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Discipline - Unfolded Like Staircase CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.22 | 422 ratings

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3 stars I must emphasise that this is the only Discipline album I've heard, but I don't intend that to remain the case, because I really quite enjoyed it. In fact I can safely say that I rate Unfolded Like Staircase to be among the best progressive rock albums of the 90s.

After listening to the first five minutes of the opening tune Canto IV (Limbo) you might actually wonder why I made such a judgement, because up to that point Discipline sounds pretty standard ... the piece starts off atmospheric and restrained with some nice piano and guitar touches and even some grunge-influenced vocals ... but it just kind of glides by until the fifth minute and that's when the prog takes over! Everything builds up to an excellent crescendo ... round about the 8 minute mark the fourth major melody sees the Genesis influences come in and the piece closes with a brilliant outro that pulls out all the stops with nice keyboard lines and playing that calls to mind Wishbone Ash and Kansas at different times .. and its tasteful, skillful and exciting all at once ... a rare combination in modern prog bands.

The glorious Crutches starts life as simple, pleasant piano/guitar ballad for the first three minutes before evolving into a much more complicated piece (by which time it should be obvious that that is how Discipline like to do things!). What's best about this delectable slice of prog is that I can't quite compare it to anything I know ... maybe it's just the novelty of listening to a progressive rock band that seems to have adopted certain qualities of the grunge scene. The 22 minute Into The Dream (yes, one of those!) is probably the heaviest song on the album. Its intro is centered around an off-time guitar/bass riff, with a descending keyboard joining in ... an eerie riff then "settles things" before Matthew Parmenter's vocals enter. Highlights of the piece include an Eastern sounding riff that comes in at the 6 minute mark, a sparse piano and vocals segment at 9 minute mark and the tolling bells and swelling strings near the end of piece. This is continously rich music with a lovely epic feel containing moments of stunning playing (the wonderful bass playing on this song particularly caught my ear).

Before The Storm, Part 1 is yet another tune that starts off as an "orthodox" piano piece ... if I can call something so compelling orthodox, that is. The full band comes in after a couple of minute, clinching the deal on a song that has incisive lyrics and an epic melody. I really like it very much, and the interplay between the organ, strings and the biting lead guitar is definitely one of the high points of this album. The final piece, Before The Storm, Part 2 is another momentous one although it's not my favourite. Again Discipline's talent for great outros is proven with some excellent violin work as the album concludes. It's interesting that while this album is full of great playing I can hardly recall any memorable solos ... Discipline is clearly more about melody leads from guitar and keyboards. A word of caution, though ... this album has not met with much approval from friends I have recommended it to. ... 51% on the MPV scale

Trotsky | 3/5 |


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