Tuesday, February 17, 2015


Good evening once again fellow progheads!  Having spent the first six weeks of 2015 traveling with a passport in search of all things prog, I decided to take the Concert Closet back to the good ol' USA for the next seven days.  I wanted my "homecoming" to be a worthwhile journey filled with anticipation...there must be a band somewhere in America fully engulfed in progressive music that has yet to grab my attention.  With the GPS set for "Domestic Prog" and a yearning for some deep layers, strong keyboards, and intense guitar work, I find the Concert Closet drawn to the Motor City and the powerful sound of Discipline.

Calling themselves an "...independent progressive rock band..." Discipline leaves much to the imagination--and my imagination usually functions in overdrive.  The name itself conjures up some creative illustrations; a King Crimson-like band that paints with a vivid brush, or perhaps a metal sound that throws amplifiers at you like missiles launched in battle...lots of random thoughts rolling around in my cranium...

...so rather than envision their sound, I find it much more effective to make my way directly to the buffet. My first helping is a song called "Crutches."  The music unfolds delicately at first--so you don't notice the sharp edges.  Vintage Uriah Heep seems to ooze from the headphones as the emotions build on guitars and drums.  Discipline tees up your senses and pounds them squarely with a mallet. Hard-hitting vocals are enveloped between thick walls of sound that run the gambit of imagery and expression...thirteen plus minutes of  prog chaos and mayhem.

Choosing carefully (each serving seems to be a full course), selection  number two is a tune called "When the Walls are Down."  Discipline comes out stalking, like a tiger tracking dinner. The vocals strike first; you can almost feel the blood fill the scratches on the inside of your skull. The music is dark and portentous as the tension builds, forcing itself to the surface.  Discipline dug deep in the prog garden looking for the darkest, richest soil in which to lay roots.

Liner Notes...Calling Detroit, MI their home port, Discipline has been making progressive music since 1987.  As is the life of many a band, Discipline survived a few line-up changes.  The artists presently calling themselves members of this prog outfit are Matthew Parmenter on vocals, saxophone, guitars, keyboards, and violin, Jon Preston Bouda on lead guitar, Matthew Kennedy on bass, and Paul Dzendzel on drums.  Apparently Matt Parmenter couldn't carry a drum kit while balancing at least one instrument from every other section of the orchestra...

Despite taking their name from a King Crimson album, Discipline has stronger top notes of early Genesis and Be Bop Deluxe.  I also detect aromas of Marillion and Transatlantic along with instrumental stretches reminiscent of the Alan Parsons Project.  Discipline has tilled soil in multiple sections of the prog garden and the resulting offshoots criss-cross the genre like lattice work in a vineyard.  Discipline is comfortable playing metal, classic, symphonic, and even avant-garde prog. Their synergy is more than just nearly three decades together; it is a kinship of the soul.

I decided to take a full plate from the buffet since it was my last selection for the week, and I discovered a  haunting song called "Before the Storm."  This piece starts  out slow, in an almost deceptive attempt to lure you in.  The initial rhythmic, methodical pulse is soon followed by a church-like organ that opens the gates for guitars to gracefully waltz through your headphones. Listening to each instrument meld into the others takes me to my prog happy place...there is so much going on you need to hear it to fully understand.  The realization that four people created the sound permeating the inner lining of my head is astounding.  Discipline may criss-cross the prog genre--but they outright own their section of the garden.  The mood and tempo shift so many times in this song I am dizzy from the euphoric ride.

The piece I chose to post for your weekly prog sampling is another mind-boggler.  It was difficult to narrow down the choices, but "Canto IV" nails what Discipline is about.  Pour a glass and dim the lights before taking this ride.  The abrupt opening awakens your senses in preparation for fifteen minutes of prog splendor.  Discipline is quite adept with a scalpel, cutting with surgical precision through layers of cartilage and sinew to get right to the heart.  Learn more about Discipline at http://www.strungoutrecords.com/.  You will also find them on Twitter @DisciplineBand   and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/DisciplineBand .

What a week fellow progheads!  Discipline was an experience in the truest sense of what today's progressive music has to offer.  There are many--dare I say hundreds--of prog bands that set out to redefine the genre; traveling their way at their pace, carving out a path previously unexplored. Discipline takes that up a notch with a sound that is unique while pulling from so many prog "tributaries."  They did not put it all in a Waring blender and spew forth a "different" style...rather they absorbed it all in and breathed life into an entirely new sound.  Never thought I would say this, but I now have a reason to go to Detroit! Anxious for what else lies in wait out there in the prog universe...until next week...


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