Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Protest the Hero / "Fortress"

Positive Review: Did you like Protest the Hero's first album, "Kezia"? Do you think DragonForce kicks ass? Do you just want to rock the fuck out? If you answered yes to any of these questions, congratulations! You'll love "Fortress," the second album from Canadian metal outfit Protest the Hero. Throw it on, enjoy the flawless instrumentation (I mean, the guitar and drums in "Palms Reads"? Holy shit!) and the Dio-meets-DragonForce vocals and treat yourself to easily the best metal album since "Blood Mountain."

For 45 minutes, Rody Walker is your high-energy guide through arguably the most technically stunning album of the decade. Luke Hoskin is a master of the guitar and plays his riffs so fast you'll swear the tape was mixed at double speed, but even his performance pales in comparison to Morgan Carlson's jaw-dropping drum work. The lyrics are your standard metal affair, but who gives a flying fuck about lyrics? The point of this album is to rock out like a metal album with the technical proficiency of a mathcore album, and it succeeds magnificently!

Rating: 8.8

Mixed Review: Protest the Hero really reviewed themselves on "Goddess Gagged," the closing track of their sophomore album "Fortress": "A wilderness of sound and movement repeating itself." While the album is impressive, it also gets very repetitive. There's only one speed: brutal. The only time the band slows anything down or turns the volume a bit quieter is on the occasional outro. The vocals are nothing new. Either he sings like DragonForce's lead singer or screams like one of the Blood Brothers.

This album is full of metal clichés. You have the meaningless lyrics about beasts, goddesses, and sword battles; you have the sing/shout/roar vocals; you have the relentless onslaught of guitar, effects, and drums. There's a lot of talent in this band and displayed on this album. It's just too bad they spent all their time getting their guitars to sound as impressive as possible and not enough thinking about expanding upon the metal genre rather than making an album which so frequently settles in the genre's norms. So sure, it's a better metal album than most of what I've heard lately, but that doesn't mean it's that great of an album overall. You have a lot remarkable noise saying very little.

Rating: 7.4

Composite Rating: 8.1

(video is "Bloodmeat")


Tom said...

branching into the metal realm eh. interesting. now, granted, this can just BARELY be considered metal... but ill give you credit. i do, however, feel obligated to suggest a few true metal bands that go above and beyond this stuff in every aspect: br00tal vocals, shredding guitar, fast drums, and, uh, bass... (sorry bass)(no, but really, the bass is also good). you may or may not be familiar with some of these, im not really sure how aware you are when it comes to this genre, my point being im not trying to come in here and give you an education or anything, im not that presumptuous. without further ado, a list of bands worthy of review (that is if your mind is open to the true metal sound... most notably the vocals...):

first and foremost
Between the Buried and Me
-"Alaska", "Colors"

Parkway Drive
-"Killing With A Smile",

Dead to Fall (minneapolis band (playing in Duluth on april fifth you know ill be there))
-"The Phoenix Throne", "Are You Serious?"(brand new)

August Burns Red

thats a good start. the bands are all pretty different from one another, which is impressive considering the genre.

between the buried and me is my personal favorite, but only because they are the greatest metal band to ever grace the earth, and possibly the most talented rock band on the planet.

Parkway just does everything right, and have more than enough skill to keep up with most of the best. their riffs are huge and tight, and the arrangements are perfect. these guys have perfected the breakdown.

dead to fall is a favorite of mine because
a) theyre local
b) they are INTENSE
c) they are hilarious
d) they get you PUMPED
e) their new album kicks ass

and August Burns Red is just sort of a perfect average of the bands ive been into lately. their not my favorite, but they have perfected the formula that the hardcore genre prescribes, and they do it all just right.

maybe give some a listen if you're feeling a little anemic.

Kid C said...

Yeah, this was my first metal review thus far. I was a little hesitant about it because, as you know, I'm not much of a connosieur of the genre.

I've heard both Between the Buried and Me and August Burns Red, but only a couple songs each.

I've never heard of Parkway Drive or Dead to Fall though. You mentioned Dead to Fall has a new album out. Is there any chance you could email it to me (using attachments)? I'd love to hear them and write a review.

Thanks for the suggestions and for reading!

sherlock said...

I just bought the album, thanks to this.

Yeah, definitely check out Parkway Drive. On the more hardcore side of metalcore, Alexisonfire's "Crisis" is a favorite of mine and an accessible listen.

Tom said...

I'm a pretty big alexisonfire fan. I think Hobson acutally turned me on to them like 6 years ago. I think "watch out" was their best effort, especially "accidents" on that album.

here's the thing about dead to fall. to probably 96 percent of the population, its noise. its loud fast guitars, two step and blast-beat drums underneath basically yelling. i tell you this knowing fully well that you have an open mind. but. it takes... basically a certain amount of time immersed in the culture itself to find merit in this music. what i see happening is you listening to it and justifiably hating it. two years ago im positive i would have. its basically the least accessible form of the hardcore genre. literally no singing. that kind of thing. basically i dont want you to waste your time and end up hating it.

colors and horizons are both less than a year old, and both are prime material for a review. Ill send you what ive got. and i guess i would suggest maybe checking out dead to fall's myspace and getting a taste that way.

Kid C said...

"I just bought the album, thanks to this."

I should seek out a royalty from the band.