Discipline.
Unfolded Like Staircase


4.5
superb

Review

by menawati USER (94 Reviews)
March 7th, 2014 | 25 replies


Release Date: 1997 | Tracklist

Review Summary: One of the best progressive rock albums of the '90s. Discipline struggle for identity but still succeed in channelling their influences into a tour de force of symphonic prog.

The hankering to experience something new and exciting is an essential part of being human. Our natural curiosity leads us to experiment with all manner of things throughout our lives in an attempt to grow, it's in our DNA. However, the familiar can also be comforting, especially when it comes to music. Music which is easy to process can be very appealing, evidenced in the never ending popularity of simple and undemanding pop music among the masses. Progressive rock is seldom touted as a form which concentrates on easy listenability as one of its main goals. That is not to say, however, that a healthy dose of the familiar is always unwelcome as long as the music does not descend into parody. American symphonic prog group Discipline certainly weren't afraid to embrace their influences on this sophomore album and chose to tread ground that would be familiar to any fan of '70s progressive rock music. The result, while not exactly innovative, was one of the most enjoyable progressive rock albums of the 1990's.

The spectre of Genesis looms large on this sophomore album. Discipline also strongly invoke memories of Van Der Graaf Generator, King Crimson and several other '70s prog giants. These influences are immediately apparent on opener 'Conto IV (Limbo)' which kicks off with squirts of saxophone over some urgent riffing before some gently spiralling piano settles proceedings down into a delicate balladic passage built around a traditional verse-chorus structure. But it isn't long before the music shifts into complex multi-instrumental structures full of shifting time signatures interspersed with swelling volume-pedal guitar passages and minor mode riffs. Discipline show that they are eminently comfortable with the extended musical format that is so typical of the symphonic prog genre on the majestic 'Into The Dream'. This meandering slab of traditional progressive rock reinforces the early-Genesis comparisons with it's foreboding airs and bleak pastoral ambience. Singer/multi-instrumentalist Matthew Parmenter is in full-on Gabriel mode here with his throaty tormented vocals admirably matching the ominous guitar passages and somber mellotron swirls. Darkly melancholic lyrical themes also contribute to the overall feel of bleak yearning which suffuses the music throughout the album.

This is not an exercise in overt viruosity. Discipline prefer to focus on atmosphere and texture while channelling subtle haunting melodies into the restrained symphonics. This is not to say that the musical delivery is not competent. Parmenter's biting yet often contemplative Gabriel-eque vocals suit the music perfectly and guitarist John Preston Brouda's contribution is exemplary throughout. As previously alluded, there is little that was particularly original or experimental about the music on here. Discipline did, however, manage to channel their influences into something cohesive and eminently listenable and this album stands up as one of the best symphonic prog releases since the heyday of progressive rock in the early '70s.



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user ratings (25)
Chart.
4.3
superb
other reviews of this album
e210013 (5)
Discipline is one of the best prog acts that appeared in the 90's. Unfolded Like Staircase is simply...


Comments:Add a Comment 
menawati
March 7th 2014


16587 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Canto IV http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6O3iGCTu8-0

Crutches http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9Tbl1VFr1E



Genesis fans should definitely check this one out.

Jethro42
March 7th 2014


15578 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Canto IV rules. I've heard it in ProgArchives a while ago. I still have to listen to the rest.

menawati
March 7th 2014


16587 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

it's quite consistent jethro, worth giving a full go

Jethro42
March 7th 2014


15578 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I give it a full go atm.

JS19
March 7th 2014


7006 Comments


LOVE this album

Mad.
March 7th 2014


4737 Comments


Awesome writeup man, being contrib's definitely given you a boost. I personally have never understood the motives behind starting a derivative band, I'd always want to try something new, but this definitely looks good. The artwork is really nice

menawati
March 7th 2014


16587 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

thanks mad, i know what you mean but this is just so enjoyable it doesnt worry me much

Jethro42
March 7th 2014


15578 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I now regret not having listened to the album before. To Shatter all Accord has also a good reputation according to ProgArchives.

menawati
March 7th 2014


16587 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Shatter is good but this beats it for me

zakalwe
March 7th 2014


26424 Comments


Unlistened like snapcase

greg84
Emeritus
March 7th 2014


7604 Comments


Canto IV's quite amazing indeed. Great review.

Jethro42
March 7th 2014


15578 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yes, and album sounds like a 4.5

greg84
Emeritus
March 7th 2014


7604 Comments


Change these:

one of it's main goals > one of its main goals

70's > '70s

90's > '90s

menawati
March 7th 2014


16587 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

cheers greg, fixed

manosg
Staff Reviewer
March 8th 2014


11387 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Very interesting read. I've been meaning to check this one since I saw it on a list of yours.

Digging: Cauldron Born - Born of the Cauldron

Mad.
March 8th 2014


4737 Comments


Just realised the album title makes no sense :/

KILL
March 8th 2014


81231 Comments


up the downstair

JS19
March 8th 2014


7006 Comments


this is better than that

KILL
March 8th 2014


81231 Comments


cant take ur word for anything sorry but martin said i would dig it so i'll check it dw!

Kusangii
March 8th 2014


2158 Comments


Is this really that good huh, like Rush-good?



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