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Discipline - Unfolded Like Staircase CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.22 | 422 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Going up?

The first attraction here for anyone who considers themselves to be a prog anorak is the fact that this 65 minute album has a mere four tracks, the shortest being over ten minutes. But is this really a guarantee of quality?

What we have here is a band with its roots firmly in neo-prog. They may choose to acknowledge the influence of VAN DER GRAFF GENERATOR (band leader Matthew Parmenter "thanks" them in the sleeve notes), but the more obvious sound is that of early GENESIS, as it is for so many neo-prog bands. Indeed, the opening track " Canto IV (limbo)" is a concoction of ARENA, PENDRAGON, MARILLION, and a bit of "The knife" by Genesis. There is of course no criticism intended here, these are fine bands so anyone who sounds in any way like them is off to a good start.

Unfortunately, at this stage a reality check is required. The sound may be familiar, but the track structures suffer from the disjointed diversity which blights many of the FLOWER KINGS albums. Since there are only four tracks, we can examine them individually:

"Canto IV (limbo)" opens the album with a YES like staccato section. After moving through the various styles mentioned above, we have an ELP "Stones of years" like vocal, complete with "have you.." repeating questions. The final guitar section is excellent, although I cannot help but feel the production could have brought out the sound of the guitar better.

The four part "Crutches" may be the shortest track on the album, but it still clocks in at over 13 minutes. Once again, the track has significant diversity, including a heavy mellotron backed dirge and some dominant piano.

"Into the dream" has seven sections, and at over 22 minutes is the longest track. Here the IQ similarities come to the fore, but the vocal sections are over long to the overall detriment of the piece. Toward the close of the track, Matthew Parmenter starts to sound like Jon Anderson, while adding some superb "Court of the crimson king" like mellotron.

The album closes with "Before the storm", which incorporates some strange off key singing, but also has a pleasant violin interlude.

At this stage, I should say that some reviews are easier to write than others. In this case, I readily admit that I have tended to over emphasise the negatives to the partial exclusion of the positives. This is a well performed album, with much to commend it. If the listener is prepared to acknowledge the derivative nature of much of the contents, and to hear the album on that basis, they will be rewarded with some fine prog music.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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