Disciple rocked the masses last year when the longtime indie metal band released their first national record, the self-titled Disciple. Churning out a few smash hits, including the impossibly catchy "The Wait Is Over," Disciple had established themselves as a force to be reckoned with in hard rock music. Now, over a year later, the guys are back with Scars Remain, a ferocious rock album that matches the catchiness of the highlights from their previous efforts, while bringing back more of the vicious roots the band began with.
Many of the tracks on Scars Remain offer plenty of variety within themselves that alternate between the throat-shredding and the melodious. "Regime Change" opens the record with a simmering intro that soon explodes into a frenzy. The record never strays too far from just being a modern metal exhibit of energy, twisting and turning between the mellifluous and the brutally vivacious. Actually, one thing's evident while listening to Scars Remain, it hardly ever eases off the gas. "Love Hate (On & On)" is sort of a cry out to God over struggles between the two extremes, offering a healthy mix of screaming and singing for a pop-metal anthem, while "My Hell" falls under almost arena metal. The title track breaks out the double bass drums and 80's guitar licks with plenty of modern influence to keep it relevant, especially when Kevin Young's strong vocal tone gives way to complete guttural screaming. "Game On" works in a bit of Limp Bizkit influence for a pounding battle cry, while "Someone" almost touches on speed metal in a way that would have made Staple grin, before the song breaks into a similar song structure and approach as their hit "The Wait Is Over" (but remains an album highlight regardless).
While much of the album takes a schizophrenic approach to songwriting that keeps the listener guessing where the song just might go next, there's one significant area in which Disciple trips up on Scars Remain: rock ballads. Within the very first second of "After The World," Young's vocals clearly wear a distinct resemblance to the desperate utterances of Nickelback's Chad Kroeger. Heaven knows music doesn't need another Kroeger impressionist (let alone the real thing), and Young's lack of vocal originality steals from the impact of the record. Young proves he's got the pipes to carry a song whether it's crooning a soft melody or letting out a blood curdling scream, so it just gives off a cheapened feel to hear him sing this way. "Dive," "Fight For Love," and "Purpose To Melody" succeed the ballad misstep, and bring the record back to the forceful rock of the earlier tracks (with the latter serving as the perfect example of what it might sound like if Pillar took a few pointers from Common Children). But Scars Remain gives the rock ballad another shot with its softer, more tender closer, "No End At All." While Young's vocals feel more at home on this particular ballad, the music itself feels a bit out of place on Scars Remain, having the album come to a screeching halt, ending on a less impressive, anticlimactic note.
After the dust clears from its whirlwind, what remains after listening to Disciple's latest venture, is a solid rock album with a few bumps along the way, but ends up being one real extended adrenaline rush from beginning to end. A spiritually bold record that offers a positive message set to a metal soundtrack, Scars Remain is one of the strongest hard rock albums you may hear this Fall.- Review date: 11/5/06, written by John DiBiase
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