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Discipline - To Shatter All Accord CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.19 | 633 ratings

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Symphonic Team
5 stars Discipline return with a towering masterpiece that is a quintessential listening experience.

The first thought for me while listening to this album is where the heck have these guys been hiding? This album contains a musical feast for the ears with some astonishing musicianship and even harks back to the classic sounds of Van der Graaf Generator, King Crimson and Yes. The album consists of 5 songs all with varying atmospheres and structures; from short to epic length. Matthew Parmenter is a very accomplished vocalist capturing an emotional resonance on each song. His keyboard work is exemplary especially the splashes of Hammond and swathes of mellotron. Jon Preston Bouda is excellent on guitars whether it be acoustic, rhythm or scorching lead breaks. Mathew Kennedy maintains a consistent pulsating bassline and the sporadic drumming of Paul Dzendzel is triumphant. Other instruments on the album are descants, saxophone sounds and violins.

The first track is 'Circuitry' that begins with a symbiosis of loud guitar riffs and wild sax sounds. I was immediately impressed with the transfixing power of the sound and Parmenter's vocals are as theatrical as Gabriel or Hammill. This was an excellent start and I was looking forward to hearing more.

On 'When the Walls are Down' the organ is a tremendous augmentation to the wall of sound. The dreamy sax using keys is a lonely sound until a crunching metal riff breaks the solitude. The vocals are an alto range following the melody and then a spacey glissando guitar is heard, similar to Hackett. The next riff is awesome and reminded me of early 70s alternative rock, particularly the riff of Toyah's 'Neon Womb'. There is a manic lead break heard over a cacophonous blast of music with all instruments turned up to 11. The intensity is jarring and there is no room for instruments to breathe exuding a type of musical ferocity.

'Dead City' begins with lead guitar swells and a polyphonic King Crimson 11/8 asymmetrical signature. The vocals are like vintage 70s psychedelic bands, and there is an infectious melody on the line "the city of the dead." Spacey textures abound and a Pink Floyd Gilmour like guitar solo follows. A radio controlled voice is heard as the sound grows powerfully. The dystopian city is given a voice as the music spins wildly out of control, chaotically bent out of rhythm until it is mercifully brought to a halt, capping off a sensational track.

'When She Dreams She Dreams In Colour" begins quietly with a minimalist piano and Parmenter is channelling Peter Hammil in his most contemplative reflective mood. The melody follows an odd time sig. this melody is highly memorable and will conclude with a repetitive chord structure that was the main thing I remembered after a break from hearing the album on first listen. As soon as that series of chords is heard on piano and later guitar it will jolt the memory. The serene peaceful atmosphere drifts on a wave of piano drawing the listener in deeper. The Hammill-esque vocals continue and then a sax sound adds a new colour to the tapestry. Interwoven in the music is the jazzy hi-hat cymbal tapping of Dzendzel. The piano plays in isolation for a while, joined by a clean melancholy guitar. The cymbal splash signifies the floodgates of sound are about to break open. The sound suddenly intensifies and a very dense and moody atmosphere ensues. It feels dark and ethereal as the violin begins to slice out the sounds of anguish and pain, like it is being tortured with knives. The violin is genuinely spine-chilling with its serrated cries of agony. Ominous guitar tones continue in a seductive hypnotic structure and cymbals splash accenting the next chord progression. A mellotron fills the soundscape that is evoking a sense of loss or regret. The haunting measured cadence is made all the more alarming when it suddenly cuts off after a cymbal splash. This was undoubtedly a mesmirising piece of music; a 7 minute coda that has genuine emotive power.

The last track is a colossal 24 minute multi movement suite in 10 sections, 'Rogue'. It begins with a lulling gentle acoustic picking guitar. Parmenter's vocals are multi tracked and sound jarring after hearing the extended music previously. The lyrical content is dark and brooding; "lest they smother you and break you in two." The inflections of darkness and light are apparent with a series of irregular time changes ranging from 7/8 to 4/4 and then to 3/4 and beyond. There is a vocoder effect on some vocals providing a psychedelic effect. The Hammond organ begins a staccato embellishment and then the signature spirals wildly out of control. The tension and release of the music is astonishing. A piano returns with a guitar and crystalline high octave vocals. A new shift in meter begins as a spacey string pad mellotron chimes in. As you drift along on this wave of ambience suddenly the time sig transforms again throws you off, as Bouda's guitar rocks hard. It feels more like Dream Theater or Riverside at this stage. Just as you lock into this groove, the time sig changes again and there are loud screaming wails generating a disconcerting apprehensive emotion. The music draws you in deeper down an abyss of sonic resonances and then you hit the bottom as the guitars are amped up with a Hammond organ grinding out a 70s vibe. Bouda's lead break is exceptional with uplifting soaring string bends and sweeps. A fractured two note crash down signifies a new change and Parmenter's vocals return "every memory scar and fantasy leads me back should I stray, and on and on." The concept of the song follows the adventures of a shipbound crew on the ocean encountering horrific sights and siren like creatures, or is it simply a metaphor for losing your way and searching for peace? You can make your own mind up. A church organ and angular lead guitar fire up and draw this epic to a satisfying musical conclusion.

At the end of Discipline's latest release I was left quite overcome by the intensity of the music. The band generate very organic music; at times technical and daring, but always inventive and unified. The massive epic may become one of the all time great epics along the lines of classic 70s prog or the more recent work of prog metal artists. The prolific fusion of symphonic tones and heavy guitars is an amalgamation that works and the band are able to move from mesmirising beauty to a cacophonic ferocity with alarming technical precision. This is one of the best albums of 2011 and is certainly making an indelible impression in the prog community, and will continue to do so as the band become discovered for the awesome music they generate. 'To Shatter All Accord' is an enthralling album with 5 tracks of immeasurable quality.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 5/5 |


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