Discipline the Detroit based band of Matthew Parmenter surprised the progressive world back in 2011 with their third studio album “To Shatter All Accord”. After their debut album “Push & Profit” (1993) and the masterpiece “Unfolded Like Staircase” (1997) the band only released some live recordings. But as said, in the year 2011 the band released the wonderful “To Shatter All Accord” album that included gems like “When She Dreams, She Dreams In Color” and “Rogue”. For me the band is one of the most interesting prog bands in the scene. In the past the band released their work on their own Strung Out Records label. It seems that the band has closed a good distribution deal because their new album “Captives of the Wine Dark Sea” is released on the American label The Laser's Edge. The album is mixed by Terry Brown (Rush, Fate's Warning). Release date is July 7th.
Paul Dzendzel - drums; Chris Herin - lead and rhythm guitars; Mathew Kennedy - bass; Matthew Parmenter - vocals, keyboards, violin, rhythm and acoustic guitars, elbow, tambourine
The first thing that you will notice is that guitarist Jon Preston Bouda is not playing on the new album. The duties on the electric guitar are taken care of by Chris Herin known for his work with the band Tiles. I asked Jon about this and his answer was that following his passions as chef he ended up in Portland Oregon, but that he is sure that he will work together with the band someday in the future. The Discipline fans will be in shock because Jon has a very distinctive guitar sound that has always been linked to the band Discipline. But after listening to the album a couple of times I can conclude that Tiles guitarist Chris Herin is doing a wonderful job here.
The album opens with a track called “The Body Yearns”. It is a typical Discipline piece with Matthew's piano and his distinctive voice. A soaring voice that has a resemblance to the voice of Peter Hammill, the vocalist of the band Van Der Graaf Generator. And when Matthew is playing his organ the resemblance is complete. You can find wonderful vocal melodies and nice guitar work in this fine opener. The strong point of Discipline is that with those influences they developed their own unique style.
“Life Imitates Art” with it's beautiful vocal melodies and a The Doors organ sound has good single potentials. Lovely track with some amazing vocal melodies. The next track has the mysterious title “S”. The first part of this instrumental is up-tempo has a brooding atmosphere. You can enjoy great drumming by Paul Dzendzel in this part. Then the music changes abruptly and you hear a melodic and delicate guitar part before the music slowly becomes more threatening and Chris plays a soaring electric guitar solo.
In the short song “Love Songs” you can find some blues oriented guitar work. It is a nice little tune but I am not convinced. This is followed by another short piece entitled “Here There Is No Soul”. Great vocals by Matthew but in my opinion those two short songs are not the highlights of this album. “The Roaring Game” is more my cup of tea, a lovely instrumental played with a lot of passion and a tension that is slowly building up. The album closes with the epic “Burn the Fire Upon the Rocks” (14:31). In this diverse piece of music you can find elongated Mellotron string parts and lovely vocal harmonies and melodies. This is the Discipline that I love so much. The last instrumental part is great with a dual between electric guitar and the synth. It is a great song with lovely melodies but to be honest it has not the impact of my favorite song of the previous album “To Shatter All Accord” ... “When She Dreams, She Dreams In Color”. My favorites of this new “Captives of the Wine Dark Sea” album are “The Body Yearns”,“ Life Imitates Art”, “The Roaring Game” and “Burn the Fire Upon the Rocks”.
With “Captives of the Wine Dark Sea”, Discipline made again a very nice progressive rock album. A must buy for the fans. And if you are into the music of Van Der Graaf Generator and didn't hear the music of Discipline yet, you know what you have to do. Discipline is still one of the most important and exciting bands from the USA. The band is playing some gigs in Europe (Italy, Spain) this year. Hopefully the band will also visit The Netherlands someday.