Review Summary: A very good album that treads the line between Hard Rock and Metal, and leaves the listener as the benefactor.
After being a mainstay in the slightly “underground” Christian Metal scene for years, Disciple released their mainstream debut Disciple
. This album marked a change in sound, Disciple went from a Groove Metal to Hard Rock sound, much to the dismay of many of their longtime fans. Disciple
took you through its land of generic mediocrity, and left you with few memorable moments afterwards. Thankfully, Disciple recognized their faults from their self-titled, and has improved rather nicely with their latest album, Scars Remain
. So, you may ask, what is so much better now?
Most everything thankfully. Kevin Young has let loose with his vocals, mixing his singing, with a higher register scream. He is able to slide in and out of screaming (and singing) quite nicely and rather smoothly. This is not to say that the clean vocals have been forgotten though, as he shows a nice range throughout the album, showing at times a southern tinged flavor that hints towards their next album. The other band member of particular note is guitarist Brad Noah. Mostly present in his heavy, metal riffs, Brad also graces us with several solos. None ever seem overdone or out of place, but instead are a welcome addition to the band’s unique sound. The rhythm section is likewise solid. Sadly, the bass is (of course) pretty inaudible. The drums however do hold their own against the vocals and guitar. Though never performing any amazing feats of “drummery”, he is a consistent player and does exactly what a drummer is supposed to, keeps the beat.
Starting with “Regime Change”, it is plain to see that Scars Remain
is off to a strong start. Beginning with a picked electric guitar and some light pings off the ride cymbal, the distortion kicks in with Kevin screaming. Featuring some above-par lyrics, the guitar solo steals the show towards the end of the song. Moving right along to “Love Hate (On and On)”, this song carries a more rock oriented sound. The chorus can definitely get monotonous and is slightly ironic (literally: “It goes on and on and on and on”). It is a fairly average song all around. “Scars Remain” kicks things back up to Metal levels. It is one the heavier songs, with a sing-scream verse, and mostly screamed chorus. Kevin’s voice is the definite highlight of this song, as it is the first song that utilizes the screams as much as it does. “Game On”, is a song built straight for WWE theme song glory. Sadly it seems that is all it was made for, laden with pseudo-aggressive lyrics delivered in a semi rapping fashion. That sentence should say all one needs to hear concerning this song. “Dive” starts with Brad’s quick lead work into the main riff. Verging slightly on Speed Metal, this song has a strong religious overtone. Not a bad thing in the least for me, it should be said though, as it is a main discouraging point for many. “Purpose to Melody” is my favorite song. An all around solid track, it shows all members on their game. Once again, Brad’s solo towards the end is the best part of the song, and shows he is more than able to shred when he so pleases. As one of the two softer songs, “No End At All” should be mentioned. After such a strong collection of songs, it comes as a bit of a letdown that this was chosen as the closer. It is mostly drum and vocally driven, but Brad throws in a southern influenced solo towards the end, which does sound rather nice. The main problem with this song is the buzz kill it provides. After getting your heart pumping with the heavier songs, the album finishes with a song more likely to be found on a Jeremy Camp record.
This is an album that bridges the Groove Metal found on their older releases, with the Hard Rock sound adopted from their self-titled. It sees the comeback of Kevin’s harsher vocals and even some Southern Metal influences along the way. It should be noted again that this is a Christian band, and thus a Christian album as well. I fully understand that this is not everyone’s cup of tea. However, regardless of my beliefs, the band's beliefs, and those of the people reading this, I am reviewing the music and nothing else. That being said, this is a solid album worth at least a listen from any fan of Hard Rock/Metal.
After the World
Purpose To Melody