After 20 years of existence, Disciple released their tenth album, O God, Save Us All. The four rockers bring us 11 songs recorded in a studio but clearly crafted to be performed live.
Marching through the album in the usual Disciple manner, the album won't be a disappointment to fans. From the opening track "Outlaws" all the way to the classic last song "Trade A Moment", Disciple builds on their strengths. Kevin Young's distinct vocals, straight-forward rock riffs on guitar and bass, mixed with some really cool sounding drums, the band was able to create a well nuanced CD.
As well as their incredibly tight sound - the band plays as one unit, with no space left between their instruments and vocals - Scripture and the relationship to God runs deep throughout the album. As the title says, our need for a Savior God is the theme along the way. In writing, Young's approach was to mirror the life of a Christian, a soundtrack for life so to say. Our own falling short, mislead and blinded by Satan, leaving us with a desire to be free are the red thread through all the songs.
Highlights of the record are clearly "O God Save Us All" and "Unstoppable". The title track has great lyrics, supporting the overall message of the album. The drums pound through the three minutes of music, with Young blasting his message of our need for Salvation.
About two thirds through the record, after some slower songs, "Unstoppable" raises the bar again. Crashing cymbals, double kicks, and heavy distortion take over. Disciple bring the call to war, not only in their sound but also in their lyrics. The promise of God's Victory is to encourage our fight in the Spiritual sense. God's people will stand and Disciple is here to bring the sound for the marching army of the King.
For the bigger part of "O God Save Us All," the band mainly sounds like themselves (and that's a good thing), with some passages reminding me of bands like The Showdown or hints of hardcore coming through. The big surprise though lies in "Once And For All" and "Someday". These two songs sound incredibly like the Linkin Park of a few years ago, and the chorus in "Once And For All" even reminded a bit of a piece of music Skillet could have written.
Overall, "O God Save Us All" is a classic Disciple record. Heavy guitars, drums that will have you stomping along and Kevin Young's really cool, scratchy voice make Disciple stand out among other bands. The 20 years of experience show, and live on stage, these songs are going to do the trick.
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For a band that has held their own in the Christian hard rock arena for nearly two decades, the temptation might be to settle into the well-worn path forged by albums past. With 2010's Horseshoes and Handgrenades, Disciple proved that they had no intention of taking the easy way out. Two years later, while the singles "Dear X (You Don't Own Me)" and "Invisible" are still garnering significant radio play, the band is back with a fresh set of tunes that draws heavily on both old roots and more recent conventions to create the bleakly titled opus O God Save Us All.
The album kicks in with "Outlaws," a blistering anthem for the abused and forgotten. The feel-good rock-and-roll vibe sets this song up perfectly for fist-pumping crowd participation. The title track ("O God Save Us All") follows, serving up solid hard rock grit from the moment front man Kevin Young spits the opening lines: "I've had a bad three days coming off of a bad three years." Longtime fans might catch faint hints of stylistic elements from older albums such as Back Again and By God in the frantic, scratched backing vocals.
"RIP" shakes the solid guitar work of Micah Sannan and Andrew Welch to the surface with some crunchy riffs supporting lyrics celebrating surrender to new life in Christ as we leave our past lives behind.
"Once And For All" slows the pace down, fading in on a steady swell of strings and a layer of choral-style backing vocals. The more accessible sound of this cut provides the potential for a future radio single, as does the deeply cathartic chorus's cry, "Now I stand face to face with the light of Your grace / and the weight of all my shame begins to fall once and for all."
"Someday" follows in a similar vein musically, although it takes a slightly more upbeat lyrical direction. The strong central melody directs the listener towards a future beyond the shadowlands we live in, looking through the lens of hope provided by Christ. The album version of the record's lead single, "Draw The Line," lands in the middle of the collection. The track is an earnest, deeply honest conversation between an aching heart and God, crying for the change that can only come through surrender.
After several more mellow tunes in a row, "Kings" crashes in with a driving beat framing the scorching guitar hook. "Unstoppable" is another crushing rock track, highlighting solid drum fills from drummer Trent Reiff and signature scalding screams from Kevin Young. The song is a fight song, a challenge declaring, "One by one they will fall / and there's nothing they can do about it / You're unstoppable."
