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Discipline - Unfolded Like Staircase CD (album) cover

UNFOLDED LIKE STAIRCASE

Discipline

 

Symphonic Prog

4.26 | 292 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Prog Specialist
5 stars Despite I'm a huge fan of DISCIPLINE, I've been avoiding the chance to review "Unfolded like Staircase", not because it's quality, which in my opinion is simply outstanding, but because it's complexity and how difficult it gets to express in words what you listen in the album, a prove of this is that most reviews on this page are extremely short, despite the high ratings, something that demonstrates, that the problem is common.

Just to start, I believe it's impossible to talk about influences with coherence, because the album is a paradox, the listener is bombarded by sounds of the 70's and 80's but you can't precise which is which, being that their approach is as unique as Matthew Parmenter's personality.

Every person who has read some of my reviews, will know I'm not precisely a fan of KING CRIMSON or VDGG, and at the first listen you notice the spirit of both bands is present in this album, but taken in such a different way that you can't point one coincidence at all and I love it from start to end, in the same way I'm a fan of GENESIS, but except in the melancholic and dark use of the Mellotron, you can't precise what comes fom the Charterhouse School band, "Unfolded like Staircase" is a puzzle that I enjoy trying to decipher.

The album starts with "Canto IV (Limbo)", the breathtaking moment in which I can point a clear KING CRIMSON (Lark's Tongues in Aspic) influence, but after a short wind passage, changes into something much less complex and more melodic that flows gently.

The obscure, almost depressive voice of Mathew Parmenter is just perfect to create the heavy mist effect that floats over the head of the listener, like the song points in the title with the word Limbo, a place between nowhere or more properly "an intermediate, transitional, or midway state or place" where rules of physics seem not to apply.

But this not all, the radical changes, the almost terrifying violin sections, the aggressive guitar, everything makes of "Canto IV" thirteen minutes of the purest expression of art Progressive Rock can present us. I won't even attempt to describe the multiple parts listed in this track, this just would kill the beauty, follow my advice, some things must not be enjoyed without an exhaustive description.

"Crutches" marks a radical change, after a softer and acoustic introduction where Matthew demonstrates the ductility of his voice with just a guitar, almost in the vein of a hard neo Prog band, the music starts to go "in Crescendo", but seems to never explode in an absolute climax, until the guitar by Jon Preston Bouda, perfectly supported by the rhythm section formed by Matthew Kennedy and Paul Dzendzel, prove us they can rock, even if in this case just for a short period to allow the heavy mist of mystery descend over us again, simply contradictory and perfectly developed, dramatic to an extreme, and at the end, this is what Prog is about, to expect the unexpected.

I don't know if "Into the Dream" is the central piece (because everything is central here), but is the longest epic of the album, 22:03 minutes of pure Progressive Rock, again almost chaotic and depressive is almost impossible to describe, changes from complex and dissonant to melodic and coherent in a matter of seconds, and not only one time, all along the track, in some moments while the keyboards add that strong and heavy melody, the rest of the instruments hit us with all the strength they are capable of, while the vocals keep the perfect balance between one world and the other.

"The album ends with "Before the Storm", another long fifteen minutes Suite that begins with a beautiful piano and vocals melody, after a couple minutes seems that they are holding themselves to avoid the burst of power strength that apparently we can expect, until they seem to loose a bit (just a bit) the power is controlled, as if they were giving us the first pieces of a work that the band is building step by step.

But then a Baroque organ break announces the first change in the vein of ÄNGLAGÅRD meets KING CRIMSON and GENESIS but with a moody violin in the background, but still everything is progressive, they don't run, the band take their time to do what they pretend.

But again, by surprise the beast is let free, guitar, keys, bass and drums are allowed to slap us in the face with pure power for another short period of time before they fall into that place between to universes they have taken us before.

This guys are masters of timing, they know precisely what to do and what is even harder, when to do it, because the song flows until the end with this illogical logic that only an expert band is capable of creating.

Four tracks, four hits, no fillers, no boring moments neither further questions or empty words, 5 stars is my rating, because if this is not an essential masterpiece of Progressive Rock, I don't know what the expression means.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 5/5 |

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