Discipline -
Unfolded Like Staircase (25th Anniversary Edition)

(CD 1997/ 2022, 64:41, Progrock.com's Essentials/ Strung Out Records)

The tracks:
  1- Canto IV (Limbo)(13:44)
  2- Crutches(13:14)
         - 1. The Carrot
         - 2. The Silent Mirror
         - 3. Down The Hatch
         - 4. Crutches
  3- Into The Dream(22:04)
         - 1. Descent
         - 2. Chock Full O'Guts
         - 3. Drawn And Quartered
         - 4. Clearing
         - 5. Stealing The Key
         - 6. Sum Music
         - 7. Turtles All The Way Down
  4- Before The Storm Part 1(5:20)
         - 1. The Ocean
  5- Before The Storm Part 2(10:18)
         - 1. The Storm
         - 2. Eden

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Discipline is a four-piece prog rock formation from Detroit featuring Mathew Kennedy (bass guitar), Paul Dzendzel (drums and percussion), Jon Preston Bouda (electric - and acoustic guitars) and Matthew Parmenter (vocals, keyboards, violin, alto saxophone and chimes). They have been performing and recording together for over 25 years on their independent label Strung Out Records. The band is currently working on its next studio album, their previous release was Captives Of The Wine Dark Sea (see review) from 2017. This CD reissue is the 25th Anniversary of their second release, from 1997 entitled Unfolded Like Staircase, mixed by Terry Brown, known from his work with Rush, Fates Warning, Cutting Crew and Dream Theater.

Well, listening to this album it turns out to be a perfect choice to ask Terry Brown for the remix, the 5 compositions (4 clocking above 10 minutes) sound powerful and varied, with lots of changing atmospheres, excellent interplay, tasteful work on guitar and keyboards, fuelled by a dynamic rhythm-section, and topped with strong vocals. Every track has its own musical ideas and colouring of the music.

Lots of shifting moods (hints from UK and King Crimson) with piano, saxophone and fiery guitar in Canto IV (Limbo) (13:44).

First a slow rhythm with bluesy vocals, then volume pedal guitar with soaring organ, and finally a compelling bombastic climax featuring a harder-edged guitar solo and a propulsive rhythm-section in Crutches (13:14).

Sumptuous Hammond organ, rock guitar and majestic Mellotron violins, embellished with melancholy vocals and a howling and biting guitar solo, and in the end bombastic, featuring awesome work on organ and guitar in Into The Dream (22:04), wow!

It starts dreamy with tender piano and vocals, then a slow rhythm and bombastic atmosphere, and finally fading Hammond with tremolo in the dynamic Before The Storm Part 1 (5:20).

My highlight on this album is the final composition Before The Storm Part 2 (10:18). First a short intro with soaring Mellotron violins, followed by a bombastic climate like early King Crimson and Anekdoten with fiery guitar and a glorious Mellotron violin sound. In the second part an ominous atmosphere, with Mellotron violins, raw guitar riffs, slow drum beats, slightly theatrical vocals and howling guitar runs. Great tension and dynamics!

An album to re-discover!

**** Erik Neuteboom (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

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