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Christian hard rock outfit Disciple rose out of Knoxville, Tennessee, in the mid-'90s, eventually breaking out with their Dove Award-nominated second album, 1999's This Might Sting a Little Bit. Over the following decade, Disciple's heavy alt-metal style continued to earn fans thanks to popular albums like Scars Remain and Southern Hospitality. By the 2010s, they'd also established themselves as a consistent crossover act, extending beyond the Christian charts onto Billboard's Hard Rock and Top 200 charts with releases like O God Save Us All and Attack. After a handful of crowdfunded projects, Disciple signed with Tooth & Nail at end of the decade and released Love Letter Kill Shot in 2019.
Disciple was formed in 1992 by friends Kevin Young, Brad Noah, Tim Barrett, and Adrian DiTommasi (who would leave the band shortly after inception) in an attempt to spread the gospel while playing the loud, metallic music they loved. Over the years, their style evolved into one similar to many secular alternative metal groups, as they toured churches, high schools, colleges, and similar venues. Their self-released debut, What Was I Thinking, came out in 1995, followed by an EP, My Daddy Can Whip Your Daddy, on Warner Resound in 1997. Their sophomore full-length effort, This Might Sting a Little Bit, followed two years later on Rugged Records. By God followed in 2001 on the same label.
2003's Back Again found the band on a new label, their own independent Slain Records. That year, the trio became a quartet with the addition of bassist Joey Fife to their lineup. The group signed with INO Records the following year and released a self-titled LP in June of 2005. Scars Remain arrived on Integrity in late 2006. After years of nominations, the album won the band their first Dove Award for Rock Album of the Year.
In 2008, Noah and Fife stepped down from the band and their spots were filled by bassist Israel Beachy and guitarists Andrew Welch and Micah Sannan. Southern Hospitality arrived later that year. Before their next release, founding drummer Tim Barrett would also part ways with Disciple, replaced by Trent Reiff. Horseshoes & Hand Grenades, Disciple's eighth LP, came out in April 2010. It topped the Christian chart and entered the Billboard Top 50. As the band's popularity grew, they embarked on a handful of tours with other top Christian acts like Thousand Foot Krutch and Skillet.
2012 saw the release of O God Save Us All, as well as a flurry of lineup changes. After four years with Disciple, Welch left the band to join Thousand Foot Krutch, while Sannan and Beachy were replaced by Josiah Prince (Philmont) and Jason Wilkes (High Flight Society). By early 2013, Reiff exited and was replaced by Joey West. Andrew Stanton also joined the band, leaving Young as the only original member.
The refreshed quintet forged ahead with the crowdfunded release of 2014's Attack, which became their highest Billboard 200 entry to date, peaking at number 44. Produced by longtime Disciple producer Travis Wyrick, Attack also rose to the number two spots on the Hard Rock and Christian charts. It would be the first and last album with Wilkes on bass, who left the band the next year. Vultures, a six-song EP recorded during the Attack sessions, was released at the end of 2015. Another EP, Live in Denmark, arrived the following year, accompanied by a series of concert videos from Denmark's RiverFest.
The band -- now a quartet -- issued another crowdfunded effort in 2016. Their 11th album, Long Live the Rebels, debuted at number 125, making it the group's sixth Billboard 200 entry to date. After signing with the Tooth & Nail label at the end of 2018, Disciple released their 12th full-length, Love Letter Kill Shot, in September 2019. ~ Neil Z. Yeung & Steve Huey