The Essentials: Disciple

AN NRT EXCLUSIVE EDITORIAL, The Essentials: Disciple

Disciple, the Christian rock band from Knoxville, Tennessee, recently released their 13th album, Skeleton Psalms. The band, comprising Kevin Young (lead vocals, guitar), Andrew Stanton (guitar, backing vocals), Joey West (drums), and Josiah Prince (guitar, backing vocals), has been making music for over 20 years. Known for its hard rock and metal-influenced sound and uplifting lyrics that emphasize themes of faith and hope, Disciple’s latest album continues its legacy as a prominent Christian rock band.
”The Wait is Over,” one of the band’s most celebrated songs, topped the Christian rock charts in 2007. And their hit “Rise Again” from the album O God Save Us All was featured on the soundtrack of the film God’s Not Dead.
Beyond their music, we know Disciple for their dedication to charitable causes and community service. They’ve partnered with organizations like World Vision to provide clean water to underserved communities and have worked with the International Justice Mission to combat human trafficking.
Their new album, Skeleton Psalms, was produced in-house, thanks to guitarist Josiah Prince’s studio, The Ranch. It was mixed by Sam Moses, who worked with Tenth Avenue North, and Nick Rad, who worked with Skillet.

Lead singer Kevin Young is excited about the new album, claiming, “I am more excited to release Skeleton Psalms than any other Disciple album we’ve ever released. From a musical perspective, we feel like we have accomplished something that we are very proud of and showcases the talent of the musicians in the band.” We are just as excited about the record as they are.
Disciple has released 13 studio albums, each with a unique style and sound. For those new to the band, here are a few of their greatest songs to get started.

“Bad Words” (Skeleton Psalms, 2023)
”Bad Words,” a single from the new album, has a double meaning. On the one hand, we could see it as a song that tries to lessen the damage from our hurtful words. However, according to lead vocalist Kevin Young, the music is more about Jesus being the “wrong” word that the world doesn’t want to hear, but that Disciple will continue to speak about Him, anyway. He says, “We like to write songs that excite people about their faith.” They have done that for me for years now and will continue to. This new album is shaping up to be one of the best yet.

“Long Live The Rebels” (Long Live The Rebels, 2016)
Disciple’s raw and honest lyrics shine on every record, but this was especially poignant in Long Live The Rebels. America’s political and religious landscape underwent significant shifts, leading to many divisions. The messages of Long Live The Rebels reminded us to focus on Christ and that we have God’s love to rebel against all the division around us. The album’s music features some of the most dynamic mixings yet, building on the success of Attack, the band’s 2014 album that was the first to undergo independent mixing. This record and title song will always be a highlight in their discography.


“Radical” (Attack, 2014)
I remember when Disciple left Tooth and Nail Records as their primary supporter and went independent. As soon as the Kickstarter project started for the funds on the new record went up, I was all over it. They had already impacted me personally for a few years, and I knew something special was coming. The album, Attack, features some of Disciple’s most iconic songs, such as “Dead Militia,” “The Name,” and “Radical,” which are still regularly played at their live performances today. “Radical” continues to be an anthem for Christian rock fans everywhere, a song filled with spiritual absolutism and confidence.


“O God Save Us All” (O God Save Us All, 2012)
With O God Save Us All, Disciple threw in some older influences to their modern hard rock sound, with some songs having similar sounds to their first couple of records. Some of the rhythmic combinations of scream-singing drive and industrial aspects drive that influence home. But I love the blend of radio-friendly songs, the several ballads that hit home, and some killer, aggressive tunes, like the title track. This record is an excellent blend of their Tooth and Nail days and the upcoming indie days.


“Dear X You Don’t Own Me” (Horseshoes and Handgrenades, 2010)
Disciple has plenty of beautiful, relatable ballads present day, a few from nearly every record. But it wasn’t until “Dear X, You Don’t Own Me” from Horseshoes and Handgrenades that we got sucker-punched by the intimate lyrics and escalating music. The stringed instruments, the melody in Kevin’s voice, and the defiant lyrics resound with every listen. Everyone can relate to wanting to eliminate the shame, pain, and guilt in our lives, and this song explores that difficulty. Overall, the record is one of the most accessible still in the Disciple world, so it remains one of the most popular.

“After The World” (Scars Remain, 2006)
Speaking of those slowed-down songs that pull on your heartstrings, “After The World” from Scars Remain, my favorite record, takes a similar approach to songwriting but from a different perspective. The song was written by Disciple from the perspective of Jesus, offering words of encouragement and love to the listeners. It reminds us of His unfailing love and consistency, to always be there for us. I love this line in the verse, “Was I there when the rains were flooding you off your feet?/Those were My tears falling down for you, falling down for you.”

“I Just Know” (This Might Sting a Little, 1999)
From front to back, there’s no Disciple album quite like This Might Sting A Little. It may not be the very best they’ve released, but there’s no denying its unique flair. Kevin Young’s vocals were coming to be his own, the Southern metal style was still heavy, and the songwriting even featured some Southern idioms and phrases, unlike most other records. While some of their older songs like “Golden Calf” and “Big Bad Wolf” still get played in live shows, “I Just Know” is considered the most iconic song for many of their listeners, particularly long-time fans. It’s a brazen barnstormer of a piece proclaiming that Jesus is the way, a message for all of Disciple.

Ryan Adams graduated from Boise Bible College in 2017. He lives with his family in Montana.

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