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Discipline - To Shatter All Accord CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.21 | 709 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars Wow...just wow...

I got this album a while ago back when I saw it was perched at the top of the Best of 2011 page before the 2012 page replaced it. I had actually never heard of Discipline before and was in the mood for something new, so I took a gamble after seeing the album had received such rave reviews. I've had a lot of time to listen to it and digest the material, and I can honestly say without hesitation that this is an album that totally deserves the praise it has garnered. Each track is masterfully crafted, varied, and packs a lot of emotional expression and imagery. There's not a low point on this album in my opinion.

Circuitry kicks off with a really vintage sound that is at once new and familiar, inviting the listener in with promise of a unique musical journey that hearkens back to the prog glory days without seeming like they're re-hashing old ideas they stole from the past masters. The instrumental break in the middle of the track is so unique and powerful. I'm still discovering its secrets and subtle nuances with each listen! The track ends strongly and segues nicely into the next. A terrific choice for an album opener with a promise of much more to come.

When the Walls are Down is a highly emotional track, something I was truly not expecting to hear but greatly appreciated. The sax and key intro is stunning, and when the other instruments join, it brings a swell of energy that proves the intrigue didn't stop with the first track. The extended jam-like passage that comprises the latter half of the track has so much power and variety that I was never at any point even remotely close to bored or disinterested, and after multiple listens, that magic still hasn't worn off. What helps here is the dense nature of the sound creates so many musical layers that you're always guaranteed to discover something you missed last time, no matter how diligently you listen or how astute a musician or listener you are. That to me was always a trademark of progressive music, and only two tracks in to my first exposure to this group, I could already tell they have that in spades.

Dead City is such a cool track. Short and concise as it is, it lacks nothing whatsoever. The word that came to mind after my first listen and every listen since is "fresh." This is a track unlike any you'll hear on any other prog album, classic or modern. The arrangement is very accessible, but because of the daring textures, deceptively smooth integration of repeated asymmetric time signatures, and contrasting passages following the verses and choruses, this is far from a lighter-fare pop tune. The album would be incomplete without it, and I'd love to hear more tracks like this, longer or shorter. It was a breath of fresh air for the entire genre, and an example of how prog can continue to morph without sacrificing its magic. If only I could drop this album in the 80s to communicate that concept...but I digress.

When She Dreams She Dreams in Color is a track that I would say you cannot and should not try to assess based on one listen. It's a much more subdued track, with jazz elements such as a less concisely structured form and more comping by the instruments over a repeated chord progression underneath a smooth, almost slithering vocal line. After a crescendo and strong cadential point, the music backs off, but only temporarily, leading into probably the most emotional point of the album, the extended instrumental passage. Between the mellotron swells and the haunting, sobbing violin that follows, you can't help but be transported to a much darker, yet cathartic place than any other passage in any other track on the album. If you allow yourself to become consumed by the atmosphere of the piece, you'll truly appreciate what this passage has to offer. All I can say is give it a few spins, allow yourself to get lost, and appreciate just how much emotion was put into each individual part. There's power here. Power that even some of the giants of the vintage days would respect and envy. if I needed any more persuasion to believe this was already a solid album...then I heard this...Any skeptic would see the 24:04 track length and understandably think, "Looks like they're taking a stab at an epic. How can this possibly compete with the epics of the past?" I'll be the first to say that not only is this a highly intriguing, varied, complex track that surfaced in a time when the extended epic seems so out of place in modern recording, but I'm going to put myself out there for possible criticism and ridicule by saying in my opinion it surpasses such tracks as "2112" and "The Gates of Delirium" in my book. I do not care how much you want to argue with me, this track is that good, and it avoids the pitfalls of past epics expertly. By varying its moods in such a seamless way, smoothly transitioning through numerous time and key changes, and sustaining such a high emotional peak without getting bogged down in the musical masturbation that is unnecessary virtuosity, they present a solid tune that was expertly arranged and takes the extended epic to new heights and previously uncharted territories. From its calm, brooding start through its building early sections, driving later vocal passages, chaotic solo sections that segue into those characterized by a focused passion, lamentable outro, and cathartic final cadence with a delicate guitar passage that calmly plays a beautiful 7/8 line over a pad of keys as the music fades away, this piece is a true musical journey that you just need to hear.

If you let me hear this album before I knew it cam out in 2011 and told me when it was made, I would not have believed you at all. Seriously, this was such a surprise, but what a pleasant one it was! It is well deserving of the praise it has already received, and I for one am happy to count myself among those who find it to be a truly exceptional release. It is truly essential listening for any fan of progressive music, and I have no hesitation giving it the highest rating possible. 5 stars for a modern masterpiece.

Neo-Romantic | 5/5 |


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