Posted August 29, 2014
By MaryNikkel_NRT, Staff Reviewer
Attack, the latest from hard rock outfit Disciple, is the first release since a lineup reinvention that leaves frontman Kevin Young the only remaining member since the release of 2012's O God Save Us All. Band members aren't the only thing new in Disciple's world: they're also finding their footing on the independent artist playing field, this new project being the result of an incredibly successful fan funding campaign.
Given the nearly simultaneous additions of Josiah Prince (guitar), Andrew Stanton (guitar), Jason Wilkes (bass) and Joey West (drums), fans might expect to hear a sonic disconnect on Attack, or at least some evidence of the challenge presented by such a massive transition. It's a testament both to Kevin Young's ability to helm his band and to each member's incredible musicianship in their own right that no such snag occurs, leaving us with one of the most solid offerings from the band to date.
For their foray into independence, the band returned to producer Travis Wyrick, who produced the majority of the band's discography for the first decade and a half of their career. It may be this partnership coupled with the band's new-found freedom that creates the classic Disciple sound immediately apparent on lead single "Radical," which kicks the album off on a high note.
Tracks like scorcher "The Name" and title cut "Attack" will satiate longtime fans who have been hoping for a sound more similar to the band's earlier work, providing straight forward, solid guitar hooks from new guitarists Andrew Stanton and Josiah Prince alongside aggressive vocals and lyrics touting an unabashed gospel message.
Although the classic aggressive Disciple sound is present, it's tempered by the melodic maturity gained on the band's last two releases. The anthemic "Dead Militia" employs rallying gang vocals and a crunchy guitar bed with a refreshingly clean melody that makes the song instantly singable for audiences (as proved by the enthusiastic reception the track has already received on the tour and festival circuit this year). More mellow "Yesterday is Over" also offers a smooth, instantly memorable melody to match its gentle but earnest call to leave the past behind and step into our new identity in Christ.
Lyrically, this album is as straight-shooting when it comes to the gospel as old school offerings were, but with the most grounded presentation yet. Kevin Young's passion for the gospel and the Bible has consistently driven the group's songwriting direction, and independence seems to have opened the door for that passion to be expressed with complete openness. "Scarlet" is one of the most moving, breathtaking musical presentations of the grace of Jesus Christ released by any band in years. "Angels and Demons" draws on bass player Jason Wilkes's soaring, polished vocal tones to create a call-and-response sound as the song references Romans 8:38-39, declaring that nothing could separate us from the love of God.
As the title suggests, much of this album addresses conflict, specifically the spiritual conflict of a believer trying to embrace and embody light in a world where darkness is actively moving against them. Hard-hitting "Lion" is a call to action, exhorting believers to be "bold like a lion" in the midst of that conflict. This track is largely carried vocally by Jason Wilkes, who utilizes the hauntingly clear vocal tones developed in his years as frontman of High Flight Society.
Album highlight "Unbroken" will satisfy newer fans as it gives a stylistic nod to songs like "Dear X" and "Draw The Line." This track honestly expresses the way all the heartaches that come against us can leave us weary, but also declares unshakable hope that He can preserve us, no matter what we face: "so let the sky fall down, the earthquake shake the ground / whatever comes my way I know that / I'm coming out the other side unbroken." "The Right Time" is another smoother ballad-style offering, describing our deepest needs encountering God's relentless compassion.
This album is one of the strongest of Disciple's career, promising to be an instant favorite with the fans who made it possible. Attack is built of ferocious guitar riffs, swelling melodies, searing vocals and a provoking and compelling declaration of the gospel that instantly sweeps the listener into spiritual awareness. Despite the lineup revolution, this album has Disciple's identity stamped on it more firmly than perhaps ever before, lending the album momentum born of confidence and dedication to its message.
As a longtime Disciple fan, this album was exactly what I hoped it would be. With elements present from every era of Disciple's history, from abrasive hard rock grit to soothing melodic ballads, this album is sure to claim a treasured spot in the collection of any hard rock fan.
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