded in 2015 by Beggs, a celebrated bassist, Stick player, songwriter and vocalist who has sold more than three million records with his own groups. His contributions also grace the work of myriad artists and genres, including progressive rock, pop, Celtic, funk, and soul.

Beggs records and tours with Steven Wilson, one of the best-selling alternative rock artists of this generation, as well as Steve Hackett, formerly of Genesis. In addition, Beggs has worked with legends across the pop and rock worlds, including Belinda Carlisle, John Paul Jones, Gary Numan, Kim Wilde, Englebert Humperdink and Seal. In the progressive rock realm, he’s also performed with Steve Howe, Iona, Lifesigns, and Rick Wakeman.

Unlike the debut Mute Gods album, which included many special guests, Beggs chose to keep this release to the core trio ensuring a laser focus and consistency throughout. Roger King, the album’s keyboardist and producer, also works with Beggs on Hackett’s sold-out world tours. King has long been Hackett’s right-hand man, serving in production, arrangement and writing capacities for the guitarist. Marco Minnemann, considered one of the most important, explosive drummers of our time, has worked with Beggs extensively on many Wilson tours and recordings.

Nick Beggs on ...tardigrades will inherit the earth, track by track:

Saltatio Mortis
“The album starts with a Roger King-penned 21st Century funeral march for humanity. It sets the tone for the record.”

Animal Army
“It’s a rallying cry for the biosphere itself, which will inevitably rise up and take back everything humanity has tried to take away from it. It’s about the world progressing towards a state of entropy.”

We Can’t Carry On
“Time’s up. We can’t continue down the path humanity is traversing. Either we start creating meaningful change and reassessing our ways or it’s all going to be over before we know it.”

The Dumbing of the Stupid
“This reflects on how the media seduces and sedates an already atrophied populace into complacency and malleability. We’re a species focused on bright, shiny distractions and this escapism is contributing to our undoing.”

Early Warning
“This track offers three vignettes. The first is of a woman discovering a cancerous lump in her side. The second is a sister discovering her brother is self-mutilating. The third is about a war-torn town that awakens to the fact it’s about to be bombed out of existence. They’re three scenarios involving early warnings of worse to come.”

Tardigrades Will Inherit the Earth
“It refers to a water-dwelling, eight-legged micro-animal capable of living in extreme conditions. They’ve been found living on the outside of the international space station and inside nuclear reactors. If humanity continues down the path of extinction, they may well be the next dominant species.”

Window onto the Sun
“Science and technology are exponentially expanding their footprint on society beyond our ability to control or understand their implications. Will technology liberate or destroy us? This song explores the question.”

Lament
“This is a Chapman Stick instrumental accompanied by orchestra designed to signify the grief and sorrow of those who understand the difficulty of the state we’re in.”

The Singing Fish of Batticaloa
“A true story of a place in Sri Lanka that has experienced the phenomenon of singing fish. It includes BBC recordings of the organisms. I wrote the song from the perspective that perhaps the fish are trying to tell us about our future and warn us of our impending demise.”

Hallelujah (Deluxe Edition only)
“It’s too late for religion. The song looks at how people continue in blind faith, even as we are hitting failure states across the planet.”

The Andromeda Strain
“This instrumental was inspired by Michael Crichton’s science fiction novel of the same name. It’s about how NASA discovers highly-toxic bacteria in space, yet brings it back to Earth, without understanding the consequences of doing so.”

Stranger than Fiction
“This song offers a ray of hope. I wrote it for my wife. If we can find love, it can provide meaning and understanding in all of this madness. It can change the lens through which we see everything, hopefully for the better. It’s really the only hope we have left.”

...tardigrades will inherit the earth is available as a standard-edition CD, deluxe edition with bonus tracks and vinyl.

