Heavyweights of The Jam: A Conversation with Disciple

Metallica’s James Hetfield often asks his audience, “Do you want heavy?” If so, Metallica has you covered. And so will Disciple.

The powerful quartet, featuring lead guitarist Andrew Stanton, drummer Joey West, vocalist Kevin Young and rhythm guitarist Josiah Prince, formed in 1992 and have 12 studio albums under their collective belts. Young has been the sole constant in the group’s 30-year history.

The band has been hitting the stage early in the 2023 version of Christian music’s annual behemoth tour — Winter Jam — and doesn’t have the luxury of an hour set to win fans over. It’s 15 minutes of straight pedal to the metal sonic goodness. 

“People hear that we have a 15-minute set and think that it must be easier for us, but we actually all agree that it’s tougher than an hour headline set,” West said. “With an hour set, we have our built-in breaks in places where we can take our foot off the gas, so to speak. With Winter Jam, it’s just 15 minutes of cardio and calorie burning with no breaking.”

And the timing is perfect. The band is on the verge of releasing studio album number 13, “Skeleton Psalms,” on April 28. The first single from the album, “The Executioner,” was released recently and has been getting strong reviews.

“We dove back into the old Disciple sound and kind of brought back that early ‘90s nu-metal vibe,” West said. “I’ve always wanted to make something that sounds like 1999-2000 P.O.D. So with this new one, we kind of paid homage to the old school Disciple sound and mixed it with the modern rock and hardcore bands that we’re influenced by. Everybody stepped up their game on this album. We’re all in a good place, man. We’re kind of … ‘happy’ mad.”

“Skeleton Psalms” is one of the heaviest albums the band has put out in awhile, said Stanton. And it’s not just heavy for heavy’s sake either.

“It’s a full story in a lot of ways,” he said. “There are songs about being depressed, and songs about being hopeful, songs about being beaten down and then songs about overcoming.

“We’re going to come out and punch you in the teeth in the name of Jesus,” said West.