Where to begin? I suppose with my search to find information on this band… Let’s just say that typing “Discipline” into Google has some entertaining results though not all of them are fit for all ages. I finally sifted through all the results & managed to find what I thought was the band… Wrong again. Instead I had stumbled onto a self-described “street rock” band from Eindhoven, Holland. Finally I found Discipline. (the period at the end of the word is their distinguishing mark) & could find out a little more about the band. They originate out of Detroit, MI & got together in 1987.
With this information & the website on hand I turned on the music. To Shatter All Accord sounds like a real rock n roll title & my expectations were high. The first notes of Circuitry played and I was ready for a solid prog rock performance. I was in for disappointment. From a nice heavy guitar entrance with just the right amount of reverb I was shaken out of my groove by lyrics that left me scratching my head in bewilderment.
“Do these clothes make me look fat? she said/Am I the apple of your eye?”
Really? These are your lyrics?? Sounds more like a therapy session than a rock song. I pressed on but the lyrics didn’t improve & the vocals, while technically proficient, are lackluster. Then there was a long instrumental section in the song & I’ve lost interest in where this song is going. The music now feels repetitive to the point I want to smack the record player to make it stop skipping….
Onto the next song & the beginning is once more filled with promise. Piano & wailing sax take the listener deep into the heart of “The Naked City” on a foggy autumn night. A driving rock guitar joins in and I can feel the danger lurking behind me… the vocals come on & I go from expecting an attack to finding out the brute I imagined is merely a milquetoast mouse looking for directions to the local library. No screaming vocals, shredding guitars or throbbing bass. When The Walls Are Down is basic rock that can be heard in any garage in America or Russia or Italy or anywhere else really.
Dead City begins and my hope slowly peeks out. Some funky keyboards along side some nice guitar and I’m digging the syncopated rhythm. A little trip to the days of Blue Oyster Cult maybe? Well if BOC were a mediocre band with no cowbell & lyrics that lacked conviction. The instrumental center (Mr. Owl, how many licks does it take to get to the center of a prog rock song?) is pretty good here & I enjoy the interlude between vocals.
I’m onto the second longest song & I’ve almost completely lost the will to sit through the rest of the album. Every time I think the band is going to unleash some face melting guitar & sky high vocals I’m left disappointed. When She Dreams She Dreams In Color is no different. The intro is more Billy Joel than Pink Floyd (don’t get me wrong I LOVE me some Billy Joel…just not when I’m supposed to be hearing prog rock). Two minutes in and I’m now skipping ahead in hopes of finding some hidden gem here. At 13:40 this is a nice song but honestly I could have done with half the music. The length of this song is begging for Shadow Gallery-esque instruments & sadly they never appear.
This album ends with the epic length Rogue. At 24:04 it should be the culmination of an epic album. Unfortunately it was almost a minute in before the song even showed signs of life. Honestly, there was nothing in the first 5 minutes to entice me to give up nearly 1/2 an hour of my life to listen to this song. I tried several times & fell asleep at least 2 of those times.
Overall there are glimpses of excellent prog rock but which makes it even more depressing that the potential is wasted. The musicians are proficient in their instruments & if you are looking for something to fill the void of silence then this fits the bill.
To Shatter All Accord (Running Time: 57 minutes)
- Circuitry - 6 minutes, 16 seconds
- When the Walls are Down - 7 minutes, 30 seconds
- Dead City - 5 minutes, 15 seconds
- When She Dreams She Dreams in Color - 13 minutes, 41 seconds
- Rogue - 24 minutes, 04 seconds
Cover art: Graem Whyte
Jon Preston Bouda