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Protest the Hero - Fortress CD (album) cover


Protest the Hero


Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.55 | 107 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Andy Webb
Special Collaborator
Retired Admin
3 stars Great ideas that don't go very far.

Protest the Hero a relatively new mathcore/progressive metal band from Canada. They smashed onto the scene with their killer debut Kezia, which reached far bounds in their genre's sonic spectrum. The band comes back in 2008 with Fortress, an overall good album but a bit lacking. The band has very good ideas with their music but they fail to develop them very far. Overall, the band delivers a vicious punch of intense and technical metal, but they fall short of creating anything truly special.

Bloodmeat smashes open the album with a killer little riff that quickly breaks down into another riff that quickly breaks down into another riff that then switches to another riff... whew! With this song we see early on how the band has plenty of absolutely fantastic ideas, but they don't develop them into any cohesive track but just cram as much stuff into a 3 minute track as possible. Overall, the song is very strong and doesn't fall short of intensity, but has way too much going on to be considered an overall excellent song.

The Dissentience is a little better than the last track, with more concise ideas being further developed than just a rough cut guitar riff. Still, however, the song shows signs of way too much (or not enough) thought put into such a short time span. With some of the ideas present in the track, a lengthy metal epic could have been made. The track is strong, but lacks a unique spark that would make it a spectacular track.

Bone Marrow is one of the best tracks on the album, making an absolutely epic duology (with the next track). It contains some of the more creative ideas, albeit there are way too many of them shoved into the song. A little bit of funk is heard, with some fantastic mathcore riffs synchronizations heard. The whole experience of Bone Marrow could be seen as an almost surreal one, with bass boosts put in at the perfect spot and keyboard textures being sprinkled in here and there. The melodic transition at the end of the track marks the finishing of "part 1" of the album and the advent of part 2. The whole little section is beautiful, either adding or subtracting to the overall feel of the track.

Sequia Throne is my absolute favorite track on the album. Absolutely brilliant riffs, great soloing and harmonizations between the two guitars, and some absolutely fantastic bass and drums synchronizations. Overall, the track displays what Protest the Hero can do: rape your ears for all they're worth. The band dishes out an insane amount of mathcore madness, with hectic time signature changes, insanely fast soloing and synchronized breakdowns. Overall, this is easily the strongest track on the album, although I would love it if the ideas in the song were developed further.

Palms Read marks the slow decline of my interest in the album. After the relatively incredible tracks, little more can be done for the album. Of course, this song also contains some purely genius ideas, but still they are so all over the place that it makes it hard to consider this a serious song but more like an album teaser. Overall, the song is really good, but is nowhere the best of the album.

Limb from Limb is alright, but nothing special. Some really standard metalcore riffing and crazy instrumental prowess make this rather unspecial compared to the rest of the metalcore genre. The song can get a little "boring," with way too much craziness making it a combination of boring and harsh.

Spoils is a really nice, but a little odd, "fusion" song of power metal and alternative metal. Some great ideas again are a little hectic and underused in an insane song. The song, like so many of the songs before, contain way too many ideas shoved into a short time span. The really only exceptional part of the song is the beautiful transitional piano piece at the end of the song.

Wretch is so much like the other song. Some great riffs and ideas shoved into a short time span and made way too crazy. Some really awkward modulations to major also detract from this song a lot. Sometimes, there is a point where a musician needs to step and ask himself what is he putting into a song and why. It's pretty obvious they did not do this as they shoved riff after riff into an obese track. Overall, the song has some great ideas, but the song overall is way too hectic.

Goddess Bound is yet another way too overstuffed song. This time, throw in some odd and sometimes way too generic lyrics and mix in an overused concept and you get the Goddess Bound/Goddess Gagged duology. The song is good, but like essentially every other track on the album, has way too many great ideas shoved into it.

Goddess Gagged is an appropriate ender to the album. Using much more proggy riffs than just metalcore, and seem to have a much more structured song built this time. Finally, only a select few ideas were used, and tastefully. The song has some really great ideas too, some of the better ones of the album. Overall, the track is actually a rather strong ender, albeit it does end rather suddenly. It has some strong ideas that are a little more structured, although it still seems a little all over the place at times.

ALBUM OVERALL: From the tone of the review, one may assume that I hate this album, which is not true. First time through, I was blown away. But, I slowly began to realize that the band had just pumped the album full of great ideas meant to explode your mind while truly they were feeble and underdeveloped ideas. The instrumentation is spectacular, hammering in another great metalcore performance, but the music preformed is nothing special. As I said time and time again, the ideas used on this album are stunted and underdeveloped. Overall, the album has fantastic ideas, but they provide for nothing more than a tiring and exhausted ride. 3 stars.

Andy Webb | 3/5 |


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