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Disciple has returned to the indie scene after spending the last 10 years with Fair Trade Services (formerly INO). While there is no doubt that Fair Trade polished Disciple's sound and brought them to the forefront of the Christian rock scene, it made sense that Disciple, who had a pretty devout following as a heavier indie band, have returned to their more humble beginnings. Attack seems to seamlessly blend the polish of their last few albums with the heaviness of their older indie material. While you won't find anything quite as heavy as those early Disciple albums, Attack isn't really built for radio either. Kevin Young and his revolving door band bring a metal tinged hard rock sound that is undeniably Disciple -- both old and new. There are a couple of softer tracks to satisfy the fans who enjoy that side of the band, but the final track is the only true ballad present.
"Radical" opens the record with an anthem that proclaims, "Til the day I die I'll be a radical!" The term "radical" is so often used with sects of people who will do anything for their cause, but, David Platt aside, not many people have looked at Christianity in that aspect. Kevin sings about the radical acts that Jesus went through and promises to be radical in his faith as a response. The harder rocking song takes a second to slow down for a section that mimics praise and worship around the 2:25 mark. "Not just my mouth, but let my hands speak the glory of God," is repeated to acoustic guitar before jumping ahead full steam once more. The title track and "Dead Militia" follow an impressive opener with two more solid hard rock tunes. "Scarlet" is the first hint of slowing down, but it's no ballad. This somewhat softer rock song is closer to something that may be found on O God Save Us All and talks about God's forgiveness of our sins. "Unbroken" is a slower song which some may consider a ballad, but it still has more bite than your typical Disciple ballad would. "The Name" is possibly the best track present and is more reminiscent of old school Disciple. The guitars are fast and furious and some of the lyrics are borrowed from the hymn "Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus." Those fans raised in churches that played nothing but traditional hymns should definitely enjoy the new interpretation.
"Angels and Demons" has the feel of a classic metal song and talks about the strong bond we have without our Creator. Kevin screams, "There's not one thing that can separate me!" to drive his point home. The strong bass line found in "Lion" drives another enjoyable song along as well as shows off Jason Wilkes' (former vocalist of High Flight Society) chops. "Yesterday is Over" is another borderline ballad, but the guitar lead in the breaks gives it the feel of more than your typical ballad. The song is probably the softest to this point, but it's almost not even noticeable. "Kamikaze" steps the energy back up on another song with an anthematic sound. "Crazy" gives off some more of that classic metal vibe. The song is a headbanger that should bring some enjoyment from fans of older Disciple material. "The Right Time" is the perfect closer. It's a ballad with acoustic guitar leading the way, but adds some mild overdrive into the mix about half-way through. The lyrics talk about God's perfect timing and Kevin sings, "My God will make a way; (Even when it seems that there's no way.) With God it's never too late." It's a great reminder that God will always be there even in the darkest moments and that he will save the day. All we need is to have a little faith and some patience.
Disciple is back in a big way with Attack. There really isn't much to pick apart. Those wanting old school Disciple aren't going to get exactly what they want, but those wanting another O God Save Us All aren't going to get what they want either. What fans will get instead is a blend of the old and new. It's a mix of the harder edge Disciple had pre-Fair Trade and the growth and polish they got while with Fair Trade. Disciple (Kevin Young) used their time at a label to learn some lessons, grow musically, and increase their fan base. While Kevin hasn't had the comfort of a consistent band in recent years, he keeps proving he knows what he's doing. Lyrically, Attack is solid and possibly their most bold effort spiritually. There is no backing down or hiding behind his beliefs and Kevin pulls it off without mountains of clichés on the lyrics sheet. Disciple fans, old and new, should definitely give this record a spin. If you thought Disciple had gone stale, you just my find yourself pleasantly surprised. While the current line-up looks like a strange Christian rock super group of sorts (members from I Am Empire, Philmont, High Flight Society, and After Edmund are present), Attack should be in contention for best rock album of 2014.- Preview Review date: 8/22/14; Review date: 9/16/14 written by Michael Weaver of Jesusfreakhideout.com
JFH Staff's Second Opinion
I think it goes without saying that after 20 years and numerous hard-rocking albums, Disciple will one day go down as Christian rock legends. Known for being bold about their faith and beautifully blending hard rock with spine-tingling ballads, fans of Disciple have had the pleasure of enjoying these rock veterans for a long time. Now they're going the independent route like so many seem to be doing these days, giving the band full reign over the music coming out. They do not disappoint.
How else should a Disciple album start off but with chants of "until the day I die, I'm being radical" combined with hard rocking guitar strings, head-banging heaviness, and solid drumming? "Attack" follows suit perfectly with aggressive screams of "are you ready for a fight?" and "Dead Militia" compels you to bang your head. Kevin Young and company never fail to sing about the greatness of our Savior and that message is evident in "Scarlet" and "The Name," with the former showcasing how good God is to us, despite how undeserving we are, while the latter focuses on our need to be bold for our Hero. As with any Disciple album, you are bound to find some amazingly written ballads, and "Unbroken" and "Yesterday Is Over" are beautiful and fit the bill. The perfect ending to this amazing album is definitely "The Right Time." The words of "Just at the right time God comes crashing in. Just at the right time, I'm saved by His hand" sung nicely with an acoustic set delivers an emotional finale that is perfect for this release.
