Sunday, September 20, 2020

DISCIPLE "Love Letter Kill Shot Deluxe Edition"


(c) 2020 Tooth & Nail Records

  1. Cuff The Criminal
  2. Reanimate
  3. Wake Up
  4. Panic Room (Featuring Andrew Schwab of Project 86)
  5. Play To Win
  6. Fire Away
  7. Misery
  8. Chemical Wisdom
  9. Never Too Late
  10. Touch of Pain
  11. Walk With Me
  12. Best Thing Ever
  13. Darkness Dies (New)
  14. Enemy (New)
  15. Kingdom Come (New)
Kevin Young--Lead Vocals
Josiah Prince--Guitar, Bass, Backing Vocals
Andrew Stanton--Guitars
Joey West--Drums, Backing Vocals

Additional Musicians
Dane Allen--Backing Vocals
Andrew Schwab--Guest Vocals on "Panic Room"

Okay, allow me to rant for just a second.  I LOVE when bands release new music.  Love it.  It is something that I look forward to with great anticipation, whether it is new bands that I am excited to hear from for the first time, or long-established favorites that I get to hear something new from.  It just gets me jacked up thinking about it!  BUT...I hate, and I mean HATE, when bands re-issue an album that isn't even two years old with new material on it (Skillet, I'm looking at you!).  I'm then left with three choices, none of which makes me very happy.  One, I can re-purchase the entire album, and then have to figure out what to do with the original.  Two, I can digitally purchase the new songs and then rip the original CD and burn it again with the new songs included.  Three, I can just live without the music.  Well, option three ain't happening, folks, which really leaves only options one and two, and neither is ideal.  And with Disciple, you only have option two because the three new tracks are only available as digital downloads (which could send me off on an entirely different rant, but I'll let that go for another day).  Why not just hold off until you have two or three more songs, maybe a remix and a live track also, and then drop a physical EP?  I get that with the lack of touring going on bands need to come up with ways to generate an income, and I am more than happy to help out in that arena, but I am still a physical-product guy and I hate being backed into the digital-only corner.  Anyway...rant over...for now....

Disciple has re-released their latest album, Love Letter Kill Shot with three new tracks, much to the excitement of a fairly rabid fanbase.  I have attended a lot of shows from a lot of bands, and I haven't come across many bands that have the devotion that Disciple fans have, which is an awesome thing since Disciple is also a band that gives a lot back to their fans.  It's a truly symbiotic relationship.  As such, I am certain the band is currently selling thousands of downloads of the three new tracks, and probably hundreds of downloads of the new album in its entirety.  Me, I just went with the three new tracks, which I then burned onto a CD with the entire album to make my own "deluxe CD-R" of the album.  According to Joey West on a live Instagram video earlier this summer, there are currently no plans to put out a physical re-issue of the album, although that could change at some point OR, as I mentioned in my rant above, I could see the songs being released at a later point on an EP, similar to what the band did with the Vultures EP a few years ago.  

For the purpose of this particular review, I will only be covering the new songs.  If you want to go back and read my thoughts on the full Love Letter Kill Shot album, just click on the album title and you can check that out. (Hint...I love this record!)  

The first of the three new tracks is, in my opinion, by far the best, and one of my favorite Disciple songs in years...which is saying a lot.  I absolutely love "Darkness Dies"!!  The album kicks off with some electronic elements, but then a big, aggressive drum fill from Joey fires the song into motion, and once the rhythm guitars kick in, things are off and running.  Again, there are some subtle electronic elements running beneath the first verse, which Kevin delivers with a slightly breathy approach, before the pre-chorus hits telling the listener to "put your money where your mouth is, put your faith in what you're doubting, if there's no telling where the Truth is, they why (do) you keep looking?!"  From here, the soaring chorus bursts forth, with Kevin singing, "I'm not a savior, I'm just a man, and I'll let you down if you give me a chance...", imploring people to seek the Light rather than look to man for answers to their struggles in life.  Following the second chorus run there is a breakdown of sorts, and while there is no true guitar solo, the six string work here is top notch and aggressive!  I repeat this song two or three times every time it comes up, no exaggeration.

"Enemies" is up next, and it is, in my opinion, everything "Darkness Dies" is not.  "Enemies" starts off with an angry-sounding Kevin screaming "I only have nightmares when my eyes are open!"  Then a staccato guitar chug-chug-chugs to life, crunching alongside the pounding drums through the verse sections, before a slightly more melodic chorus.  Kevin's angry tone is incorporated throughout the second verse, and those hard-hitting rhythm guitar riffs just reek of anger and aggression in a way that Disciple hasn't really delivered in some time.  Yes, "Panic Room" hits hard on this record, and there are some aggressive tunes on each of the past several albums, but "Enemies" takes that aggression to a new level.  Stop-start electronic effects are added into the mix, and then seemingly out of nowhere a soaring, melodic guitar solo sings out (I'm guessing from Stanton, as it sounds like his style of playing), which leads the track into the final run through the chorus, with Kevin singing "Deliver me from myself", before the final musical flurry closes things out.

"Kingdom Come" closes out the new tracks, and for people who ordered the Love Letter Lockdown internet concert during Covid quarantine this summer have already heard a live version of this track.  To me, "Kingdom Come" is a track that falls in the middle ground between "Darkness Dies" and "Enemies" as far as style of these three new tracks goes.  Still edgy and aggressive, but carrying a melodic tone that "Enemies" really only hints at.  This is a really well-written track, with tempo changes, aggressive rhythm playing, rapid-fire drumming, and a solid bottom end from Prince's bass work, and Kevin reins in his vocals just a bit from the aggressive screaming of "Enemies" but still delivers with plenty of passion.  Not quite as catchy as "Darkness Dies", and not as angry or metallic as "Enemies", 'Kingdome Come" is a bit of both and works very well to close out this deluxe album edition.

Look, I'm not a digital fan, but at only 99 cents a track on Amazon...and available on every streaming and downloading platform that I am aware of...all three are worth downloading and ripping to create your own deluxe version, and the purchase will help out one of the best, most passionate, most fan-friendly bands going in the Christian scene.  Hopefully a track like "Darkness Dies" will get the band some crossover attention with the Octane crowd, and maybe "Enemies" will even find its way onto the Liquid Metal playlist on SiriusXM.  Request these songs (and "Kingdom Come") from your favorite local radio stations and on Christian internet stations to get some love for Disciple to start spreading.  It has worked recently to get some national attention for bands like Seventh Day Slumber, so perhaps Disciple will be next to explode out of the Christian-only market!

Rating:  As an entire package, Love Letter Kill Shot Deluxe edges up slightly to a 9 now!  I truly hope it will be available in true physical form at some point.

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