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Protest the Hero - Kezia CD (album) cover


Protest the Hero


Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.78 | 79 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars A great album to listen to when you want to rock the fuck out but still want to listen to good music. You know how when you listen to really heavy music and the heaviness either interferes with the technical efforts of the band, or (in order to counter that exact problem) the band over complicates things. Protest the Hero is one of the few bands that manages to find the exact right mixture of melodic and powerful.

Kezia is a concept album told from the perspective of three characters: The Prison Priest, The Prison Guard, and Kezia. Each character is designated a section containing three songs. At the end of the third song in each set, there's an interlude consisting of either acoustic guitar or piano. Then there's the finale, which ends the same way and serves to conclude the story. The album was recorded when the band members were only eighteen and nineteen years old.

No Stars Over Bethlehem starts off with a fade in that sucks you into the song, making the listener uncomfortable and then hitting him with some of the heaviest metal ever crafted. This album is so heavy that the band occasionally blows out the mics. The arrangement is always tight through the entire song up to and including the guitar solo at the very end.

Heretics & Killers starts off heavier than the previous song, blowing out the mics again. While I didn't mind the mics getting blown out occationally, its a shame that the album didn't get better production. This song is interspersed with soft acoustic guitar sections, providing some variety and not letting the listener become comfortable with what is being played.

Divinity Within is just as heavy as the first two tracks, but it allows for some room to breath as the guitars stop pounding occationally to allow for the verses. There's some more acoustic guitar, this time played over the distorted guitars. The drumming on this track is intense. Towards the end of the song, we are introduced to female vocals and violins playing quietly in the background. The last fourty eight seconds treat the listener to a well played piano interlude by Luke Hoskin, effectively ending the Prison Priest's section.

Bury the Hatchet is heavier than the previous songs, starting off with screamed vocals by Rody Walker. This song is intense but doesn't really have anything the other tracks haven't already shown until the end, where there's Walker sings emotionally and powerfully and is joined by the rest of the band who yell 'oooooh, yeah!', bringing major intensity to an already intense song, but then it ends with a slightly disappointing and unsatisfying fadeout.

Nautical has an interesting riff by guitar at the start which is repeated by the other guitar and bass. The drumming on this track is great. The transition in the middle is perfect, not sacrificing any of the intensity. The opening riff resurfaces quietly at the very end, completing the song.

Blindfolds Aside has some interplay between lead vocals and backing vocals, but nothing interesting happens intrumentally until two minutes in wherein we have the first real guitar solo of the album. The extra length of this song serves better to spread out the heaviness than to try to contain it (this is a bad thing by the way as its a weaker track than the rest). The best part of the song is at the end with two acoustic guitars playing a graceful melody accompanied by a duet with Walker and the beautiful female voice of Jadea Kelly (Kezia). The Prison Guard's part is over.

She Who Mars the Skin of Gods recaptures the intensity and heaviness from the beginning of the album. At 1:21, the band tries out keeping a steady rhythm but abandon that seconds later in case the listener gets to comfortable. The rest of the song has constant beat changes. Jadea's voice enters near the end again. The end cuts off suddenly, not sure if it was supposed to or if its been badly editted.

Turn Soonest to the Sea is a good song, not really standing out however until two and a half minutes where there's a spoken section. The song gets very heavy right after that but then turns into a ballad. At the end, all the band joins in the singing. Moe Carlson takes this opportunity to try out some different drumming patterns. The song fades out slowly before ending with a clip of someone saying, 'ready, aim...'

The Divine Suicide of K. sounds urgent all the way through it. Jadea joins in on the singing, her peaceful voice contrasting completely with Walker's urgency. Strings enter halfway through the song, almost as if telling the guitars to calm down. They don't however and the guitars keep pounding. Jadea sings accompanied by acoustic guitar and distorted guitar at the end. A very strong track after the weakness of the last few.

A Plateful of Our Dead is as intense as the begninning songs were. It sounds nothing like a conclusion track though. Not bad, just pointing it out. The album ends with twin acoustic guitars slowly fading out.

As a debut, this album is slightly inconsistant. There is a lack of variety and the band loses steam in the middle songs. Either that, or the songs start bleeding together....or both. A great album however when listened to as a whole. It's exactly what the most hardcore of rockers are looking for.

NOTE ON THE RATING: When I rate, I rate based on the website's words next to the stars. This is an extremely good debut album, and an excellent addition to this sub-genre.

DJPuffyLemon | 4/5 |


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