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Discipline - Unfolded Like Staircase CD (album) cover

UNFOLDED LIKE STAIRCASE

Discipline

 

Symphonic Prog

4.24 | 353 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Review Nš 80

When I wrote my review about their debut studio album 'Push & Profit' released in 1994, I said that I have received that album few weeks ago and that I hoped receive their second studio work, very soon. Unfortunately, I only got 'Unfolded Like Staircase' some months ago, and so and unexpectedly, only now it was possible for me to make the review of it.

Discipline is an American progressive group formed in 1987 by high school students Matthew Parmenter (vocals and multi-instruments), Jon Preston Bouda (backing vocals and guitars), Matthew Kennedy (bass) and Paul Dzendel (drums and percussions), in Royal Oak, Michigan. They had also another band's member, David Krofchock, who was the band's keyboard player from 1990 to 1993, and took part of their debut album 'Push and Profit'. Since the early days, the vocalist Parmenter and the leader of the band, made the band's live concerts changing elaborate costumes for each song, like Peter Gabriel usually did in the early days of Genesis and also as Fish did in the early days of Marillion. Because of that, usually, Discipline was often compared to Genesis and Marillion. However, the Discipline's music has also been compared to Van Der Graaf Generator, not because of their debut studio album 'Push And Profit', but because of their following work, this second studio album 'Unfolded Like Staircase'.

As I wrote before, Parmenter is the leader of the band and he usually writes all the songs on their albums. It also sings and plays several musical instruments like keyboards, violin, saxophone and orchestra chimes. Thanks to their great live shows, Discipline built up a good reputation in Detroit, which is very strange and curious, since this American region isn't usually influenced by the progressive rock music. So, in 1993 the group released their first album, and to support that album, the group toured the USA in supporting of various progressive artists and bands like Steve Howe, the Yes' guitarist, and Anekdoten, an excellent Swedish heavy progressive group, hugely influenced by King Crimson.

'Unfolded Like Staircase' is composed of four long pieces of music. It isn't at all a minimalist album, but it has a myriad of details and a constant development, coherence and balance in the whole work. In these things resides part of the personality of this musical work magnificently interpreted in a truly masterful way. This is an album with a work of exceptional composition. The music on the album has all the elements that characterized a very uncommon world. We have the drama, restlessness, darkness, delirium, tragedy, schizophrenia, but above all, it shows the amazing beauty that can be hidden in the darkest places into our minds. However, those influences reside only in the essence of the music. Both, voices and instruments, have very little to do with the finale style of the Van Der Graaf Generator's music. However, in my point of view, we can clearly see on 'Unfolded Like Staircase' several other musical influences from the 70's. When I listen to this album for the first time, I became completely astonished and amazed with so many different musical influences on only a single album or even only on a single track. I can clearly see on it two other very strong influences of the 70's, the influences of Genesis in the Gabriel's era and the influences of King Crimson in their first phase. By the other hand, I can also see some more recent musical influences on the album. Those influences are the neo-prog influences, particularly from the excellent neo- prog British band IQ. If we think a little bit about it, this last musical influence isn't as strange as it seems. The neo- prog style isn't so different from the symphonic style. If you compare Genesis in the era Gabriel and Marillion in the era Fish, you see what I mean. Anyway, the solo musical career of Parmenter fits perfectly well into this musical style. I also strongly recommend the Parmenter's solo musical career.

Conclusion: When I reviewed 'Push & Profit' I said that I became surprised, because I expected that the music of the band was more surprising, strange, aggressive, improvised and complex, like Anglagard's music. However, after listen to 'Unfolded Like Staircase', several times, I completely changed my opinion about Discipline's music. In my humble opinion, 'Unfolded Like Staircase' is an album completely different from 'Push & Profit'. This is an album much more mature, complex, aggressive, surprising and totally progressive, with dark lyrics and also with a dark theatrical musical atmosphere. 'Unfolded Like Staircase' is really an astonishing progressive album, and I'm completely amazed with the quality produced by them on it. Sincerely, I'm really surprised with so many different musical influences on a single album or on a single track. I agree with Easy Livin when he says that this is a band with their roots firmly in neo-prog, especially due to the influences of IQ. By the other hand the influences of Genesis in Gabriel's era, King Crimson in their first phase, and of course Van Der Graaf Generator, are very strong, indeed. So, 'Unfolded Like Staircase' is a truly masterpiece and one of the best albums released by one of the most amazing bands that emerged in the 90's.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 5/5 |

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