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Discipline - Captives Of The Wine Dark Sea CD (album) cover

CAPTIVES OF THE WINE DARK SEA

Discipline

Symphonic Prog


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1 stars Captives of the Wine Dark Sea isn't very...prog. It's mostly alternative still trying to be a little prog. All of the songs are lackluster and corny. It's obvious Discipline wasn't trying to be as progressive with this one and wanted to take a different musical approach. I don't think this was a very good idea since the songs turned out to be really boring, and considering the scarcity of albums put out by Discipline, it's not like anyone was getting sick of their old sound. The best track is the longest, Burn the Fire Upon the Rocks, while being the most progressive is still a bit laggy and boring, but the standout track nonetheless. The second half of S is pretty cool as well. Everything else is bogus and I don't see myself listening to it much at all in the future.
Report this review (#1741594)
Posted Friday, July 7, 2017 | Review Permalink
4 stars From the very first few notes, there is an immediate feeling of the ecclectic formula that made Van Der Graaf Generator great. The comparisons will exist, and perhaps that is a compliment to be compared to such an awesome and talented group. Captives of the Wine Dark Sea has some high points like the super proggy album conclusion called Burn the Fire Upon the Rocks. The pleasant surprise for me was Love Songs, which sounds more like a classic Motorpsycho track from their alternative years. Mix in some excellent instrumentation, and this is an solid ecclectic release full of many influences. The is no doubt that Matthew Parmenter is talented, and the Van Der Graaf Generator comparisons will exist based on the style of music. While To Shatter All Accord may be their best album to date, there is much to enjoy about this new release from Discipline... and a worthy addition to any Progressive Rock collection.
Report this review (#1741845)
Posted Saturday, July 8, 2017 | Review Permalink
4 stars "We're all awash in a sea of blood, and the least we can do is wave to each other" (John Minton).

Perhaps I am imagining this allusion in the red sea conjured up by Discipline's Homeric album title. But there is no doubting the musical allusions to the artist who adopted the above quote for an album title back in 1970. I thought the much-remarked Van der Graaf Generator influences on Discipline's previous albums were relatively subtle, but the ponderous rhythms and emphatic vocals of certain tracks on 'Captives of the Wine Dark Sea' come across like conscious parodies of Peter Hammill solo albums, or maybe the late VdGG album 'Trisector'. In the same idiom there are two instrumental tracks, 'S' and 'The Roaring Game', totalling 10 minutes.

The closest sound to 'To Shatter All Accord' comes on the long (14:30 mins) final track 'Burn the Fire Upon the Rocks', but this album is very different to its precursors. My experience of Prog Archives suggests that changes in direction by popular bands are seldom rewarded in ratings, so I do not expect this album to be topping the PA charts come the year end.

But if, like me, you enjoy Peter Hammill's idiosyncratic output, 'Captives of the Wine Dark Sea' is very well worth checking out. Just put 'Accord' and 'Staircase' out of your mind, or you may be disappointed.

Verdict: I'm giving this the same rating as 'Trisector'.

Report this review (#1742736)
Posted Wednesday, July 12, 2017 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 3.5 stars. Well I like this better than "Push & Profit" from their early days but overall this is a little disappointing. Lets just say it's a far cry from "Unfolded Like A Staircase" or "To Shatter All Accord". It's cool to see that Chris Herin plays lead guitar on this album. He's also from Detroit and from the band TILES. The music here though is less dark and less powerful with less mellotron, well you get the picture. It reminds me of modern day VDGG which I have to say I'm not that into other than their "Present" album. Even the vocals aren't as theatrical as this really does come across as a lighter version of their classic stuff. This was mixed by Terry Brown who has worked with TILES a lot.

"The Body Yearns" is my favourite song on here. The piano melodies are really enjoyable on this one, I actually looked forward to this one because of the piano every time I'd play it. It opens with either double tracked vocals or dual vocals with piano. I love when the tempo picks up and the sound turns fuller. The best section of this album though is from before 5 minutes to after 9 minutes where we get a glimpse of their former sound. It's dark with organ and bass and a more powerful sound. More please!

"Life Imitates Art" really reminds me of current VDGG, especially Matthews vocals. It's uptempo with a fairly urgent sounding rhythm to it. I like the organ before 2 1/2 minutes and the drumming before 4 minutes. "S" is a little different with the upfront violin as the drums pound in this 4 minute instrumental. The guitar comes and goes and it settles 2 1/2 minutes in with piano and bass mostly then the guitar comes to the fore after 3 minutes.

"Love Songs" should not be on here period. Sorry but this is commercial crap in my opinion. A light little ditty. "Here There Is No Soul" starts with drums and guitar as vocals arrive just before a minute. Not bad. "The Roaring Game" is the other track besides the opener that I really dig. This is an instrumental and the drums and piano lead much of the time like on the opener. Organ before 2 minutes and some nice guitar late as the organ pulses and drums pound.

