I’ll freely admit that I didn’t really know anything about Disconnect before receiving this album to review, but if the rest of their catalog is as good as this then these guys haven’t been getting their due. The band’s bio states that its two members record separately while working together from different states, which makes the tightness of this album all the more impressive.
Musically, Disconnect plays what I would label a kind of heavy Neo or symphonic prog – there are sections that remind me a great deal of Neal Morse and Spock’s Beard, but there are also parts that are dead on for Rush. It’s a great style that gives a lot of the tracks a very familiar feel without ever coming off as clones, and the end result is a very satisfying, fresh sounding album that I think will appeal to fans of progressive rock both old and new.
‘Adventures In Taxidermy’ begins the album with a swirl of atmospheric sounds which eventually solidify into a dark and mysterious guitar/synth dual line. From this develops a guitar and bass line over which some muted and slightly distorted vocals begin to appear. I can hear some similarities to Tool or even Dream Theater in this section, though the sound here is far more laid back than either of those bands. Keeping in the heavy vein, the song introduces even heavier guitars at about the 6.5 minute mark, with properly crunching riffs underlying a very good solo. A driving but still catchy vocal melody takes over after this, followed by another intriguing guitar solo, and a crashing finale of synth and guitar brings the song to an epic close. ‘Adventures In Taxidermy’ is one of those rare songs that manages to nod to a lot of other groups without ever sounding too much like them, and because of that it’s a great opener for the album and an excellent harbinger of things to come.
‘Inside Job’ is an instrumental track that kicks off with an opening that is again very slightly reminiscent of Dream Theater or perhaps even of some of Rush’s heavier moments. With a great repeating segment serving as the track’s backbone, a variety of solos are weaved in and out of the track’s framework, with nary a dull moment and plenty of impressive playing. There’s even a solo that reminds me very strongly of some of the instrumental parts from the Beatles’ ‘Tomorrow Never Knows,’ which I don’t believe is a comparison I’ve ever made before. Overall, ‘Inside Job’ is a great prog instrumental, consistently interesting throughout and in my opinion one of the best tracks on the album.
‘Falling Man’ begins with some sound clips that sound like they’re from TV coverage of the 9/11 attacks laid over some faintly eastern sounding string parts. After these conclude a repeating guitar riff comes in, quickly followed by vocals. More excellent guitar solos fill in the sections between vocals, while pounding, crunchy riffs give the track a decided edge. A softer section follows, with piano and synth leading bass and percussion under plaintive vocals that match the somber lyrics. A section that reminds very strongly of Rush follows, sounding like it could have come right off one of that band’s late 70s albums. A very cool, finger-picked guitar part follows this, and with it return the strings, giving this part a slightly more atmospheric feel. The vocals return very briefly before the track launches into an amazing, eastern-sounding instrumental section that sounds like it could feature a sitar, though it may simply be a guitar made to sound like one. Either way, it sounds spectacular, and when percussion and bass re-enter behind a blistering guitar solo, it all makes for a very satisfying instrumental section. The final five minutes of the track are much more dominated by vocals, though there are a variety of motifs used, and all of them are excellent. Especially of note is a section around the 14:30 mark, which combines guitar, synth and vocals to create an incredibly emotional atmosphere. The track concludes with a sort of repeated vocal mantra with the music underneath growing ever more intense until it finally and suddenly falls off to nothing with the last word of the song. ‘Falling Man’ is a great epic and an overall stunning piece of work that serves very well as a central peak in the album.
‘Sufficient’ again starts off with a dark, mysterious atmosphere. There’s some minimal use of string sounds, but the track really begins in earnest when vocals crash in at about 30 seconds in, accompanied by percussion and keyboards. A very catchy ‘chorus’ section makes great use of vocal harmonies, and overall the track has a much cheerier sound than the previous track’s decidedly melancholy feel. Still, however, there is a hardened edge to parts of the track provided by the inclusion of the heavy guitar that has been all over this album. At about the 4 and a half minute mark, there’s a spoken word section backed up by some decidedly electronic sounding keyboards. Normally I’m not the biggest fan of spoken word in music, but along with the electronic accompaniment it works quite well here, and it’s used briefly enough that it’s hardly an issue to begin with. ‘Sufficient,’ while not as hefty a piece as the epic before it, is nonetheless a good song and a great break between the album’s two epics.
‘Twisting The Knife’ begins extremely calmly, with some delicate piano and spacey guitar languidly existing over some minimalistic percussion. The effect is incredibly relaxing; with definite touches of Floyd, it provides an excellent introduction to the song. It doesn’t last long, however, as a very Neal Morse-ian motif quickly takes over, with a melodically excellent theme repeating under the vocals. The track switches themes again almost as quickly, however, dropping into a darkly psychedelic, vocal dominated section that vaguely reminds me of early Spock’s Beard. A darker vocal section follows before the first theme returns at about the 11 minute mark, providing a nice sense of cohesion to the track despite its occasional disjointedness. A variety of primarily vocal-led sections follow, and the track concludes with a killer guitar solo. ‘Twisting the Knife’ is an excellent closer to this very good album and a very good song in its own right.
If I have one minor complaint with the album, it’s that the vocals (which often sound similar to a slightly rawer Neal Morse) aren’t my favorite, but they’re certainly not bad and they generally work well within the context of the music. Overall, then, Enough Blame to Go Around is a very good album, with a good blend of melodic accessibility and proggy knottiness. Fans of Neo-Prog or modern symphonic should find plenty to like here, as should those who like a bit more heaviness in their prog. Definitely recommended.
1. Adventures In Taxidermy
2. Inside Job
3. Falling Man
5. Twisting The Knife
Sections of this review originally appeared on Progarchives.com