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Discipline Captives Of The Wine Dark Sea album cover
3.69 | 122 ratings | 9 reviews | 18% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2017

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Body Yearns (9:24)
2. Life Imitates Art (4:18)
3. S (4:11)
4. Love Songs (3:42)
5. Here There Is No Soul (3:20)
6. The Roaring Game (6:10)
7. Burn The Fire Upon The Rocks (14:30)

Total time 45:35

Line-up / Musicians

- Matthew Parmenter / vocals, keyboards, violin, rhythm & acoustic guitars, e-bow, tambourine
- Chris Herin (Tiles) / lead & rhythm guitars
- Mathew Kennedy / bass
- Paul Dzendzel / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Richard Patterson

CD The Laser's Edge ‎- LE1079 (2017, US)

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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DISCIPLINE Captives Of The Wine Dark Sea ratings distribution

(122 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(18%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(51%)
Good, but non-essential (25%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

DISCIPLINE Captives Of The Wine Dark Sea reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Mellotron Storm
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.

Review by memowakeman
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Review originally published in

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!

Review by Warthur
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.

Review by kev rowland
5 stars There is no doubt at all in mind that one of the most important bands to come out of America in the last thirty years has been Discipline. For some reason they have never seemed to gain the column inches that bands such as Spock's Beard and Enchant have been able to generate, but if I had to choose a band that was trying to do in America what VDGG achieved in the UK then it would be to Discipline I would turn. Founder, multi-instrumentalist and singer Matthew Parmenter is still very much at the helm, along with drummer Paul Dzendzel and bassist Mathew Kennedy, but founder guitarist Jon Preston Bouda is no longer involved, with his place being taken by Tiles guitarist Chris Herin. Obviously, this has had an impact on the overall sound, especially as that band are generally more straightforward melodic and rocky than Discipline, but Matthew still has a very firm hand on the arrangements and his piano underpins everything that is taking place.

This is only their second studio album in twenty years, but it's all about quality over quantity, and while it doesn't have quite the edginess or danger of some of their other albums, it is still very much a triumph. Chris understands his place within the band, and while Paul and Matthew Kennedy lay down the foundation it is very much linked in with the piano, from which Matthew Parmenter then takes the music in multiple directions. There is only one fairly lengthy song on here, the closer "Burn The Fire Upon The Rocks", but these guys don't need lots of time to push and pull the music in multiple directions. This is what progressive music is all about, moving into and across boundaries so that they aren't following any themes or styles but are very much their own band. That anyone playing them would never think for a minute that they were American shows just how diverse an adept these guys are. The more I play this, the more I discover, and the more I like it. It is an album I fell in love with the first time I played it, and I have grown to enjoy it even more since then! Essential.

Review by Sagichim
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars As much as I love Discipline I think that this is a step back from their previous effort To Shatter All Accord and their amazing classic Unfolded Like Staircase. Captives Of The Wine Dark Sea is of course a good album but I can't help but feeling something is missing here, could be the departure of guitarist Jon Preston Bouda, replaced by Chris Herin from the band Tiles, so that may effected the band's direction. Generally speaking the songs bear a more simpler approach, definitely less challenging and complex than what I would expect from these guys. I think the band was aiming a bit "lower" to a more conventional kind of songwriting (by Discipline standards of course) especially when 4 out of the 7 songs are at around 4 minutes long and are not that progy at all. I don't mind that the band has taken that road at all, the thing is the material here isn't just strong enough, it's good but doesn't rise to the next level.

Multi instrumentalist Matthew Parmenter is still in good form, his Peter Hammill like vocal approach is still very enjoyable, he is definitely one of my favorite modern vocalists. Although there's a change in the quality of the songwriting the music is still in the same symphonic/Neo prog style. There are 7 songs here, 5 short songs and 2 lengthy pieces that will naturally appeal more to prog fans, this is where the writing is more adventurous and bold, and the band shows their instrumental chops on top of some beautiful melodies. The shorter tracks ranges from ok to good but they are never bad.

The Body Yearns opens the album in a promising way, easily one of the highlights in the album and holds one of my favorite melodies by the band ever. Matthew's opening voclas and piano lead topped with that moderate guitar line is simply sublime, it takes about half the song and it is pure heaven. It changes half way through and becomes slower with a good guitar solo from Chris before returning to the main theme. Life Imitates Art is average, simply a standard song with a verse and chorus format, dark sounding at first almost sinister, but it's actually the chorus that brings the whole thing terribly down for me, seems out of context too, the rest isn't that exciting either. S is the title of the next song and it's an improvement, a short instrumental with some intense violin driving the rhythm, it changes half way and becomes more interesting, not anything special but definitely a good song. The catchy pop tinged little ditty Love Songs is I guess Intentionally titled like that since the lyrics indicates the opposite. "Don't speak to me of love songs" and then before the bluesy guitar comes in he sais "I just wanna be alone". This is a fun tune with some cool bluesy guitar based on a good melody but again is not intended to be thrilling and it's really not, I think this is the farthest they've gone from Unfold Like Staircase. Here There Is No Soul is another fun and catchy short rocker with Matthew's great singing, it's much too short to leave any impression...but it's ok I guess. The Roaring Game is a 6 minute instrumental which brings back a little bit of playing and musicianship. Although it uses the same mantra over and over it's good and becomes stronger towards the end as the tension rises, nice guitar by Chris and some powerful drumming by Mr. Dzendzel. The closing 15 minute track Burn The Fire Upon The Rocks is a great song featuring a mellotron for the first time. You can find all the great characteristics of this great band here, good instrumental moments, complexity, soulful vocals, beautiful melodies. It goes through all kinds of ideas and moods but feels like a unified piece, probably the best piece here.

So this is kind of a mixed bag for me, there are 3 really good songs here which takes more than half of the album but I don't think they are better than anything from Unfold Like Staircase or To Shatter All Accord, the rest isn't exciting at all so overall the lows are ok and the highs are not that high. You have to be in the right mood to really enjoy the whole thing. A good effort, 3+ stars.

Latest members reviews

4 stars It seems like a good time to revisit some albums I didn't give enough of a chance to over the last few years of being so busy. With the world at a bit of a quiet standstill, perhaps my views may change on things I didn't consider earlier. The very first album I thought of was this one, which I ... (read more)

Report this review (#2343507) | Posted by Corcoranw687 | Wednesday, March 18, 2020 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is my choice for 2017 Prog Album of the Year, and the track The Body Yearns is my Best Prog Track of 2017. I'm surprised this album isn't being talked about more, but I guess that's the sad state rock music in general is in, this year in particular. It's been a hard year, politically and cu ... (read more)

Report this review (#1822676) | Posted by jude111 | Monday, November 13, 2017 | Review Permanlink

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 a ... (read more)

Report this review (#1742736) | Posted by Einwahn | Wednesday, July 12, 2017 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#1741594) | Posted by piccolomini | Friday, July 7, 2017 | Review Permanlink

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