"Burn The Fire Upon The Rocks" is the 14 1/2 minute closer and my final top three. This is a good one and as far as I can tell the only song with mellotron on it. It's energetic to start out but settles quickly with guitar. It kicks back in as contrasts continue. I like the organ floating in the background. I believe that's mellotron before 5 1/2 minutes. Vocal melodies before 8 1/2 minutes followed by more mellotron. More of the blessed mellotron before 12 1/2 minutes. Lots of guitar late over the powerful soundscape to end it.

Lots to enjoy here and I look forward to all the opinions that will come about this album. I really feel that "To Shatter All Accord" is their best studio album and "This One's For England" is their best live recording.

Report this review (#1789515)
Posted Saturday, September 30, 2017 | Review Permalink
memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Review originally published in www.therocktologist.com

How I love Discipline!

I'll be honest; Discipline must be one of my favorite active US prog bands mainly due to their already classic "Unfolded Like Staircase" and their magnificent "To Shatter All Accord" which was my favorite 2011 prog album. Then I listened to their live record "This One's For England" and oh man, I've been willing to see them on stage for several years and seems my dream will come true soon at Progtoberfest in Chicago. And well, of course I would be looking forward to listen to some previous songs but I am also eager to see the ones from this new and great albums that I am reviewing right away. This time Matthew Parmenter and company have delight us with a 7-track album that make a running time of 45 minutes full of prog rock, symphonic and eclectic with that inherent VdGG feeling that Matthew's voice provides as well as with the musical arrangements.

It kicks off with "The Body Yearns". It is impossible not to think of Peter Hammill, and even I could say the music reminds me a bit of Gentle Giant so it is a pretty nice combination of a gentle sound with a raw voice. The song develops an addictive sound and at half the song it changes and produces a dark and somber atmosphere, which is one of the characteristics of Discipline's music, I totally love those somber instrumental moments that might be repetitive but hypnotizing. "Life Imitates Art" is another cool track, much shorter than the opener but with that same VdGG feeling provided not only by vocals, but also by keyboards, strings and drums.

The eclecticism of this band is not a hidden fact, and we can confirm it with "S", an instrumental track that can remind you even of King Crimson due to those guitars and dark atmospheres. Here the band also added a nice violin that produces both a symphonic and jazzy sound. With "Love Songs" vocals return accompanied by acoustic guitar at first, and later bass and drums join in a very soft way. It is one of Discipline's catchiest tunes ever, which doesn't mean it is weak, not at all, but we might not be used to it. "Here there is no Soul" is a rockier tune than the previous one, but it is quite different from the first tracks here, no dark atmospheres here, and a nice rhythm that can be easy to dig.

"The Roaring Game" is a gem, I absolutely love it! I could describe it as a perfect amalgam between strings and drums, with an overdose of hypnotic figures that create a powerful sound. The four musicians involved understand each other perfectly, so the result is a clean and natural instrumental prog song in which no one stands out because all of them have their share and great things to offer. The last song is another gem "Burn The Fire Upon The Rocks" whose 15 minutes make a magnificent ending. This piece blends prog rock and even jazz, with a great use of keyboards, wonderful bass lines and quite different passages. The first four minutes are instrumental and then the music fades and the voice appears, creating a new soft passage that will be developing new elements for some minutes, including the beautiful addition of a mellotron. The track keeps morphing but always sharing interesting moments. I think it is not as powerful as other of their epic-gems such as Canto IV or When She Dreams?, but it is quite solid, nevertheless.

A very good album that I've been enjoying a lot recently, not my favorite Discipline one, but it is great as usual. Now I am eagerly waiting to see them at Progtober Fest. Enjoy it!

Report this review (#1790543)
Posted Wednesday, October 4, 2017 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars With the departure of founder member and long-serving lead guitar player Jon Preston Bouda, it's no surprise that Captives of the Wine Dark Sea represents something of a sonic shift for Discipline. With Chris Herin from Tiles stepping in on guitars, the sound of the album feels like an exploration of a path less taken - like the sort of material you'd get if, after the neo-prog-ish Push and Profit, the band had taken their sound in a more art rock direction instead of the symphonic prog-oriented sound of Unfolded Like Staircase or To Shatter All Accord.

That isn't to say that this is a simple or straightforward release, mind; in terms of the overall attitude, I'm reminded of the warped pop music sensibilities of Slapp Happy or late Art Bears running head-first into the dark energy of Discipline's big inspiration, Peter Hammill and VdGG. At point's there's a sort of prog cocktail jazz sound to proceedings, but whilst the album reaches a quasi-mainstream peak in the middle (Love Songs, in particular, comes across like a parody on the subject), it concludes with a two-set of songs which will doubtless please prog fans with their extended instrumental breaks, even if they aren't quite in the mode we are used to Discipline working in.

I get the feeling that this is a bit of a transitional release - at points it sounds more like one of Matthew Parmenter's solo releases, particularly given the extensive multi-instrumentalist duties he takes on here and the generally more conventional song structures he tends to go for on those - but Discipline are good enough that even their transitional works are worth paying attention to. Approach with an open mind and don't hold your hopes out for Unfolded Like Staircase 2: Unravelled Like Escalator and you'll probably get the best results.

Report this review (#1813590)
Posted Monday, October 16, 2017 | Review Permalink

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