Album Review: Discipline – Captives of the Wine Dark Sea

By Ryan Falla

Good ol’ fashioned prog rock is not a common thing these days, especially not American based prog rock. That’s exactly what Discipline brings us with their fifth studio release, ‘Captives of the Wine Dark Sea’; a record that further cements their running as one of, if not the finest modern prog rock bands. Based out of Detroit, Discipline brings us a fine amalgamation of all things prog, the basis of their music being the original European prog rock movement of the late ’60s.

Matthew Parmenter puts on a lite-Peter Gabriel front as Discipline performs a nice, subtle variety of prog tracks that are more accessible to the average listener. The record starts out with an incredibly refreshing track for the tired ears of prog fans relying on the classics of Yes and the like, amongst the few notable under-the-radar prog rock like Camel. This isn’t your complicated, over-the-top progressive rock like E.L.P, so you don’t have to worry about shredding your ears off with music that requires an almost robotic ear to pick up on. Everything here is smooth, it’s easy to listen to and the first track makes that apparent.

The energy bumps up from easy listening prog to a heavier rock focus with ‘Life Imitates Art’, the verse made of slamming keyboards and heavy guitar work while spinning in and out of the orthodox, operatic chorus work.  The introduction to the record,  with ‘The Body Yearns’ and ‘Life and Imitates Art’, may set a smooth footing, yet the third track blasts it off into oblivion.

‘S’ pulls the album into ‘Larks Tongue in Aspic’ by King Crimson territory, a seriously off-the-wall track with a focus on unorthodox chord shifting work (as per usual with prog). Much of this record falls into the lighter, Genesis/Camel type prog. Prog rock is always difficult to translate into words, so many unorthodox and atypical elements coming together in the strangest ways to create music, but Discipline do a mighty fine job of it.

‘Captives of the Wine Dark Sea’ is an easy listening prog record, as it mostly spins through more concentrated tunes that play with a more approachable version of prog rock. The majority of ‘Captives of the Wine Dark Sea’ features the more easy-going style of prog that came to be after the genre crashed and burned on the backs of its own self-indulgence, leading to the era of prog bands going radio friendly to survive. Although this is the case, there are a few tracks that spin into the mind-warping style of classic prog.

As with all prog bands, there needs to be a track spanning at least 15 minutes, and Discipline delivers with the track ‘Burn the Fire Upon the Rocks’; a track that takes on an atmospheric approach based on the operatic stylings of the band. Very reminiscent of ‘Tales from Topographic Oceans’ by Yes.

All in all, Discipline puts together a top-notch prog rock record with ‘Captives of the Wine Dark Sea’; a sentence not often spoken in this day and age. A genre that’s been left in time, probably for the best reasons, shows life with this album, which recalls to the days of Peter Gabriel’s Genesis; a fine era of music that is well worth revisiting with new material. Prog rock is not an easy genre to attempt to take command of, and not many bands attempt to in the modern day.

Discipline takes complete command of prog rock to put together a record that stands strong in the modern era while recalling the forgotten days of the genre.

Rating: 8.5/10

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Record Label: Laser’s Edge
Release Date: July 7th 2017

Track Listing:
1. The Body Yearns (9:25)
2. Life Imitates Art (4:19)
3. S (4:11)
4. Love Songs (3:43)
5. Here There Is No Soul (3:20)
6. The Roaring Game (6:11)
7. Burn the Fire Upon the Rocks (14:32)

Total Duration: 45:21

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