The well-balanced musical arranging is matched by equally seamless songwriting. Many of the selections offer the strongest writing we've ever heard from the band, a trend exemplified on "The One." The tight anthem hammers out the words, "you won't ever face this fight alone / we bleed one for all / we bleed all for one." The refrain leans heavily on the momentum of forceful gang vocals.
"Beautiful Scars" could be a sequel to past Disciple songs "After the World" and "Invisible." This is an earnest anthem for the children of God ransomed from their vices, an infusion of encouragement for the ones coming out of a struggle: "We were the bruised, we were the broken / We don't live in pieces anymore." The album closer, "Trade a Moment," breaks some new ground for the band, introducing female backing vocals and maintaining an unusually chill tone. The gentle love song is a ballad that will ring true for those who have endured long separations from their loved ones. The mellow chorus wraps up with the vulnerable declaration "of all the things in my life that I could rewrite, I wouldn't trade a moment with you."
O God Save Us All is a dynamic collection of hard rock hymns, showcasing Disciple's ability to create both raw anthems and symphonic ballads. As the title would imply, it is an album for the fight, a collection of songs for the wanderers seeking to step more fully into the new identity of hope defined by Jesus. This is a project well worth picking up for both dedicated Disciple listeners and rock fans looking for a solid hard rock record that hasn't been watered down. The album offers enough of the familiarity of the band's past style to satisfy dedicated listeners while refusing to settle for status quo, pushing on instead to craft fresh intricate riffs and vibrant lyrics that make this album stand distinct.
Disciple just blew my mind| Posted November 15, 2012
I am enjoying this album so much, i haven't stopped listening to it since the album was being previewed last week. I can't stop! this is the best album since Scars Remain, the ones after were really good but THIS ONE is just beyond amazing. i love the lyrics of all the songs, i especially love how after all these years they still show the truth of the gospel in their lyrics.
There isn't any song that i dont relate to, is unbelieveable there is usually just one song that gives me chills and makes me cry and worship in this album theres a few.
If you are reading this and you haven't got the album yet. YOU need to get it!! don't even think about it and just get it!! :)
Amazing!| Posted November 11, 2012
Disciple's music in general is great, but this may be their best CD yet! They still have their hard rock elements but they also slow down in a couple songs too.
The song that says "This is where I draw the line" is my favorite!
Great Title| Posted November 09, 2012
Loved the beat, really picked my mood up for the day, cant wait till it comes out. This will be my first cd from Disciple. I'm sure my Youth Group Uth will Love it too!! I really like the fact that you can make hard rock into postive music for today's youth and give them positve role model's to look up to. Keep doing what you doing!
20 Years Later and Still Bringing It| Posted November 07, 2012
Disciple's latest album O God Save Us All is proof that the band hasn't lost their touch in the two decades they've been around. The trademarks are all here, from vocalist Kevin Young's gruff screams to the fist pumping, adrtenaline fuled anthem songs, everything you want from a Disciple album is here. While the band's sound hasn't changed all that much, it's still a fun listen. This album is another solid addition to Disciple's discography though it isn't their best work. I still find Horseshoes & Handgrenades worthy of that catagory. Nonetheless, O God Save Us All gives us more of what we want from Disciple, and it's not a bad thing at all.
Giant step forward| Posted November 07, 2012
The new Disciple CD O God Save Us All is a huge step forward, the production is amazing and the musicianship is ever better. They have really hit it on the head here. Heavy rockin' songs with catchy melodies, not an easy task by any means. This is a must have CD for any hard rock loving Christian. I just love this one. My advise go out and get this one as soon as possible.
Not dissapointed| Posted November 06, 2012
What sounds like a continuance of great Rock-N-Worship music from this band. they never seem to dissapoint with heart felt lyrics and a beat that will keep you upliftted. Looking foward to the release!!!
Awesome Album| Posted November 06, 2012
Love these guys, they sure didn't dissapoint with "O God Save Us All." This album has those heavy riffs and sick solos that I love them for, and even some slow songs to mix it up. Bottom line, if you aren't planning to get it, then you need to change your mind, like now! Give these guys a listen, you won't regret it