4.5 out of 5 Stars!
When Discipline released its debut album back in 1993, I thought the music a highly mature and interesting blend of groups such as Genesis, IQ, and Twelfth Night with more than a sprinkling of musical inspiration from Van der Graaf Generator and Gentle Giant popping up in numerous sections of various tracks.
For instance, look no further than a track such as “The Reasoning Wall” for Genesis-styled keyboards and guitar tones, with the music being similar to work found on Foxtrot or Selling England by the Pound, with also a touch of Gentle Giant tossed into the intricate arrangement.
Or for nods toward Van der Graaf Generator, perhaps, then the hypnotic track “Carmilla” should suffice, especially with vocalist Matthew Parmenter’s often-eerie lead vocals being occasionally reminiscent of Peter Hammill’s (just not as insanely manic), only with a Mellotron-rich musical backdrop that also includes hints of other bands such as King Crimson and IQ, but with Discipline taking these various influences and twisting them into a unique style for itself.
Other more straightforward styles and atmospheres appear as well. At the beginning of “The Nursery Year,” an almost pop melody reigns supreme over mainly a light electric piano foundation that brings Hogarth-era Marillion to mind, while on “Faces of the Petty,” the band generates a rocking, bobbing little ditty with an almost funky Zappa-inspired chorus (Over-Nite Sensation era) that adds enough quirks to make things really interesting.
With only the merest, fleeting influences (or a curious and masked amalgam) of older Prog bands on display, other tracks such as “Diminished,” “Blueprint,” and “Systems” can only be described as music sounding like Discipline itself, the band’s own style bursting to the forefront and often defying comparisons. And the final track (and my favorite), “America,” again periodically brings to mind VDGG, only nowhere near as dark or creepy, but with acoustic-based instrumentation and an almost David Bowie-esque sing-along chorus, only performed and arranged as hypnotically as only Discipline can do.
After first savoring Push & Profit, I predicted the band had the capability of becoming even more impressive, and Discipline proved me right four years later with the release of an often-challenging and sinister 5-Star masterpiece, Unfolded Like Staircase. And then sadly, the group disappeared for more than a full decade, thankfully popping up again with another terrific album in 2011, then again in 2013, with yet another in 2017. Great news for Prog-Rock fans.
Regardless, Push & Profit is the album that started all the fun, an outstanding high-quality release I still play nearly as much as Unfolded Like Staircase.