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Discipline - Unfolded Like Staircase CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.25 | 460 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars After getting turned on to this wonderful group last year with their most recent release, I got curious what their back catalog sounded like. To Shatter All Accord set the bar tremendously high, so I wasn't sure if I could expect the same level of "wow" factor from this one. I really do need to stop making such rash assumptions, because let me tell you, this album is a magnanimous hour and change of progressive rock at its very finest. Every track strikes an amazing balance between technical execution and emotional depth. The level of performance by each member is startling, as they demonstrate their level of musical talent without becoming unnecessarily flashy. Since the tracks are lengthier, they have enough time to develop a unique mood, present contrasting passages to evolve the overall picture, and reach a broad spectrum of emotions, positive or negative, and everywhere in between.

Canto IV (Limbo) starts off the album with energy and conviction. The seamless alternation between scathing vocals and intriguing instrumental breaks shows this band not only is aware of their individual and collective talents, but know how to balance them perfectly. The song is very well organized and leaves you intrigued for more. Luckily we're only 25% through, roughly.

Crutches is a highly emotive piece with terrific range. The mood evokes is gloomy, desperate, and claustrophobic. The scathing vocal delivery is truly haunting and inspiring. The piano and vocal parts come to the foreground in a gripping break before a more active and energetic end.

Into the Dream is the longest, most varied track on the album. It demonstrates a level of comfortability exploiting lengthier solo passages delineated by an ever-evolving narrative that I haven't heard very often, even by the time-honored greats from the 70s. It flows well enough to intrigue and please on first listen, but its subtle density promises great reward with each new listen. Every time it has offered something new and unique, and I can't stress enough just how high the quality of performance and attention to detail in each passage truly is. As if that wasn't enough, the song's narrative is a veritable cornucopia of chilling imagery and thought-provoking subtext to leave you speechless each time you hear and process its intense lyrics.

Before the Storm is an epic closer that follows a more uplifting path than the preceding track. It starts off more calm and reflective than the other songs, as though giving you pause in the eye of a storm, which inevitably does come. After the intense bombast of instruments spiked once again with the harsh, emotive vocal delivery we are now all too familiar with, the storm passes, and a sense of peace enters as the vocal style changes to one reminiscent of singing to a lover, reflected by the line "let's make love tonight." Very tastefully introduced, I might add. Then the instruments re-enter and bring the energy back up in a positive light. You're guaranteed to smile as this passage begins, heralding the happiest moment of the album. This emotional high only builds as the opening chorus is recapitulated, augmented by a soaring sax line and supported by the full band playing together with high energy and superior balance. The mood is sustained all the way to its eventual fade, leaving the listener unspeakably satisfied and much richer for the experience.

I can't stress enough just how wonderful an album this is. A top 10 in my book crafted by a top 5 band. The fact that it isn't more well-known is to me nothing short of criminal. It's a critical musical achievement, and I can't recommend it highly enough. 5 undeniably deserved stars.

Neo-Romantic | 5/5 |


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