Review Summary: Heavy versus soft. Disciple tries to do both with their most polarizing album yet.
Prior to picking up Disciple’s ‘O God Save Us All’ I had done some research and read a review declaring that this album was energy packed. Immediately I started hoping for the grandeur of their 2006 release ‘Scars Remain’ in which the majority of the album was very heavy. And while there are some good rockers on this disc, it seems Disciple had only two modes for writing this album: Heavy and soft.
The album opens with the rousing rocker ‘Outlaw’ and follows it up with the title track ‘O God Save Us All.’ The energy continues with ‘R.I.P.’ After three heavy songs characterized by driving guitars and lead singer Kevin Young’s searing vocals, ‘Once And For All’, the album’s first ballad, is a fitting change of pace. Afterwards one might think that they would amp things up again with another heavy song. However, the slowdown is followed by not one but two more slow songs. This lull in the album is enough to put just about anyone to sleep. However, just as you’re nodding off to the closing notes of the third ballad ‘Draw the Line’, ‘Kings’ comes in and brings the party back. Rockers ‘Unstoppable’ and ‘The One’ finish off the second trio of heavy songs. But again, just as the listener gets into the rhythm of the faster pace, ‘Beautiful Scars’ takes things back down a bit. Finally, ‘Trade a Moment’ brings the album to a very soft close.
While there’s nothing inherently wrong with Disciple’s softer songs, they distract from the overall unity of the album. Disciple mostly falls within the hard rock/nu-metal genre yet almost half of the songs hardly deserve to be labeled as rock. As a result, it’s difficult to get into the flow of the album.
While Disciple seems to be a little confused about the direction it wants to take musically, the lyrical content throughout is very consistent. ‘O God Save Us All’ as an album revolves largely around the idea of redemption and the struggle between who we used to be and who we are now. Songs like ‘R.I.P.’, ‘Draw the Line’, ‘Beautiful Scars’ and ‘Once And For All’ embrace the idea of putting away the old self and living as new creations. The depth of Disciple’s lyrics as a whole rival that of most other Christian rock outfits. While some of the lyrics on ‘Someday’, ‘Outlaw’, ‘Trade a Moment’ and ‘The One’ could be classified as cheesy in parts, the sincerity of Disciple is without question.
In comparison to their prior work, the songs on this disc seem to have a simpler, more focused structure. The songs are well polished but not as creative per se as their 2008 release ‘Southern Hospitality.’ The overall feel is more rigid and doesn’t seem to “cut loose” as much as previous albums. Because of this, the album feels more forced and less natural. It almost feels like the album Disciple wrote more out of obligation than inspiration. Nevertheless, most of the content on here is pleasing. It could be that the disappointment stems somewhat from knowing what Disciple is capable of versus what they’ve produced with this album.
Overall, ‘O God Save Us All’, despite its imperfections, is an album that deserves to be part of Disciple’s discography. It’s not their best or even their most natural composition to date. But if you’re a Disciple fan it’s certainly worth owning. And if you’re a fan of albums divided between two styles, then this could be the album for you!