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An Odd Mix of Old and New
on November 13, 2012
Let me get this out of the way - despite my rating, I absolutely love this album. Disciple's "O God Save Us All" is a competent, fast-paced rocker that ticks all the boxes necessary to make a great rock album - and I like that. The problem? It's inconsistencies are puzzling.
The truth is that there are probably two good albums here. Exactly half of this album is comprised of fast-paced groove metal, reminiscent of Disciple's self-titled album or even "Back Again." In fact, the first three songs collectively have more energy than possibly anything the band has released previously, with "R.I.P." standing out as an album highlight and as one of the best rockers in the band's lengthy discography.
Then things slow down. I understand why, since an album full of "Outlaws" would be absolutely exhausting, but the problem is that it slows down for a long time. The next three entire tracks are radio-ready ballads. Hear: these would be some of the best Christian rock ballads playing on the radio, but Disciple is always at their best when they're at their heaviest. By the closing of "Someday," the listener will be more than ready to jump straight to the hard stuff again. That's disappointing, because the otherwise excellent "Draw The Line" begins to bore from the first line, if only because of expectations.
"Kings" gets things back into top gear with an industrial crunch, and Disciple finally delivers a real guitar solo in "The One," but the final two songs crawl the album to a close. Again, these slower songs are good, but they mean the metal portions of the album come to a screeching halt all too often and all too quickly.
Fortunately, "O God Save Us All" has some of the best lyrical work from the band. It should be unsurprising that there are a few lines, especially in "Unstoppable," that border on cliche, but for every trite word here, there are three or four more that are genuinely meaningful. It doesn't hurt that Disciple is up front and straightforward about their faith (vague and nonspecific religiosity is a sad trend in Christian rock).
"O God Save Us All" is an album with an identity crisis. If you're a fan of groove metal, you're inevitably going to love half of this album. If you're a fan of rock ballads, you're inevitably going to love the other half. And if you like both, like me, you'll probably still enjoy the entire experience. Still, I can't help but wish that the record were more cohesive and consistent. For that cohesive experience, I have to instead recommend Disciple's "Southern Hospitality" or even Red's "Until We Have Faces."
Ten-Point Scale: 6.0 out of 10.0
Genre: Christian / Rock / Groove Metal
Objectionable Content: None