Horseshoes & Hand Grenades
Admittedly, I haven’t sat down and listened to a full Disciple album since they released Back Again in early 2003. And I realize they released at least three other albums in between Back Again and this album, which is the focus of this particular review–Horseshoes & Hand Grenades–but this is the one I grabbed to listen to when I got a hankerin’ to catch up on one of my favorite hard rockin’ southern metal groups. No reason, it just happened to be on hand at the time.
So apparently a lot has happened since releasing Back Again all of those years ago. As a matter of fact, I had to double-check my media player to make sure I didn’t encode a Red or Skillet album incorrectly. Twice. Because when the opening track–“Dear X (You Don’t Own Me)–began playing, it sounded nothing like the Disciple I fell in love with back in 1999. Gone was the bluesy, hard-n-heavy gritty down-home \,,/METAL\,,/ with just a touch of modern flavoring that was the cause of many a bangover. Instead, this opening cut is what I term Mall Rock: the kind that junior high and high school kids hanging out at the mall would listen to, full of the emo-drenched whiny vocals to formulaic modern commercial rock that makes it nigh-unidentifiable from the likes of the afore mentioned Skillet and Red. It was all I could do to keep from shutting it off and forgetting about playing it again. But, continue on I did.
There was some promise with the second track, “Watch It Burn”, which hearkens back to the older days of driving hard rock. But then, that’s followed up by “Invisible”, which is another whiny formulaic emo rock cut. And for the majority of the album, the songs start off with such promise, with some rather heavy riffs and hooks, some bordering on nu metal heaviness, but then the emo vocals are thrown in, trying to take you on a Feels Trip without your consent. As a matter of fact, since listening to Horseshoes & Hand Grenades, I’ve taken to labeling any kind of anthem-saturated emo rock song like some on this release as Feels Trip Fodder. Although, “Eternity” is really more of a power ballad, and thus can be skipped over entirely, unless that’s your thing.
All said and done, there were some decent cuts on this release, and all the songs have top-notch production. And I concur that Horseshoes & Hand Grenades is a good album…it’s just not my kind of good album.