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Protest the Hero - Volition CD (album) cover


Protest the Hero

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars There is no doubt Protest the Hero is one of the most professional and best-sounding prog metal bands in the world (2007's Fortress made that clear). With Volition, besides being a kick-ass record, PtH presents a relatively new phenomena in professional rock: an album that, in their words "was made possible by the generous contributions of thousands. Thousands of people who, without hearing a single note, put their faith in us to make them something special." Quite an accomplishment. But it is also, essentially, music to order, and presumably has higher expectations than for the new work a band would normally be hawking, a production that they or a record company had paid for.

This time it worked, and the material and performance will likely please both fans and the curious. In fact Volition would be a great starter. A touch more accessible than previous releases and with mild influence from guys like Opeth, LTE, Metallica, Coheed&Cambria, and Ron Jarzombek (who guests on a cut), my one complaint is that there are simply more songs here than necessary and the band's highly distinctive sound becomes monotone after a point. But that aside and with the beautiful artwork and packaging, the disc is an extremely healthy offering. 'Clarity' has stuttering rhythms, great chordal colors, and stuck-pig harmonics; Jarzombek's tech candy abounds on 'Drumhead Trial' with Chris Adler's (not Moe Carlson's) furious drums; Slick and spinning 'Tilting Against Windmills' is insatiable, absolutely killer, continued through 'Without Prejudice'.

Roddy Walker weaves his vocals with ease into 'Yellow Teeth', as on mid-paced and catchy 'Platos Tripartite' (a potential hit if it'd been under 4 minutes). But by 'Mist', an otherwise great track, our ears begin to tire and by 'Animal Bones' we've heard enough to know PtH's 2013 issue is very, very good. Too many notes? No. But, I would say with a fair amount of confidence, too many songs.

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Posted Wednesday, March 5, 2014 | Review Permalink

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