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Slow down as you approach the gate, and have your change ready....
Label: SRE Recordings
Length: 11 songs / 38:51 minutes
TAG: It seems like Disciple has <I>almost</i> figured out how to marry their classic metal sounds with that more progressive, radio-friendly sound - perhaps a new producer and one more try with SRE will be the golden ticket for them.
DISCIPLE'S NEW ALBUM IN 100 WORDS OR LESS:
"Does Travis Wyrick know any guitar tones that DON'T sound like Pillar --- wait, that second guitar sounds awesome. Kevin's screaming! Holy crap eighties metal riff! Did that sound like "To Hell With The Devil?" Oh wow this track is awesome. AHHHH NICKELBALLAD! Skipped that just in time. NECK SLIDE! Momentum BUILDING! Momentum... lost."
While I am not a metalhead by any stretch of the imagination, some of my closest friends are. They like their metal loud and screaming Christ's name, everything from Stryper to Mortification to Tourniquet to Demon Hunter (Don't forget about Ken Tamplin, Siloam and Guardian.) Of all the bands I was introduced to or "heard in passing", Disciple (and their record By God) is probably my favorite. _By God_ was chockful of something like 19 riff-heavy low-down metal tracks with some anthemic southern grooves. The follow-up, the independently distributed _Back Again) was not quite as good but still fantastic - a heavy slab of "grade-A" METAL.
Then Disciple signed to the new "modern rock" label INO Records (SRE) was launching and stopped being a METAL band. The new project (titled either Rise Up or simply Disciple) was not a bad record, but suffered from repetitive song structures, super-short song lengths, and seemingly lazy production by the over-rated Travis Wyrick that pretty much left Disciple sounding like the power-pop version of Pillar. Disciple, a wimp-rock band? Say it ain't so! With that disappointment fresh in my mind, I approached Disciple's new project _Scars Remain_ with trepidation. Only eleven songs? Barely thirty-nine minutes? I gritted my teeth and pressed play, hoping for the best and preparing for the worst.
Scars Remain is not Disciple's best album by any stretch, but it is a heckuva lot heavier and more dynamic than Rise Up. The biggest fault with the album is Travis Wyrick's over-compressed production, which succeeds mostly in stripping the record of any dynamics. It's high-time a new producer worked with the band. Anyways, things start off with the roaring and traditionally "Disciple" "Regime Change. "Love Hate" draws from both old Stryper (the lead into the chorus strongly reminds me of "To Hell With The Devil") and modern rock; An almost Van Halen style arpeggio riff opens up the well-written "My Hell". Song four is the title track, a butt-kicking driving piece of progressive rock/metal marked by Kevin Young's most intense vocals and screams EVER - not to mention some seriously meaty and bruising riffs. Everything Disiple does great comes together for "Scars Remain"... and man let me tell you, if the rest of the album was able to match the quality of the first four tracks Scars Remain could have been Disciple's best record yet.
"Could have been." The power ballads, which have traditionally been some of Disciple's best songs, aren't even acceptable as filler. "After The World" is pretty much a Nickelback cover, while album-closing "No End At All" is almost passable but lacks the strength of other Disciple ending tracks like "Rich Man" or "One More Time." Meanwhile, heavier tracks "Game On," "Dive" and "Purpose To Melody" aren't actively bad by any means - they're just not above medicore or up to the standard of the disc's killer first four tracks. "Game On" isn't so bad as a "sports show" theme type of song (it was the theme song to a recent WWE PPV) but it becomes irritating on repeat play.
There's still some great stuff hidden on the second half of the record. "Someone" (with it's Metallica-style guitars) and "Fight For Love" (LOVE the double-kicks) are flat-out awesome. Thing is, and while reviews aren't really about math, the divide between the great tracks and poor-to-average tracks on the disc is too wide to ignore. Of eleven tracks, six are awesome. Five are not. I would have a hard time dropping my twenty bucks on six songs. But that's my opinion, your mileage may vary. Listen before you buy is all I'm sayin'.
Disciple fans who were disappointed by the weak Rise Up should come around again to everybody's favorite modern Metal-For-Jesus band. Newer or new fans may be drawn to Scars Remain hard-rocking yet accessible sound. It seems like Disciple has <I>almost</i> figured out how to marry their classic metal sounds with that more progressive, radio-friendly sound - perhaps a new producer and one more try with SRE will be the golden ticket for them. On Scars Remain though, the band only gets it half-right. Recommended if you're a Disciple fan - or if you don't like your heavy music TOO heavy (but appreciate some screamin' and shreddin'.)
Ryan Ro / hollandrow.wordpress.com
(cos the awesome six tracks? Are pretty stinkin' awesome. Buy 'em