Only seven tracks, "Disconnected Pt.1" and "Disconnected Pt.2" being album openers and closers, this album contains some of the longest and most complex tracks Jim Matheos has ever penned. As always, his compositions are intelligent and the band behind him are equally competent. Vocalist Ray Alder once again proves to be a key element in the unique sound of this band, and he also co-wrote three songs contributing to the lyrics. It is quite hard to describe each piece on the album individually as Disconnected also, like APSOG, seems to make a unified statement with lyric heavy songs and emotionally charged instrumentation. The band's solid rhythm section, consisting of drum god Mark Zonder and Joey Vera, invests a different level of credibility to the songcraft of Jim Matheos and the trio successfully create the musical tapestry surrounding Ray Alder's vocals. Mark Zonder's odd-metered drumming once again relying heavily on intricate cymbal work is further developed by Vera's throbbing bass lines. Jim Matheos seems to experiment with his Robert Fripp influence adding more riff-based textures to his songwriting. He doesn't play any extended guitar solos, but his riffing is dense and blends nicely with the other instruments. Once again, Kevin Moore plays the keyboards (as well as piano and computer synths) and his atmospheric touch creeps into each track and gradually blankets them adding a blurry grey colour.
"One" introduces a rather accessible chorus in Fates Warning's ever-growing back catalog but quickly takes on swirling maestroms of ever shifting riff architecture by Matheos. The playing is vastly intricate yet extremely absorbing and passionate at the same time. One of the defining moments on the album is how "So" ties in with the melancholic "Pieces of Me" -- a seamless amalgamation! Zonder yet lends another of his odd-time introduction with fierce drum attacks and Alder sort of delivers random vocal melodies over the somewhat chaotic texture. Kevin Moore's aesthetics begin to come through particularly on the album's two longest tracks: "Something from Nothing" and "Still Remains" respectively. The two songs' running time takes up more than half of the album's length. Moore paints the palette of both songs with with delicate layers of atmosphere. The spooky bass intro of "Something from Nothing" fuses with Moore's introspective nature during the experimental clutter of the tune; it's a true sonic intensity. There is an impressive and busy interplay between the band members as they build a huge wall of sound that suddenly explodes into a chaotic musical array nearly after three minutes into the song. Ray Alder not only does justice to this song but he also comes up with his most haunting vocal melody to date particularly at 5:38 to 5:45. It's quite possibly the most beautiful thing he's ever done along with Parts VI-VIII on APSOG. Moore plays a recurring piano figure that constantly enters and leaves the focus of the track. The lengthy instrumental exploration characterized by Mark Zonder's sonic drum work is once again enhanced with the repeating vocal melody delivered by Ray Alder. Once the song is over after 16 minutes, you're left speechless and overwhelmed. The album closes with the second instrumental, "Disconnected Pt.2", with added textures and a few vocal samples we'd normally hear on Kevin Moore's solo project Chroma Key or Porcupine Tree's Signify.
I admit Disconnected is a hard album to get into, but it is dangerously perfect and contains millions of variations and textures as major ingredients which other bands could only dream of let alone incorporate in their own songs.
- Disconnected, Pt. 1
- Pieces of Me
- Something from Nothing
- Still Remains
- Disconnected, Pt. 2