Protest The Hero – Scurrilous
Release Date: March 22, 2011
Record Label: Vagrant
So many bands falter when they try to be something they're not. Whether it be overreaching in terms of musicanship or concept, some bands just don't realize that if it ain't broken, don't fix it. Protest The Hero is not one of those bands.
Assembled in Whitby, Ontario, this Canadian quintet has been melting faces for over 10 years. They won fans over with their 2005 debut, Kezia, and then increased followers with 2008's Fortress. Along the way, the band has tweaked a few things – less screaming here, more riffs there – but they've never lost sense of who they were. And after three long years, fans don't have to fret anymore, as their third album, Scurrilous, continues the natural progression of Protest The Hero. And despite all the tomfoolery from their interviews and videos, Protest The Hero's music contains a serious amount of depth to it. From its complex musicianship to the philosophical backdrop painted by vocalist Rody Walker and bassist Arif Mirabdolbaghi, Scurrilous is much more than what meets the ear.
Immediately you can hear the confidence exuding from the band on “C'est La Vie,” a jazzy opener that features some crunchy off-time riffs interwoven with Walker's tremendous tenor. “Hair-Trigger” will be an instant fan favorite, as it marks the return of guest vocalist Jadea Kelly. She trades some fantastic call and return vocals with Walker as the song ends with a knee-buckling breakdown in which Walker shrieks, “She's cold as ice!” Guitarists Luke Hoskin and Tim Millar are majestic on the frantic “Tandem,” while “Moonlight” is an example of the band's ever-improving melody.
The fury that is Rody Walker's harsh vocals rears its head on the dizzying “Tapestry,” and he unleashes all hell during the outro of the menacing “Dunsel.” The blistering “Termites” features the most delicious of guitar licks from Hoskin, while closer “Sex Tapes” (which features additional vocals from Propagandhi's Chris Hannah) serves up a huge helping of Mirabdolbaghi's quick-witted, cynical lyricism.
If I had to describe Scurrilous in one word, it would be indulgent, and that's not a bad thing. When you have this much talent, I want to hear it. Kudos to Protest The Hero for not scaling back. I love hearing Rody Walker let loose his tenacious howling. I love hearing Luke Hoskin try to play the entirety of his fretboard in the span of one minute. It helps make Scurrilous an exhilarating listen from beginning to end, regardless of how similar it is to Fortress at times. Protest The Hero knows exactly what they are, and we couldn't be any happier.
Awesome album, can't really stop listening to it. A few of my favorites are C'est La Vie, Hair-Trigger, Dunsel, The Reign of Unending Terror, Termites and Sex Tapes. Somehow Hair-Trigger got corrupted on my cell phone's microSD and I had to put it back on yesterday. It's really easy to notice their progression if you have listened to all of their albums, and especially something I'd like to think as a sub-genre change. But I don't think this one is really similar to Fortress though.
Also, reviewing the review, well written, but awfully short. Not that this is a bad thing, sometimes reviewers flourish stuff to much and that really isn't necessary. Straight to the point. A few typos here and there, like Keiza and "heir interviews." Hope this helps, I guess?
Protest the Hero never disappoint -- when a band has that much talent, and do whatever they want, it's hard to. It hasn't drawn me in like the last two albums did just yet, but it's still early days, and nevertheless, it's an impressive effort.
I love the last paragraph, Drew. Sums up the way I feel about this pretty well.
And I've been listening to this nonstop all week. But it probably doesn't hurt that I saw them Wednesday, after every show I listen to them obsessively for some reason. More so than any other band I see live.