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Discipline - Unfolded Like Staircase CD (album) cover

UNFOLDED LIKE STAIRCASE

Discipline

 

Symphonic Prog

4.25 | 367 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Progfan97402
2 stars One of the more overrated prog albums of the 1990s. Apparently Matthew Parmenter had just discovered Van der Graaf Generator prior to the recording of Unfolded Like Staircase, explaining why Push & Profit was quite a bit different. So it's little surprise the VdGG influence can be felt, but I also detect a Spock's Beard influence as well, because Parmenter's voice alternates between that of Peter Hammill and that of Neal Morse. "Canto IV" and "Crutches" aren't bad, but the problem in this CD is it's way too long and it sounds like they ran out of ideas after the first two cuts. It's CDs like this that gives me a reminder why in recent years, thanks to the vinyl revival (starting about 2007 or '08) many artists were starting to scale back to 40-45 minutes and the albums, to my ears, have improved, because you're not having to sit through lots of filler. It's easier for artists to pick the cream of the crop if having to stick to 40-45 minutes of music. Unfolded Like Staircase is much like Echolyn's As the World to my ears, just drawn out way too long. Of course I can't say that lengthy releases of the 1990s were all bad, Porcupine Tree managed some great music during their early space rock phase (pre-Stupid Dream) and their CDs were normally around an hour long or more, even during their more popular phase (In Absentia and beyond). And then you have Änglagård (who were wise to keep the music around 45 minutes), which set the standard so high it would be difficult for any other artist from that era to touch them. Still Unfolded Like Staircase doesn't fall into the neo-prog trap, but it's not entirely retro either, the vocals and style does sound '90s, even if some low key Mellotron is used. I realize in the 1990s they feel they'd sell more copies if the CD consists of two ten minutes cuts and a 20 minute piece, which I think is a dangerous trap to keep the quality consistent throughout. Spock's Beard's The Light, for example does have a couple ten minute pieces and one piece over 20 minutes, but surprisingly the CD is excellent (and I'm not even the biggest Spock's Beard fan, because my gripe about them is their frequent commercial/mainstream approach). I do take a lot of prog since the 1990s with a grain of salt, as many of them fall short of the great stuff (well known and obscure) from the 1970s. Discipline, to my ears, falls short. I know some of you will enjoy it, so I know Unfolded Like Staircase has its fans, but it simply left me cold, no matter how many times I've listened to it.
Progfan97402 | 2/5 |

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