I have to start by saying that I’ll be referencing the band Discipline. without the period at the end of their name because it just fucks with my own sense of punctuation. Now with that bout of OCD out of the way, I can talk about the last release from them, “Captives Of The Wine Dark Sea.” For starters, the band and their frontman Matthew Parmenter remind me a lot of Van der Graaf Generator and Peter Hammill respectively. This is both separately and collectively. And it’s not a bad thing at all.
I had known of Disciple for years but didn’t get around to them until their last album, 2011’s “To Shatter All Accord” which I thought was outstanding. It was the comeback album for the band after a 14 year dormancy. Since that album, Parmenter released a solo album last year called “All Our Yesterdays,” which for me was a disappointment. It was raw and stark and far less interesting than his work with the band. But many enjoyed it.
This brings us to the new release “Captives Of The Wine Dark Sea” which I was definitely curious about. I can safely say that I prefer the band to the solo artist as this album is nothing short of a masterpiece. Joining the band is Tiles’ Chris Herin on guitar and legendary Rush producer (and Tiles producer) Terry Brown. This just solidifies the greatness through out this album.
It starts off with the 9 1/2 minute “The Body Yearns” which falls squarely between both VdGG and Gentle Giant. It’s even more melodic than either of those bands however which is no doubt due to the band’s ability to fuse the complexity of prog with importance of a good hook. “Life Imitates Art” is next and was the first release from the album. The song has plenty of quirkiness and probably sounds the most like something VdGG would do. But this is NOT a rip off at all. Rather, it’s a case of not hiding one’s influences.
Before you think this is one big tribute album, I’ll point out that “Love Songs” has a foot firmly in American Blues and yes the acoustic based track works fairly well, I am just not a big fan of the style. “Here There is No Soul” is a punchy riff rocker that would have been a hit had it been released when rock radio had an open mind toward prog. One of my favorite tracks is the powerhouse instrumental “The Roaring Game” which is a chance to hear what Discipline is capable of musically. A phenomenal track.
The 14 plus “Burn the Fire Upon the Rocks” is my favorite track on the record. It’s a mix of prog, jazz and glorious classic rock. I can slightly hear a few different influences but really this is Discipline at its core. It’s a majestic finish to a nearly perfect album. Were it not for the gaps in their career, Discipline would be known as one of America’s finest prog rock bands. “Captives Of The Wine Dark Sea” is their pinnacle to this point and the entire prog world needs to take note of its greatness.
1. The Body Yearns
2. Life Imitates Art
4. Love Songs
5. Here There Is No Soul
6. The Roaring Game
7. Burn the Fire Upon the Rocks