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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

DeKay
4 stars Protest The Hero's second album came out three years after their debut "Kezia", which had generated discussions about the talent of the band and left questions on how this band would continue. Would the next one be a typical mainstream hardcore album (like thousands of bands all over the world that sound so similar like one band with 100,000 releases) or would they experiment even more, taking their music to the next level, whatever that would be?

When the first notes of "Bloodmeat" hit my speakers I was relieved realising that the second senario was the case, though it is not that simple. These guys are totally aware of their talent and want to be as successful as they can or better deserve. Their character did not change much, except the fact that they sound much more like a prog metal band and a bit less hardcore. Their sound is thicker, and a little more prog (though this is somekind of depreciation for the level of musicianship in "Kezia").

The commercial success of "Fortress" proves how good album this is. Very few bands have achieved #1 status the first week of release in their country (Canada), #95 on the US Billboard and #10 spot on the Billboard Top Independent Album chart with such a progressive approach in their music.

The lyrics are once again really impressive and probably deeper than in their debut. There are obvious Robert Graves influences here (specifically from his "The White Goddess" book on poetic myth). Arif Mirabdolbaghi, the band's incredible bass player, is also a talented lyricist and this is a pleasant surprise. Bands that sound like Protest The Hero are not ususally famous for their lyrics.

The songs are characterized by Walker's impossible vocal lines, which are now a bit more inclined towards a brutal, harsh style, retaining the alternative, harcore singing and adding many melodic (Muse-like) lines. However, the album still sounds very melodic and yet attacking. Hoskin and Millar have evidently found the perfect chemistry. Their twin-guitar playing is astonishing. Alongside Hinds and Kelliher (Mastodon), these guys are among the most impressive metal band guitarists today, and honestly, I like these youngsters more. Mirabdolbaghi and Carlson are like a well-oiled machine playing games with rhythms and constantly changing the songs' mood, which is, and always has been a like-it-or-not thing (it may sound disturbing or too much to some).

The whole album is really good. However, I must admit that the level of sonwriting is a little (only a little) uneven here. There are many brilliant songs, like "Bloodmeat", "Bone Marrow", "Sequoia Throne" (my favourite), "Palms Read", "Limb From limb" (which includes a keyboard solo by Vadim Pruzhanov of DragonForce), and "Wretch" (probably the album's best lyrics). The rest of the songs (4) are also great, only a bit lower than the aforementioned.

I look forward to their third studio album. These guys owe themselves a masterpiece.

DeKay | 4/5 |

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