Review Summary: I want more.Attack
was a slight step forward from Oh God Save Us All
but also a step back from the thrilling Horseshoes And Handgrenades
. It wasn’t a bad album per se, but it didn’t make any major leaps in progression and sure wouldn’t convert any to the Disciple camp who wasn’t already sleeping there. Nevertheless, hardcore fans praised it and ate it up, honoring it as a “return to form” for the group. It may be for this reason that the group decided to release a short EP only a year after their 2014 release. If you’re this pumped to release something, especially when you’ve shown that you’re content to wait at least two years before releasing another project, it had better live up to the hype (trust me, the group plastered this EP everywhere they could).
Kevin sounds the same as he has since the 2010 effort, which I guess is a blessing and a curse: yes, he sounds good, arguably great. He has both engaging cleans and absolutely harrowing screams. However, he just doesn’t hold a candle to stronger contemporaries, oftentimes sounding like a slightly more improved version of Skillet’s John Cooper or Pillar’s Rob Beckley. Guitar-wise, the group has slowly been pushing in a heavier direction since H&H, shifting between their trademark Drop C and the beefier Drop B, but this record finds our axemen playing even in Drop A. The RED influence here is absolutely unescapable, but the band does make it their own so it’s not that big of an issue. Drums and bass don’t stand out near as much, but fans of the band or even the casual listener shouldn’t be surprised at this.
“Sayonara” opens the project much like one would expect: heavy guitars, mix of dirty screams and urgent cleans, and a thrashing backdrop. This is a blistering alternative metal tune that does have Disciple’s established sound at its core, but also just feels darker and more brooding. This seems to be another area in which the group took cues from RED. Following up is “Snooze”, which finds the band at an interesting position. They’ve always had melody in their music, but this finds them almost adapting a post-hardcore feel. I honestly couldn’t help but think of Of Mice and Men or Before Their Eyes when hearing this. It’s extremely catchy and has some fantastic guitarwork to boot. “Awakening” is probably the heaviest offering of all, while “More” follows similar cues as “Snooze” and brings in an almost glam/pop metal feel: there’s some glitzy synths, a lighter feel than the rest of the record, and a crazy, bouncy solo. As someone who generally dislikes guitar solos (and ironically plays guitar), this one fits very well, similar to how well the one in “Regime Change” sounded. Ballad-wise, “Breaking Down” is (albeit cliched) easily the highlight, building from a brooding, haunting croon to an orchestral and guitar breakdown. This track, much like the others, bleeds of some pretty intense passion.
Lyrically, I finally feel like I’m getting at the meat of this band. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t say Disciple were necessarily fake on past efforts. But this is the most honest, raw form of the band I’ve ever seen. You won’t find massive war anthems like on Attack
, it’s much more ambiguous than before, and it’s just darker. There’s still plenty of hope though, and as a result, the EP turns out to be a thrilling journey between darkness and light.
It’s always tough to rate an EP. On one hand, this is a fairly short offering and I feel that more meat to the quality of the cut Disciple gave us on the record could earn it a higher rating. Also, “Bring The Dead to Life” (written actually by the group’s bassist), just feels too much like a bone thrown to the bassist so he could organize the song structure. I know this is a short EP, but this is still a large contender for filler.
Nevertheless, I’m very impressed by the group. I will say that these songs are large upgrades from those on the previous project and are highly enjoyable cuts of spiritual alternative metal. Like Horseshoes and Handgrenades before it, this EP just may change your mind a little about Disciple.