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Disconnect - Radio Hostile CD (album) cover

RADIO HOSTILE

Disconnect

Crossover Prog


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4 stars A friend of mine introduced me to this indie prog band recently. I am likely in the minority, but I have a lot of great music by checking out independent prog bands like Disconnect. Often the approach of these bands is very refreshing.

"Radio Hostile" is Disconnect's first album. It's a concept album that tells a story through the persona of a musician/artist struggling to achieve mainstream success and eventually finding success in a surprising way. Here's my breakdown, track by track:

"You'll Hear My Name Again Someday" - the song introduces the album's main persona, an un-named musician who is inspired by the sounds he hears coming from his radio. Musically the tune is mostly straightforward rock, building up to a very mid-70s prog-ish finale which gives the listener a sign of things to come.

"One Song" - This track is possibly the most 'accessible' song on the album in terms of its potential appeal to non-prog fans. The vibe throughout is definitely Kevin Gilbert with some Neal Morse thrown in for good measure. The song ends with a turnaround that is reminiscent of Porcupine Tree.

"Have You Heard The Band?" - this is probably my least favorite track on the record. It's definitely a rock song. It has a raw feel to it, reminds me of Foo Fighters in parts. Not bad, just not my cup of tea.

"The Most Sincere Form Of Flattery" - The lyrics reveal that the persona's band has evolved into a group that emulates the sounds that are current & popular, yet also make it clear the artist is not pleased with having to play this sort of music. Another relatively straightforward rock track with some tasty lead guitar work.

"Radio Hostile I" - this the album's first instrumental. Very techno with a strong beat. Some Fripp-esque tremolo picking going on in parts. The electronic drums are a great addition and help elevate the song. One of my favorite tracks on the album.

"Second Soul" - At first this song lulls you into thinking it's a blues-rock song with its pacing....but that changes at the point of the guitar solo where the odd time signatures and backwards guitar grabs your attention. You can hear the King Crimson influence here for sure. Another one of my favorite tracks on the album, and definitely one of the more progressive tracks on the album. The drums are tremendous here.

"Torpid Frost" - This is a curious instrumental, the first half of it is only keyboards (a very creepy, horror movie kind of tone). Then the band breaks into a VERY King Crimson-esque groove. The drums are really outstanding on this track as well.

"Pull The Plug" - The band's Kevin Gilbert influence makes another appearance here. More or less a straightforward rock song, but not bad.

"The Sycophantic March" - Another instrumental, very heavy and dark. This track is a bit jarring by comparison to the previous & subsequent tracks as it features the heaviest riffs on the album.

"Not Commercially Viable" - The story moves a bit further along. The artist has tired of playing 'popular' music and tired of hearing how the music he wants to write is not suitable for mainstream audiences. Lots of odd meters here and strange turnarounds. Some really fantastic drum & guitar work here. One of my favorites.

"Radio Hostile II" - Although short in length, it may be my favorite track. Another techno-style instrumental, but more heavy & bombastic than "Radio Hostile I".

"A Fond Farewell" - A very cynical & bitter song lyrically as the album's persona leaves behind the path he had previously chosen with his approach to music & songwriting. A rather unique track among the others on the album. Very upbeat with some unique chord combinations. The lyrics & music have a very Steely Dan vibe happening (a good thing). I also have to say the first guitar solo on this song is extremely good, probably the best on the entire album.

"Tone Poem" - The album's final instrumental is a bit atmospheric, consisting of only guitar and keyboards. A nice lead-in to the next song which is...

"Temple Of Rain" - An interesting song which features odd time signatures from start to finish....drumming is, once again, very impressive.

"When The World Was Lined With Gold" - The album's persona has reconciled his music with his spirit and realized that the only success he needed all along was his own happiness with what he has accomplished. Musically it is a nod to the album's first track ("You'll Hear My Name Again Someday"). Features a very uplifting guitar lead (sounds very Gilmour-esque).

I've listend to this album quite a few times. I give it 4 stars because I think it is an outstanding debut effort from an independent group. It takes a lot of bands two or three albums to hit their stride, but I think Disconnect has had it working right from the start.

Report this review (#357019)
Posted Saturday, December 18, 2010 | Review Permalink
AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
3 stars A diverse adventure over the mountains and valleys of the music industry.

Disconnect's Radio Hostile has some excellent tracks and some that simply did not resonate very well with me. It is a diverse album with many different styles to revel in due to the concept of a struggling band that shed their mainstream style to embrace a new style. None of the tracks are too lengthy so this is not a bad thing with such a range of styles on offer. The highlights stand out and there is some very well executed musicianship from O'Dell and Eschrich.

Temple of Rain is a definitive highlight. I like the quiet 12 string guitars of Tone Poem, and it ends on a powerful thunderstorm and rain effect which I have heard a lot on prog albums of late (Charlestown: Guy Manning, Honour Thy Drummer: Mike Portnoy Tribute Album). It may be turning in to a prog cliché but it still somehow works here. The lead break on A Fond Farewell is terrific, very melodic, though I didn't like the spiteful lyrics with swearing.

