DISCIPLINE – Unfolded Like Staircase (Strung Out)

Michigan-based four piece Discipline have been around for quite a while, although this album is the first of theirs that I have tried. Very much in the neo-prog mould, and with influences ranging from King Crimson and Van Der Graaf Generator to Genesis the sound is quite eclectic. The album consists of just four pieces, the shortest being thirteen minutes and the longest a tad over twenty-two. Luckily for the band there is enough going on in each of the tracks to prevent them from becoming repetitive or boring. ‘Canto IV’ opens proceedings with some staccato guitar riffing, and sax from vocalist and lyricist Matthew Parmenter, before the piece really gets going with its dark and disturbing themes. The band get a chance to show their mettle in the instrumental passages, and the heavy riffing makes a comeback towards the end of the track. A good start to the album, and you will be able to tell from this song whether you like the band as it brings together all of their styles in one track. ‘Crutches’ is a four part epic, with the emphasis more on the lyrical side of the band, with the soloing kept to a minimum, and the words being pushed to the forefront of each song, although ‘Crutches’ itself has some nice guitar-work in it. ‘Into The Dream’ is the twenty-two minute track, and in a piece of that length the music must take priority, which the band realise from the outset. Plenty of excellent musicianship, solos galore, a welcome appearance of a mellotron, and it really doesn’t drag despite its length. ‘Before The Storm Part 1’ is a gentle ballad – the first on the album – preparing us for ‘Part 2’ which reprises the melody in a harder rock form, and with the mellotron making a return the whole track has a distinct 70’s prog feel to it. The track mixes together hard rock guitars with gentler passages, a piano tinkling away and soaring guitar solos in a way that only progressive rock can do, and the album is over before you know it. I was very impressed with this album, being yet another unheard purchase from GFT, and would recommend it to fans of modern prog such as Dream Theatre, or even to old rockers who miss the classic days of prog rock.