After 22 years, frontman Kevin Young may be the only original member of Disciple, but he has never strayed from his distinct vision for the band, boldly speak the name of Jesus through quality hard rock. In becoming Disciple 3.0, he bravely not only left the shelter of Fair Trade Records, the label he had called home for the previous eight years and five albums, he also had to find a whole new set of band members. Fortunately for us listeners, he handpicked an exceptional group of musicians and singers. I was stunned to learn Jason Wilkes (former lead singer and rhythm guitarist of High Flight Society) didn’t even know how to play bass before Kevin convinced him to come on board. “Lion” in particular showcases his newfound skill. Joining him were Andrew Stanton (lead guitar – formerly of I Am Empire), Josiah Prince (guitar – formerly of Philmont), and Joey West (drums – formerly of After Edmund).
Attack is a very well constructed album musically, lyrically, and even in song order that represents some of the best art Kevin has been involved in creating. From the opening electronics and forceful whispers of “Radical” that quickly shift to an all out metal assault to the gentle closing melody of “The Right Time”, the listener has been on a whirlwind tour of hard rock and metal history from the heavy to the soft, often with multiple stops in a single song. Along the journey are searing riffs, guitar solos, crunchy riffs, funky bass lines, pounding drums, frenetic shredding, a touch of electronics, changing dynamics and tempos, and a variety of vocal styles–soaring, screaming, rapping, gang, group, and beautiful harmonies. My only complaints, and they are small, is I would have liked a smidge more metal than radio-friendly modern rock. A couple of these songs could just have easily come from a band like Skillet. Also a couple of the tracks are slightly repetitive.
Fortunately, these musicians aren’t content to simply play the chords and move on. Every time I listen to this album I find something new and interesting that I hadn’t heard before. Joey drums with authority, effortlessly shifting tempo and confidently driving these songs forward. Andrew and Josiah expertly weave their guitars through the musical landscape. Jason skillfully holds up the low end. Also, all of these guys are great singers, which adds an extra element of quality and polish that Kevin has lacked in the past. Everyone including Kevin sings, shouts, and harmonizes with passion and just the right intensity for each song.
Kevin, and in turn Disciple, have always been outspoken about their faith, and Attack is no exception. Almost every lyric is based on a specific scripture and yet comes across as beautiful, bold, challenging, encouraging, and poetic rather than trite and cliché. Accurately titled, this is an album about warfare. From the get go we are called to live radical “till the day [we] die….Never ashamed of the name of Jesus.” The title song calls us to go on the offensive while reminding us we are not alone. “All the weapons you need I will bring to this fight know that I will be with you I will go before you.” “Dead Militia” reminds us of our ultimate victory when “death and decay will be no more alive. The earth will lift her hand in hallelujah to God.”
This isn’t a one-sided battle, though. These songs also speak to the relentless attacks against our own frailty and the war for our minds and hearts. “Crazy” laments our no longer innocent eyes. “Like a movie screen ever before my sight playing over and over as you rape my mind.” Songs like “Angels & Demons”, “Unbroken”, and “Yesterday Is Over” tells us to hold on to the truth that “No angel, no demon, no danger, no enemy (Not one) Nothing can break us apart” from the one who “will give me strength and wings to fly to rise above the night.” “The Right Time” closes out the album with heartfelt emotion and beauty as Kevin cries out, “just when I thought all hope was lost and this would be the end, there was God just at the right time.” The slowly layered instruments build up from a quiet ballad to a powerful chorus and back again, like taking a deep, refreshing breath.
This is a near-perfect collection of hard-hitting, beautiful metal and hard rock songs that will challenge and encourage you. This very talented group of musicians play and sing as if they’ve worked together for years. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.