The tone of the album is quite light weight melodic prog with some darker edges. The guitars and electronic percussive instruments on Radio Hostile II is a prime example of excellent musicianship, with scorching lead guitars and ambient key pads. It is a very short blast of prog that is followed by a song Not Commercially Viable, with an odd time sig and strong guitars soloing. The clean vocals are performed quite well but once again are cynical and angry with phrases such as "I hate to say it none of that sh*t is true". I have never liked music where artists feel the need to curse their way through a song. However there is some King Crimson like time sigs on this and blazing guitars. There is also a crowd sound that enhances the mood as he asks the crowd why does he need to play this music for them, and they should not pretend they really care, a cool thing to sing in a crowded bar, so this is a scathing dig at those crowds who could not care less about the music.

The marching feet are backed by marching metal riffs on The Sycophantic March, backed by waiting screaming guitar breaks. This is a very heavy track that has become one of my fave instrumentals on the album. Pull The Plug is a straight forward rocker but good for what it is. Torpid Frost has ambient spacey effects with synth swells that create a chilling atmosphere. The song settles into a cool rhythm with sweet guitar passages. The instrumental reminds of King Crimson especially in their 80s era. Once again it is very well accomplished musicianship and makes a terrific track.

Second Soul has nice singing with harmonies and a pleasant melody, quite funky guitar driving it along. The lead break is delightfully chaotic with the improvised drumming. Another very good entry on the album. I also like the instrumental iciness of Radio Hostile I. The funky Red Hot Chili Pepper sound of The most sincere form of flattery, is interesting, and this has a terrific lead break also.

Overall the album has it's own valleys and mountains, highlights and lowlights, but enough here to keep the interest from a strong debut of crossover duo Disconnect.

Report this review (#366163)
Posted Tuesday, December 28, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Disconnect has put together a solid progressive rock concept album outlining the trials and tribulations of local artists struggling to find acceptance wading through a world dominated by cover bands rehashing radio hits. It's definitely more demanding than the typical rock album and like many works with depth may take a few listens to fully appreciate. It's worth the effort for the rare chance to experience an album as a cohesive work instead of a random collection of songs. Don't look for singles to rip to your ipod here; get on board for the entire journey with the artist.

Right from the opening track, You'll Hear My Name Again Someday, you'll find a good example of Disconnect's disregard for standard form. What begins as a medium rock song transitions suddenly into a heavy prog outro reminiscent of 80's era Rush. I'd like to hear what the band might do with this live; it seems ripe for an extended jam. The Most Sincere Form of Flattery is an interesting mix that will appeal to classic rock and funk fans, a kind of Pink Floyd meets Red Hot Chili Peppers sound. If you want a single that would play well on radio this is it; there is something familiar for most rock fans to latch on to but it's still novel enough to get your attention. Other highlights include clever synth arrangements and fine production work in the instrumental Radio Hostile I. I put this track in the category of ambient rock with a progressive edge. Definitely go for the earphones; the producers took care with the stereo image to add to the overall listening experience. The Syncophantic March, Not Commercially Viable, and Radio Hostile II provide three nice blasts of heavy prog in the middle of the album that should satisfy anyone looking for something along the lines of King Crimson. An abrupt change of mood comes along in Tone Poem, another ambient piece but of the gentler variety with Erich O'Dell's haunting guitar chords set against a soft synth background. It transitions into Temple of Rain: a fabulous update of a song Erich wrote during his days with an obscure college band from Blacksburg, VA, The Raging Frogs. This is a great track to appreciate percussionist Brian Eschrich's ability to flow with a song and create dynamics. Overall this was a great effort resulting in a very unique and enjoyable album.

Report this review (#459067)
Posted Saturday, June 11, 2011 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars DISCONNECT released two albums in 2010 including this 66 plus minute album with 15 tracks. They are a duo from the USA with a drummer and multi-instrumentalist who also sings. This is a concept album of sorts about the music industry but really focussing on the radio and the crap they choose play. It's been so long since I've listened to the radio, I would rather be in silence. Anyways the album opens with "You'll Hear My Name Again Someday" with someone changing the radio stations. The opener and closer have a Country vibe with the guitar and vocals. I actually have a top three this time. This is a band I've struggled to appreciate so to have three tunes on here that I like is a good thing.

Up first is the title track and it's only 2 1/2 minutes long but an instrumental with guitar over top. "Torpid Frost" is my favourite. Spacey synths rise and fall for 2 minutes the it kicks in with drums, guitar and bass. Love the melancholic guitar here. Finally "Tone Poem" rounds out my top three and yes all three are instrumentals. The guitar sounds beautiful on this one then it turns spacey 2 minutes in with thunder and pouring rain. Such a cool sound. We get some Funk on "The Most Sincere Form Of Flattery" and also it opens sounding like the guitar on an INXS album. There's quite a bit of variety on this album but I'm not big on a lot of this, especially the vocals that I find are hit and miss.

Report this review (#2580812)
Posted Thursday, July 22, 2021 | Review Permalink

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