Now, to be entirely nitpicky here, you have two basic types of songs on "Attack" and that's the hard rock, superb drumming, in-your-face rock variety, and the super slow ballads. I suppose one could suggest a lack of creativity. While that statement might technically be true, I simply love this album. It may very well be the best Disciple work to date, and is certainly one of the best albums I have heard all year. - Review date: 9/21/14, Kevin Hoskins
JFH Staff's Additional 2 Cents
At a time when it's pretty much expected for rock music to be sanitized, if not made entirely overpolished or... fluffy, Disciple takes the independent route to crowd-fund their latest album, Attack. It's clear from the album's opener "Radical," and the consistent boldness down the line, that they're ready to go guns ablaze into the indie scene, taking with them what they've learned as a signed act but allowing their own creative freedom to shine. This means being able to take risks, like juggling vocal duties for the first time in the band's existence, with former High Flight Society vocalist Jason Wilkes adding occasional lead vocals to his Disciple resume, and not just bass. Tracks like "Lion" and "Angels and Demons" that feature Wilkes and Young together stand out as something completely different for the band - and it works beautifully. For those in favor of the band's softer side, three tracks are present to appease those listeners, while the other 9 don't back down from in-your-face, metal-flavored hard rock. Attack is absolutely refreshing and couldn't have come too soon. While all too many rock outfits are trading their chugging riffs for more modest melodies and radio-friendly cuts, it's exciting to hear a band like Disciple continuing on and just being themselves, all the while carrying the flag into battle in the name of Christ. - 9/24/14, John DiBiase of Jesusfreakhideout.com
I can't be the only one who thought it was odd that Disciple, a decidedly hard rock outfit, was signed to the same label as MercyMe, Phil Wickham, Derek Webb, and a host of other decidedly non-hard rock artists (Decyfer Down aside). And indeed, comparing Disciple's INO/Fair Trade albums to their prestigious pre-label records reveals a significantly more harnessed, accessible, and melodic sound that lost many original fans. However, a new lineup and a return to independence (not to mention bringing back longtime producer Travis Wyrick) has made the winds change, and Attack presents the unequivocal best that Kevin Young's boys have offered yet. Look no further than the blistering opening track "Radical" to judge how Disciple has combined the best of both their eras. Add to that, the hints of classic metal (courtesy of the guitar work of new members Andrew Stanton and Josiah Prince) on tracks such as "Attack," "The Name," or "Lion," and Disciple 3.0 (as the band's new lineup affectionately calls themselves) have set the stage for something special. "Radical," "Attack," "Scarlet," "Kamikaze," and "Crazy" all stand out as highlights, and every track is strong in its own right. Lyrically, Kevin Young has always possessed possibly the most overtly Christ-centered, scripture-based lyrics of anyone in Christian Rock, but the additional songwriting talents of Josiah Prince have enhanced even the lyrics, giving us scripturally-sound highlights such as the Romans 8-inspired "Angels and Demons," the hymn-quoting anthem "The Name," and the Proverbs-based lyrics of "Lion." In addition, Young and Prince have weaved together a cohesive theme of warfare imagery on most tracks. There is very little to dislike about Attack, and even that which is less stellar (most notably the relatively bland "Unbroken," the only track without songwriting contributions from Prince), is nothing to get upset about. This is a strong contender for the year's best Christian Rock album. - 9/21/14, Mark Rice of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Back in the day, the music industry worked as such: you're an independent band, you work hard at being that band, you send demos to record labels, you sign a record deal, now you're a "real" band. Nowadays, bands are dropping off of record labels on a weekly basis it seems. Now here's this rock band (that used to be a borderline metal band) called Disciple. In 2005, they released their first major label album, and my interest in the band steadily declined with each new, much more radio-friendly, album. But now, Disciple is independent again, and their first post-Fair Trade album is a rocker called Attack. When I heard the first single, "Radical," on JFH's latest compilation (which you can download here), I was impressed. This is the Disciple I loved. Of course, I was much younger then and my music taste wasn't as refined, but albums like By God and Back Again really did it for me. And while Disciple does hearken back to those days with Attack (the heaviest cover of a hymn I think I've ever heard in "The Name" being another good example), there's still a lot of mainstream rock flair to tracks like "Dead Militia," "Scarlet," "Lions," and most of the rest of the tracklist. There are a couple ballads ("Yesterday Is Over" and "The Right Time"), but the rest is primed for Christian rock radio. Fans of Disciple's label tenure may be a little jolted by Attack, but this is still mostly an album for that particular fanbase, while fans of the original Disciple may be interested in "Radical" and "The Name." - 8/30/14, Scott Fryberger of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Album length: 12 tracks: 43 minutes, 1 second
Street Date: September 23, 2014
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