DISCIPLE “SKELETON PSALMS” ALBUM REVIEW
By Colin Cruz, TheBlast.FM Program Director
I never thought I’d hear gospel music (or what used to be referred to as “black gospel”), on a Disciple album, but those are the opening sounds of their new record Skeleton Psalms, which comes out April 28th on BEC/Tooth & Nail Records. But as long as Kevin Young’s band has been around, there is no need to question his modus operandi. It works.
You’ve heard the shrill screams and monstrous guitars of the lead track The Executioner on both The Blast and The Implosion (oh YEAH, it’s that heavy) over the last 15 weeks. So what does the rest of the album sound like?
If this album was a radio station, going from track 1 to track 2 Promise To Live, it would be a train wreck, as this is a beautiful pop-rock song with a pretty soft melodic intro. But when the magnificence of this song is realized, that is quickly forgotten. This song appears to go out to all who struggle with life’s regrets…and thoughts of suicide.
Regrets, cutting, drugs, thoughts of suicide. The struggle is real. Promise To Live is so heartfelt. “This is where redemption lives. All your death will be resurrected again. This is not your downfall. It is not your curtain call. It’s only the start”. As I listened to this song for the first time, I felt God reassuring me and us that He is so in love with who we are. This song brings tears to my eyes. “I vow to hold you till you break through, just swear you’ll stay alive”. If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, I encourage you to listen to this song and hold tight to the mighty arms of Jesus!
Since the album is called Skeleton Psalms and track 3 is Skeleton Psalm…it is the closest thing there is to a title track on this collection of tunes. This hard driving grinder finds Kevin Young pressing into Jesus, wanting more… “I need a new love, a liberation, I need a real self-revelation, I need to know what I am living for…show me the world you want me reaching for.”
Bad Words starts out with some all-out screaming from Mister Young mixed in with fierce guitar work from Andrew Stanton and Josiah Prince and relentless drumming from Joey West, and it stays on a brutal METAL track throughout! Kevin won’t apologize for his faith in this upside-down Bizarro World we live in, where right is wrong and wrong is right. Wow, this song is jaw-droppingly amazing both musically and lyrically:
“I’ve got these bad words foaming at my mouth. Kicking my teeth out. My philosophy is your profanity. You can ban these bad words foaming at my mouth but you can’t censor the sound. Your obscenity is my identity. He who Christ sets free is free indeed. I won’t apologize. Nothing’s gonna silence my beliefs.”
Resurrecting Reasons answers the question…will the Disciple power ballads continue now that Disciple’s altar ego worship band Honor & Glory is in existence? And the answer is yes! That makes sense, as the Honor & Glory songs are vertical and this tune is horizontal. We get some southern rock vocal stylings from Young in this ditty. And we get to hear the word Jesus a lot on this album. I think that is 3 songs so far, and I love it. And with this band, it’s not for the JPM’s…they mean it, and they feel it…and you’ll feel the resurrection power of Jesus in this song.
Dawning Of Deliverance starts out really heavy. Is this going to be a melody of old Deliverance songs? No, of course not. Ah, but the guitar solo will get 80’s metal fans excited. “You pull me under the water so I can breathe again. This is the dawning of deliverance”. This heavy banger reminds us how we come to new life in Jesus Christ and that we need to fix our eyes on Him.
20:20 Blind Wasn’t that the name of an obscure Christian Rock band? This track has a theme of casting off the sadness and the misery and the naysayers and only listening to what God’s report is for your situation.
“Don’t wanna hear another lie of a sad song. Tonight I feel what I haven’t felt in so long. Just let me ride to the rhythm of your love song and get swept away. All I see is you. When I’m 20/20 Blind.” Have some things in your past you need to let go of? Listen to this…
“You’re shining down all over me…your glory lighting up my face…my past is burning in your grace.” Ooh, I love that.
Scapegoat has an awesome intro…the beginning of this sounds like an 80’s space video game meets the sound of listening for aliens meets industrial music. Well, kind of. What do you hear? The deeper I get into this album, the more it hits me…I used to think of Disciple as a hard rock band, but dude…they are so metal. And I love it! Feeling some industrial undertones in this song, too, and that’s a good thing. Hey maybe we can get them to do a whole industrial song on their next album…maybe involve Travis Wyrick and/or Jason Wisdom of Death Therapy in the venture? On that note, how about a collab with John Cooper of Skillet?
The intro to Bow Down made me go…what the heck?…so creative, musically. You’ll just have to hear it. I think the lyrics here are “The hand of the Father is my shield and my dagger. The blood of Messiah is my torch and my fire….” Wow, the guitars on this album have made my blue eyes get big on multiple occasions.
Alright, turn on the light on your smart phone and wave your arm back and forth in the air. For The Life Of Me, the final song on the album is by far the mellowest track. A nice soft landing after the ramping, jarring organized chaos of the previous 9 tracks.
I give Skeleton Psalms 5 stars out of 5.