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Protest the Hero - Fortress Album Cover

Protest the Hero - Fortress

Reviewed by
8.5
Protest the Hero - Fortress
Record Label: Vagrant Records
Release Date: January 29, 2008
When Protest the Hero's debut album Kezia dropped in 2005, a lot of people were amazed by how talented this band is with how they are able to play extremely technical and complex songs, especially for a band so young. Some claimed them to be the best new band of 2005, but others saw their flaws. Protest the Hero have been criticized for weak vocals, production, and mostly for how their songs sound like five different ones pasted together. But remember, the band was still in high school when writing and recording that album so mistakes were bound to happen. Protest the Hero had a lot more free time to record and write Fortress, so fans and critics are expecting some improvement.

Fortress is in fact a huge improvement from Kezia in so many ways. The most noticeable being Rody Walker’s vocals. Unlike Kezia, Walker handles all of the screaming and growling this time around and he executes them very well. (see “Wretch, “The Dissentience,” and “Palms Read” for examples). The powerful screams of “My goddess gave birth to your god” on “Wretch” contrast with the growls on “The Dissentience” and show how Walker has became much more varied vocalist and should silence a lot of the complaints. His vocals are not only more varied, but they sound so much better than they do on Kezia.

The musicianship is also outstanding. It's pretty much what you would expect if you’ve heard anything from this band before. The guitar work is full of the crazy, technical riffs and sweeping that won’t disappoint anyone looking for something of that material. Tim Millar and Luke Hoskin make great use of harmonization and melody rather than over using solos. They trade-off lead and rhythm roles as usual, but they play at a much higher and more technical level then on Kezia. Arif Mirabdolbaghi’s bass-work is mostly inaudible except in “Palms Read” and “Bone Marrow,” which features a nice little slap bass lick from him and a few tapping moments in “Bloodmeat.”

The album’s opening track “Bloodmeat” is the one song that has the most resemblance to any song on Kezia, only with more repetitive. The next track, “The Dissentience” is something extremely different and one of my personal favorites. The improved production’s use of synth horns to create a dramatic effect along with Walker's incredible variation on the vocals make one hell of a track. “Bone Marrow” starts off with an acoustic riff and then turns into a very melodic track featuring the fore-mentioned bass line from Miradolbaghi. “Sequoia Throne” was the first song released from this album and gave the fans a taste of what Fortress would sound like. It’s a good representation of the album, but it doesn’t really stand out among the other tracks but it’s still a great song. “Palms Read” is another great showcase of Millar and Hoskin’s guitar work followed by “Limb From Limb” which features a keyboard solo coming from the aid of Dragonforce’s Vadim. “Wretch” is a damn excellent song showcasing some fantastic vocals and guitar melodies along with a cat meowing at the end of one of the breakdowns. No, I’m not joking.

Fortress does have its flaws. Some moments on the album are extremely cheesy. (i.e. keyboard solo). Some of the lyrics are obviously cheesy at times too, but they are exemptible. But unlike Kezia, the songs on Fortress aren’t complete fragments and actually come together as a whole. Protest the Hero also draw more classic metal influence for this album. This is an excellent follow up to Kezia, but I can’t help but feel it was somewhat over-hyped by so many people, with it already being called a “future classic” much like Between the Buried and Me’s Colors. This is no Colors in any way, though it’s a great album and a huge improvement for Protest the Hero. They took their style of Kezia and re-created it into a whole new formula that might win over some new fans, if only they ignore some of the hype.

Track ListingOn Conquest and Capture

"Bloodmeat" - 3:54
"The Dissentience" - 4:23
"Bone Marrow" - 5:30

--

"Sequoia Throne" - 3:11
"Palms Read" - 5:06
"Limb from Limb" - 4:22
"Spoils" - 3:43

Isosceles

"Wretch" - 4:12
"Goddess Bound" - 3:35
"Goddess Gagged" - 3:14

Key Tracks"The Dissentience," "Bone Marrow," "Wretch," "Goddess Bound"

Protest the HeroRody Walker - vocals
Tim Millar - guitar
Luke Hoskin - guitar, piano
Moe Carlson - drums
Arif Mirabdolbaghi - bass, vocals
Vadim Pruzhanov (Dragonforce) - keyboard solo on "Limb From Limb"

LinksAP.net Profile | Official Site | MySpace

Also Check OutBetween the Buried and Me’s The Silent Circus, Darkest Hour’s Deliver Us, Dragonforce’s Sonic Firestorm, The Dillinger Escape Plan’s Miss Machine
This review is a user submitted review from SwiftSilentDead. You can see all of SwiftSilentDead's submitted reviews here.
 
Displaying posts 1 - 11 of 11
12:15 AM on 02/10/08
#2
singyoutocoma
Find a thread to pull...
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An informative review, but the grammatical conventions are mediocre at best. Work on that; in my opinion, it's the one thing your reviews need to really take off.
02:13 AM on 02/11/08
#3
Adrian Villagomez
My Little Runaway
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An informative review, but the grammatical conventions are mediocre at best. Work on that; in my opinion, it's the one thing your reviews need to really take off.
Yup, proofreading would help. SwiftSilentDead, you know what you want to say, now you need to get down self-editing so you can say it better.
05:21 AM on 02/11/08
#4
hipvee43
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u no there are bands like glassjawa and saosin where every member of the band r completely amazing musicians and it works w/ them but bands like protest the hero and dragonforce where every member is completely amazing at their instrument just makes band as a whole sound like shit and yeah protest the hero r shit
08:02 AM on 02/11/08
#5
Awesome_Danny
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goooood band, but the vocals get fucking annoyng after awhile
07:54 PM on 02/11/08
#6
Ambience
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It comes no where near Kezia. It's not a bad album for their genre(despite them saying they don't have one)
08:45 AM on 02/14/08
#7
total brodown
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i thought the vocals in Kezia were fucking amazing. Weak in no way.

also, i enjoy this band much more than btbam. sure they're not quite as "insane", but they combine insane technicality and musicianship with catchiness far better than btbam IMO.

i love this band. they're sick live, as well.
05:47 PM on 02/14/08
#8
everydayarerun
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fortress is awesome. pretty good review. its better than kezia but both a good.
05:52 PM on 02/14/08
#9
Adrian Villagomez
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fortress is awesome. pretty good review. its better than kezia but both a good.
Cool, first time poster. Hope you stick around.
07:30 PM on 02/19/08
liveloud4life
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u no there are bands like glassjawa and saosin where every member of the band r completely amazing musicians and it works w/ them but bands like protest the hero and dragonforce where every member is completely amazing at their instrument just makes band as a whole sound like shit and yeah protest the hero r shit

Just because you don't like it doesn't mean it sucks. Obviously some people do. Protest the Hero is the kinda band that's either your thing or it's not. It's a matter of taste. PTH explores weird time signatures and the more metalcore side of progressive more than Saosin and Glassjaw (who, before you say anything, I absolutely love; saosin is in my top couple fav bands), it's less melodic. And if it's not for you that fine, but it doesn't make it bad.

And btw, there's so much more to the music itself in this than dragonforce which is just musicians soloing.

I'm not trying to like trash on you here, I'm just sayin, it's your opinion, not a fact.
11:16 PM on 06/11/09
Logan512
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I thought kezia was better actually, but only because I like the story from kezia alot more. The musicianship on this album was alot better.

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