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Protest the Hero - Fortress CD (album) cover

FORTRESS

Protest the Hero

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.53 | 94 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Spellcraft
4 stars I cannot believe how such a splendid record as this is given such poor reviews.It really is sad to see that he main reason why people downgrade this diamond in the rough is that they don't think it's "progressive" enough.What kind of a comment is that?I am aware that I'm saying this on a prog site, but geez, sometimes I think that we are so full of it that we just don't give things a well-deserved break.But enough of us.I'm giving this record four stars simply because it sounds INCREDIBLE,not because I don't think it's not "progressive" enough.And I'm glad that it really isn't because this genre can become so bloated most of the time.This album just feels so right when I listen to it.It moves me and steals my attention like no other.I'm not that much into hardcore musical genres but I am very well able to recognize good tunes when I hear them.And this album has it!

First off,if people were not to call this any type of progressive metal then may I ask what genre they are then?Trying to give this band a certain genre is like trying to give Primus a genre,you would just sound stupid trying.So if people think that this alum is not progressive metal then they probably are right because this album "progresses" beyond progressive metal.And thank god for that since progressive metal nowadays just doesn't have it anymore.It is without a doubt more or less the same generic packaging heard on most progressive albums.

But this album,this one took me by a surprise that can only be obtained by hearing something truly strange and awesome like the Cardiacs or Mr. Bungle.I figured that this album would not be such a leap in music but man I am so wrong.Not only does this album evolve,but it also absorbs the chops that made other genres so much fun to listen to.I just can't believe how a human being cannot have fun listening to an album like this.It has so much energy,musicianship,complexity,harmony of dissonance and consonance,and at times sheer beauty.It has the attitude of punk,the unexpected twists of avant garde music,the virtuosity of prog,the short momentum bursts of jazz,and the heaviness of metal.Need I say more?

All songs on this album encompass everything I have said in the last paragraph, so not one song feels out of place at all.It simply feels wonderful when traveling through this album because the songs flow with such ease by and by.Perhaps the only reason why I do not give this album a complete five stars is because there seems to be no "resting place" within the album!In fact,this band is so supercharged with energy that one can get almost to the point of exhaustion listening to this album start to finish.It would have been great to have had at least one relaxed song so the listener can catch their breath.

On a more technical scale,the guitars throughout are heavily distorted and are sometimes accompanied by very nice subtle keyboard work within the layers (take for example the horns in the song "bloodmeat" and choral effects on various tracks.Sometimes this distortion is layered on slower parts where both guitarists flow with each other in rhythm and chord progression. The drums must be of some wood because they are darker in tone and have less sustain,and the cymbals are both natural bright and dark-flavored.So overall,the drums can easily be heard without cutting through the band entirely.The guitars make up most of the wall of sound here and throughout some parts both explode into intertwining solos.Sometimes these solos are more hidden in the noise throughout the songs and you have to have a good ear to point them out.Othertimes they are VERY much heard.But keep in mind (and this is a huge plus for me) that these solos don't feel like they're just pasted onto the song just so the guitarists can show off.No,these solos actually are a part of the song!Even the bass has its spotlight in a few short but sweet moments.One thing that has always been enjoyable for me to hear on this album is that not only are the guitars and drums everywhere,but so is the bass!Just listen to that bassist effortlessly flow with his own subtle solos throughout each track.They can sometimes be hard to hear but it's a real treat!Lastly,the vocalist is just insane.His vibrato isn't too bold,it's just right.And sometimes he utilizes distortion effects to help aid him when he shrieks or screams.Most of the time it's just his plain voice that energetically flows along with the instruments.

I wish I could have made a more elaborate review but I have work to do and I think that everyone should have the picture by now.This album for me was definitely worth the money and I am close to wearing this baby out.Do yourself a favor and treat yourself to a nice afternoon with a great SOLID album.

Prog?Probably not. Awesome?Always.

Spellcraft | 4/5 |

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