Review : Protest The Hero - Fortress
AvclubThough it entered the U.S. through the same label that gave us the Get Up Kids and Dashboard Confessional, Canadian prog-metal whiz-kid Protest The Hero proved closer to Dream Theater and Death (simultaneously!) with its 2005 Vagrant debut, Kezia. The follow-up, Fortress, mines similar territory but cranks the ferocity even higher. Divided into three suites, the album's 10 tracks shift from dizzying guitar runs ("Bone Marrow") to synthesized orchestral swells to 900-mph meter changes that make The Dillinger Escape Plan sound lazy....full text
SputnikmusicStandards can be a bitch, and it only gets worse when you put them in context. All conditions aside, Protest the Hero's Kezia was a pretty outstanding album. Yes, its reception was black and white with little to no grey area, but a little polarization never hurt anyone. In context, however, Kezia suffered from a lot of amateur mistakes; acceptable given that it was mostly written while the band was still in high school but noticeable nonetheless. Of these issues, some reach back to Juice, a producer more suited to the Alexisonfires of the world than a band with more of a metal edge. But Juice's ticky-tacky missteps aside –the over-layering of the vocals, inaudible bass and clickity drums- the band still fell into a comfort zone. Yes, that comfort zone was entertaining, catchy and arguably amazing, but it still felt like the band started to force melodies and riffs, somewhat forgivable given Kezia's prolonged process....full text
AllmusicProtest the Hero's Fortress owes much of its sound to progressive metal, even if its post-hardcore and punk metal influences are still evident. The new sound is detectable as soon as vocalist Rody Walker begins singing on the opening song, "Bloodmeat," when an initial quick burst of a verse gives way to chorus that floats over pounding rhythms and a background string section. The piece sets the tone for what is to come; Fortress is just as aggressive and intense as the band's debut album, Kezia, but not as dark, even as Walker shifts between operatic melodies and guttural grunts and screams. (This happens frequently throughout Fortress, and the singer is adept at both.) Both albums carry a theme throughout -- Kezia is a "situationist requiem," according to the band, while Fortress is ostensibly about goddess worship -- but the latter is more consistent in its presentation. Whereas Kezia concentrated more on Protest the Hero's achieving technical expertise, Fortress is from a band whose abilities have caught up with their vision....full text
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