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Discipline - To Shatter All Accord CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.19 | 633 ratings

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5 stars Dark psychedelic prog rock from the US: I love it!

'To Shatter All Accord' represents my first encounter with US-based band Discipline. , and I have to say that it left me greatly impressed and I will most definitely check out their back-catalogue too. Nevertheless, I feel that a word of caution is needed here: I can easily see that a band like Discipline. is inevitably an acquired taste, and is bound to attract as many lovers as haters around the prog camp. Their sound is harsh, almost primitive, and they vastly rely on repetitive song structures to deliver the message of paranoia, isolation and alienation that permeates Parmeneter's lyrics. Obviously, this may not be up to everyone's taste. However, if you are attracted by the dark side of prog (as I am), then Discipline. is a band you should definitely check out. The most obvious influences here are VdGG and King Crimson, but Discipline. do have a life of their own as the songs on 'To Shatter All Accord' demonstrate. The playing is great throughout the album, very passionate and intense. Jon Preston Bouda is a fantastic guitar player (it's amazing how fresh and non-banal his playing is), the rhythmic section is as precise as it is warm and groovy, and Matt Parmenter is one hell of a singer and frontman.

The album opens with "Circuitry" (7/10), which the band seems to have chosen to promote the album and that you can listen for free on the band's bandcamp site. Ironically, this is the track that I like the least on this album. It is nevertheless an apt opener, with some nice piano and sax from Parmenter, and overall it sets nicely the mood for the album.

"When the Walls are Down" (9/10) is a true masterpiece. Its simplicity is almost disarming: it virtually builds on one crunchy guitar/piano riff introduced immediately after a gorgeously dreamy intro. But the tension it builds throughout its 7+ minutes is incredible, exploding in a fantastic coda where Parmenter's sax and Bouda's guitar deliver some great frenzied solos. Parmenter's vocal delivery is top quality, and the whole band provides a passionate and moving performance here. I can only imagine how splendid this must sound live.

"Dead City" (8/10) is another great song which provides a very different feel from the sonical madness of When the Walls are Down. Based on a funky rhythm, it offers some inventive guitar playing from Bouda and some charming and hypnotic melodies.

The album continues with "When She Dreams ..." (10/10). This is a fantastic song. It opens quietly with piano and voice painting some dreamy (very VdGG) melodies. It builds gradually and then bursts into an psychedelic drawn-out coda which contains some great mellotron strings and a long, creepy violin solo before ending abruptly.

The 24 minutes closer "Rouge" (8/10) is (not unexpectedly) the most challenging song here: I confess that I had to listen to it attentively a few times before I could fully appreciate it. Harsh, almost totally devoid of accessible melodies, the music suitably delivers the psychodrama depicted in Parmenter's lyrics. The song is divided into 10 scenes, which flow nicely into one another. The centrepiece (and climax) of the song is the trio of instrumental scenes VI (Trance), VII (Nightmare) and VIII (Solus/Recapitulation), with some fantastic soloing from guitarist Jon Preston Bouda, some great organ and mellotron and some hallucinate, nerve-wrecking vocalizations from Parmenter.

Overall, this is a fantastic release, albeit, as I said, one that may not be up to everyone's taste. For me, this is a serious contender for Album of the Year.

lukretio | 5/5 |


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