Thursday, October 28, 2010

Disciple: Horseshoes & Handgrenades review


I’ve never been a big fan of Disciple… until now. When I first popped the band’s latest project Horseshoes and Handgrenades into my stereo player, I was blown away. Full of encouraging rock anthems with extremely Christian messages, I found Disciple’s latest project to be one of the best hard rock projects I have heard in years.

Beginning with strings on “Dear X (You Don’t Own Me),” and then building up to the full sound of driving guitars, Disciple delivers their first single from this project. Speaking to pain, shame, hate, and anger, it comes as a powerful reminder of our freedom of these through Christ. “Watch It Burn” explodes into hard rock and screaming lyrics of burning the hell in our lives: “To all the anarchy inside we can’t escape/ Set it off let it all burn down/ To all the hell inside that’s been controlling me/ Set it off, set it off, watch it all burn down!” This track seemed to really set the album off to a good start within the first two tracks.

“Invisible” is a touch slower than “Watch It Burn,” sounding a bit more like “Dear X,” and is written from the perspective of God talking to someone who feels worthless. The highlight proved to be the second half of the second verse: “I need you to believe Me/ can you trust Me/ That what you see, is not what I see/ The reflection in the mirror’s telling lies/ Cause nothing you have done could change how much I love you.” I also enjoyed the one-minute instrumental at the end of the track , which fades out and brings in “The Ballad of St. Augustine.”

“The Ballad of St. Augustine” opens with a cool drum solo that leads into Disciple’s hard rock sound. Interestingly, this track featured two choruses, as it lamented how disgusting our sin is, and our utter desire to have God cleanse us: “Right was wrong when wrong went right/ I’m fading/ Black has turned to gray inside/ And I know that I need saving, can You save me?/ Take me away to where You are/ Cause I won’t leave without it.” I really admired the writer’s mix of Scriptures into one really good lyrically driving song. I also loved the overlapping of the screaming in the verses.  “Shot Heard ‘Round the World’ seemed to be the highlight of the whole album! Opening up with the screaming: “With my bloody fists raised to the sky!” and crashing into a hard rock scene, it very much resembles the sound of Thousand Foot Krutch, as Kevin’s blaring vocals sound much like that of TFK’s Trevor. This track on Disciple’s latest project seemed to be a prologue to “Revolution: Now,” a later track on this record.

“Collision” actually slows things down a bit, but still contains a steady tempo. I found the lyrics of this track to be quite interesting, as they spoke of colliding with God, rather than running away from Him anymore. I especially enjoyed the short pre-chorus: “Strip this away if it’s what it takes/ I’m ready to break!” Even though a bit slower than most tracks on the record, Kevin’s hoarse but good voice made it a very good listen.

“Battle Lines” was borderline heavy metal, with another strongly Scriptural track, written by lead-singer Kevin Young and Andrew Welch. I found the second verse to be great lyrically: “even if His hand doesn’t save us/ we will never bow our face tonight (Daniel 3:17-18)/ since the second Adam has rescued/ we’ll be looking to raise up when we die (1 Corinthians 15:42-52).” The whole track contains Scriptural content about never giving in to the enemy, even if it means death. “Remedy,” immediately follows, a track about the end of ourselves and the remedy we find in God. A little disappointedly, this track was more contemporary/rock than hard rock. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this track makes it’s way to the top of rock charts, as it has already been used to promote the band’s latest project Horseshoes and Handgrenades.

“Eternity” is yet another driving rock track written as a sequel to a previous hit from the band, “Things Left Unsaid.” Instead of lamenting over the eminent death of a loved one, “Eternity” speaks of the hope we have to see one another again in heaven. “Where the desert is covered in roses/ where I can outshine the stars in a single day/ the face of God isn’t hidden/ when I wake into eternity/ where the shadows are never discovered/ tears are nothing more than a memory/ death isn’t alive any longer/ when I wake into eternity.” Because of it’s content, this track is almost a bit emotional, especially considering it’s prelude “Things Left Unsaid.” “Revolution: Now” follows, starting with a cool guitar effect, almost sounding like ringing bells. I loved how the track would slow down in certain parts, and then explode into the hard rock. The highlight of this track was the end of the first verse mixed with the pre-chorus: “And our march is shaking the ground/ and now we’re running to tear these idols down/ send the flares, revolution’s coming now!”

“Deafening” was my favorite track on Horseshoes and Grenades, beginning similarly to a Fireflight rock anthem. Actually written by Disciple’s lead singer Kevin Young and Stellar Kart’s front man Adam Agee, and musically arranged by Kevin, Adam, Jon Howard, and Kutless’ Nick Departee, this track is good in every way: lyrics, music, vocals – everything. This track is all about how God is never far away from us, even when we try to run away from Him: “Every time I run away/ I hear Your voice inside of me/ it’s deafening! can’t fight it, can’t fight it.”

Finally, Horseshoes and Grenades is closed with “Worth The Pain.” First beginning with a beautiful piano sound, and then changing into the hard Disciple sound, “Worth The Pain” shares an encouraging message of growing through the things we suffer: “It’s worth the pain/
God’s in the rain/ it’s not too late to start again/ it’s worth the pain/ so hold on tonight.” Just when you think the song has come to a close, it stirs up again, making for an unexpected turn. I also enjoyed the strings that were mingled in with the hard rock. This track was the perfect closing for an album such as this.

Disciple’s Horseshoes and Grenades was superb! I have heard many good hard rock albums, but Disciple’s was one of the best that I have heard in quite some time. I very much enjoyed taking in the lyrics that were practically Scripture added to extremely hard rock, borderline heavy metal. In every way, this was an excellent project!

Rating: 5/5
Release date: September 14, 2010

Track listing:
1. Dear X (You Don’t Own Me)
2. Watch It Burn
3. Invisible
4. The Ballad of St. Augustine
5. Shot Heard ‘Round the World
6. Collision
7. Battle Lines
8. Remedy
9. Eternity
10. Revolution: Now
11. Deafening
12. Worth the Pain

4 comments:

  1. HeY,
    I have been going backand forth about getting this cd, but now with ur review I think I need it!
    I love TFK and so that sold me on it! thanks and keep on doing these reviews they r great!

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  2. 5 out of 5? Wow! Now I'm REALLY interested in getting that album. :)

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  3. Anon: Thanks! Glad you like the review. P.S. Do I know you from twitter??? :)

    Justin: You should get it. It is the BEST ROCK EVAH!! :)

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  4. I want this cd so much! I waited so long for it to come out, but by the time it came out I had no money... lol Thanks for the review!

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