Track Listing
1 SaltatioMortis
2 AnimalArmy
3 WeCan'tCarryOn
4 TheDumbingOfTheStupid
5 EarlyWarning
6 TardigradesWillInheritTheEarth
7 WindowOntoTheSun
8 Lament
9 TheSinging Fish Of Batticaloa
10 The Andromeda Strain
11 StrangerThanFiction
 

 

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While all of Neal’s solo albums have been recorded with Mike Portnoy and bassist Randy George, ‘The Grand Experiment’ was the first album released by the Neal Morse Band, with guitarist Eric Gillette and keyboardist Bill Hubauer on board as full-time members, not only as performers, but as songwriters.  The result of this new 5-piece added a boost to the songwriting and overall sound that Morse had become known for.  Gillette and Hubauer are, on top of being stellar musicians (each plays practically every instrument), both phenomenal singers and Morse was smart to have them showcase those talents on the last album.  With this new album, they all take everything up a notch and then some. This is now a band in the truest sense of the word.The flaw in most double or concept albums is that they usually can be and probably should be condensed into one great album’s worth of music.  There are always one minute interludes that can be skipped over, too long and unnecessary intros, and songs that are not as good as some others.  Neal and the band avoid those pitfalls here, which is part of why this album is enjoyable. It is just a straight 100 minutes of music with no filler, no waste of time, nothing that makes you want to skip.  While there are all the signature Neal Morse moments, there are loads of new elements and styles that make this album sound fresh and revitalized.  Additionally, the production, courtesy of the always reliable Rich Mouser, and the performances by each member are impeccable.  Now let’s get to the music.(Skip to the last paragraph to avoid any spoilers)The album opens calmly with strings and Neal singing the album’s main melody “Long Day” setting the stage like any proper rock opera, before the bombastic “Overture” kicks things into high-gear.  There is so much contained in the opening instrumental, it is hard to absorb it all in one listen.  Only after you listen to the entire album, does the “Overture” become clearer.  From there we meet the character Christian, as he describes “The Dream”.  This is all a build-up to the one of the main full songs and the single from the album “City of Destruction”, a hard-hitting tour de-force, that is unlike anything Neal and the band have written before.  There are a few motifs that are repeated throughout the album, this song being one of them.  Neal’s ability to revisit and reinvent themes is his ace in the hole.  Few of his contemporaries possess this songwriting skill at this exemplary level, which is why many fail at the epic song or concept album.  Done with such precision, as it is here, demands attention from the listener and creates a more immersive listening experience.What comes next, beginning with “We Have Got to Go” is the equivalent to side 2 of The Beatles’ Abbey Road, with partial songs segueing into each other, keyboard and guitar solos interjected seemingly at will.  “Makes No Sense” introduces another one of the album’s themes and is also where Eric and Bill add a soaring element to the song as they reach new heights with their voices. Mike takes his turn at vocals with the rocker “Draw the Line” which leads in to the instrumental “The Slough” before concluding this section of the album with “Back to the City.”One of the surprises on the album and true highlights is the Beatle-esque “The Ways of a Fool”, where Bill Hubauer takes lead vocals.  The song is sheer pop brilliance and adds a new element to this core’s musical repertoire.  Eric Gillette reprises much of Disc 1 in “So Far Gone” before Neal closes out the first disc with the gospel “Breath of Angels”, a pure, emotionally charged Morse number.  Bill proves again, on this album, his ability to do practically anything and Eric continues his ascension up the guitar royalty ladder with stupendous soloing and tremendous vocal ability.Disc 2 starts with the rockin “Slave To Your Mind”, an explosive track with the band cutting loose, shifting through numerous time changes and solo breaks.  Mike again shows the power and creativity to play any style and keep things interesting and exciting.  Throughout much of Disc 2 there are more surprises stylistically, like the folky “Shortcut to Salvation” the bluesy “The Man in the Iron Cage”, the country-twang of “Freedom Song” and The Who-inspired “I’m Running”, which features a monster bass solo by Randy George.  All of these together, make as inventive a listen as one can remember with a Neal Morse album. Make no mistake, in between, there is still plenty of Moog and synth solos and Prog extravaganza to thrill the senses, but as you stick with this album, you begin to appreciate the incredible diversity contained in these 2 discs.The finale begins with “The Mask” which features a grand piano solo before changing into a dark, almost industrial reworking of “City of Destruction”. This precedes the track “Confrontation”, which is a climactic reprise of many other album themes and one of the best moments on the album.  