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




Symphonic Prog

3.69 | 122 ratings

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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.

Sagichim | 3/5 |


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