The final instrumental “The Battle” is full-on Prog madness, with some of the group’s best soloing moments.  All this leads up to the epic final track, the quintessential Neal Morse ballad, “Broken Sky/Long Day (Reprise).  Not much to say here that will do justice to the ending, but kudos to Neal for allowing Eric to shine during the closeout moments on this track.  If you don’t get chills, you might need to check your pulse.  It all ends with Neal bringing it all home on a quiet note, just as the album began.All in all, this is quite an achievement by a group of musicians that didn’t need to improve upon already magnificent careers filled with incredible albums.  While its position atop any all-time lists will be up for debate, ‘The Similitude of a Dream’ does the impossible and exceeds all expectations.  It is absolutely a jaw-dropping release that will no doubt rank alongside the best albums by Neal Morse and Mike Portnoy, if not above them." - The Prog Report
    $18.00
  • "Despite what the name might lead you to think, progressive metal is among the most static and boring of all heavy music genres. Half the bands that fall under the moniker exist merely as a vehicle to show off the skills of the players involved, which is fine in small doses, but rarely sustains a creative career. The other half of the bands stick rigidly to the blueprint of one of the fore-bearers of the genre, giving us music that sounds exactly like something we've already heard. Very little of progressive metal is actually interesting, because it is a genre that lacks people dedicated to the art of songwriting. Songs are what makes any band successful, no matter how much sheer musical skill they possess. Dream Theater didn't get to where they are just because they are amazing musicians, they also wrote a slew of great songs and albums. The number of progressive metal bands who have impressed me with their songwriting in recent years is miniscule, but I mention all of this because Ascendia is one of them.As “At The End Of It All” swells into focus with a tribal drum beat and chanted vocals, it's already obvious that this is not going to be prog-by-numbers. The song kicks into gear with a syncopated guitar riff, before the vocals soar over the top of everything, slapping a thick coat of melody atop the sound. There's a quiet section in the middle of the song that feels like a cousin of Killswitch Engage, which is a fresh sound to hear in this kind of music. When it opens back up into the chorus, the song is massive, and it's hard to believe all of that music was contained in five and a half minutes.The songs on the album are more bite-sized than typical progressive metal, but that plays into the band's strengths as songwriters. By keeping the songs lean and tight, they hit harder than if the instrumental sections had been extended by a minute here and there. There is interesting playing going on, but it's all done within the framework of the songs, and never put out front to dominate the spotlight. It's an approach that is smart not just because of how easy it is to get bogged down in instrumental pyrotechnics, but because an album of that sort would never be able to survive the Herculean vocal presence of singer Nick Sakal.With more than a little bit of similarity to the former singer of the aforementioned Killswitch Engage, Howard Jones, Sakal's vocals dominate the album, making you wonder where a voice like that could have come from. His baritone is warm, rich, and not at all what you would expect to hear in a band that isn't playing down-tuned hardcore.But what is most important are the songs, and that's where Ascendia proves themselves as standouts. Whether tackling more modern fare like “Remember Me”, or more traditionally melodic songs like “Moonchild”, there's a phenomenal blend of heavy riffing and soaring melody. I can't tell you how rare it is to hear a progressive metal band that is so in tune with melody, and can write songs that could stand up if they were stripped down to the chord structure and the vocals. We get an example of that with the duet ballad, “The Song That You Deserved”, a largely piano and voice song that is as beautiful as it is heart-breaking. Ascendia's ear for songs is excellent, and that is what makes “The Lion And The Jester” such an engaging listen. Song after song, there's a warm and inviting chorus waiting to wrap its arms around you after you've heard the heavy and intricate moments.This year has been off to a ridiculously great start, with at least half a dozen legitimately great records having already come my way. Add “The Lion And The Jester” to that list, because Ascendia is making progressive metal the way it was always supposed to be. Both challenging and gratifying, intense and cathartic, “The Lion And The Jester” is a phenomenal piece of work that reminds me of the very best progressive metal I've ever heard. This is an album you need to hear.Oh, and how awesome is that cover art? That is one album that will look as good as it sounds in a collection." - Bloody Good Horror
    $10.00