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Protest the Hero

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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Protest the Hero Kezia album cover
3.78 | 82 ratings | 10 reviews | 33% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2006

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Act 1 - No Stars Over Bethlehem (3:48)
2. Act 1 - Heretics & Killers (3:09)
3. Act 1 - Divinity Within (4:32)
4. Act 2 - Bury the Hatchet (3:23)
5. Act 2 - Nautical (2:57)
6. Act 2 - Blindfolds Aside (5:58)
7. Act 3 - She Who Mars the Skin of Gods (3:51)
8. Act 3 - Turn the Soonest to the Sea (6:21)
9. Act 3 - The Divine Suicide of K. (5:10)
10. Finale - A Plateful of Our Dead (4:29)

Total Time 43:38

Line-up / Musicians

- Rody Walker / lead vocals
- Tim Millar / guitar,vocals
- Luke Hoskin / guitar,vocals
- Arif Mirabdolbaghi / bass,vocals
- Moe Carlson / drums

Releases information

Released April 04 2006
CD Vagrant Records (2006)

Thanks to TheProgtologist for the addition
and to Rune2000 for the last updates
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PROTEST THE HERO Kezia ratings distribution

(82 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(33%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(37%)
Good, but non-essential (20%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (6%)

PROTEST THE HERO Kezia reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Moatilliatta
5 stars Metal, punk and hardcore: what feelings do those titles evoke in you? If you're anything like me, you hold generally negative conotations on those genres. I don't think any musical genre is inherently bad, but I do feel that there are hoards of mediocre or awful bands under such banners for every high-quality one. The same can be said about all genres to varying extents, but I have even more of a tough time handling the average bands of the said genres. While there have been several metal bands who have at least tried to do something interesting, very few have tried to experiment with punk and hardcore.

Canadian outfit Protest the Hero decided to mesh all three, with a progressive edge, and to surprising sucess. The music is technical, but it's also filled with hooks, melodies, and emotion, which I believe is key to making a great record. The individual tracks spew out fresh ideas every minute, but they are very structured and fluent, even including distinct verses and choruses. Vocalist Rody Walker has a bit of a whiny voice when he sings, but after coming to terms with it, you'll realize that he is a capable vocalist who lays down a solid performance. The musicians have obvious abilities, but they are very modest with them.

This is a concept album which the band describes as a situationist requiem, where the story is told from three different perspectives. Each perspective is given three tracks, and between each part is a soft interlude. Then, there is a final track to conclude the story. The lyrics on this album were inspired by Dostoevsky and are surprisingly mature, especially considering the cncept was developed when the boys were in high school.

This is one of the most impressive debuts by a tech-metal band, loaded with great hooks, the occasional beautiful acoustic passages and female vocals, and tons of emotion.

It has been worth putting up with all of the unbearable music my brother has shared with me to discover such a great band. This is why you always let someone share new music with you; you never know what gems you may discover!

Review by ProgBagel
2 stars Protest the Hero - 'Kezia' 2.5 stars

Technical metal meets.indie?

Those two genres are an impossible mix in my opinion. This bands sound right off the bat just does not agree with me. It is practically impossible to be hardcore or technical and then try a pop vocal line somewhere in there. That is why hardcore bands have such a mediocre song structure. Just going crazy and then having a 'random' break where they can sound like the bands that they try to be the opposite of like Simple Plan or Good Charlotte. It is a really cheap way to get fans and a decent following of mindless drones.

Anyway, the songs are unbelievably disconnected on this album. There are too many shifts that aren't transferred well at all. I can't even hear a single track that sticks out. I don't recommend this at all unless you are diehard to hear anything that sounds technical, or are interested in poppish hooks in very brutal metal.

Review by horsewithteeth11
4 stars Protest the Hero was a band I had heard about mostly through word of mouth and on several music forums, especially some metal ones. Metalcore isn't something that's really my cup of tea most of the time, but I heard so many good things about them that I decided to check them out. The songs "Bury the Hatchet" from this, their debut album, and Sequoia Throne off of Fortress are both on their PA page (I was surprised to find them here to begin with). I listened to both songs several times in a row, and each time they were equally jaw-dropping. PTH sounded like so much more than technical metalcore to me. They manage to blend several other genres, including hardcore punk and progressive metal, into their ridiculously complex music. Although I suppose one of the main reasons I was turned on was because the metalcore influence was only a small part of the whole sound.

The music is mostly technical/progressive metalcore, and all the band members have serious chops to back this up. Some of the riffs and solos in their music are absolutely mind-blowing, and I would be surprised if I ever managed to pull any of this stuff off as a musician. Although what amazes me about this band so much is the age of all the members. If I remember correctly, every member of the band was no older twenty-one when work on the album began. So these guys might have been or were becoming musical virtuosos before they were legally able to drink in my country. That really says something in my opinion. The one thing that is most likely to tune off most progressive rock/metal fans is the sound of Rody Walker's voice. It's not traditional prog metal. In fact, it's not progressive-sounding in any way. It is however a very long and high range of notes in the singing, shouting, and growling department, but the singing and shouting are the most prominent vocals used. Walker sounds much more like a vocalist for a post-hardcore or punk band than a progressive metal band. Some people on this site might be turned off by such a voice, but when you get past the non-progressive part of it, he really is talented at what he does.

The album is apparently a concept album about a woman named Kezia who is to be executed by firing squad, but understanding the concept isn't too important for enjoying the album. This isn't quite a masterpiece, so I'll give it 4 stars instead. Some of the hooks and melodies give it a somewhat poppier edge, but it's still an enjoyable album. Fortress however tops this for me, and I except many great things in the future from this Canadian group. I'd recommend this to fans of technical/progressive metal that either don't mind or enjoy a mesh of hardcore punk and metalcore.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars After hearing Fortress I wanted to hear more from this exciting new band. Unfortunately after reading many Kezia-reviews I decided not to build on my original notion due to talks of punk sounding material and a couple of other minor issues. So why am I still writing about this album? Well apparently I still gave Kezia a go and here is the whole story:

It all started with the release of the new game in Apple's App Store called Tap Tap Revenge 2! The first game in the series was a Guitar Hero/Dance Dance Revolution type of game where the player had to press the right buttons to the rhythm of the music. I never cared much for the original game because of the boring music but this new game featured some original content. To my disbelief Tap Tap Revenge 2 had a total of four Protest The Hero tunes, two from each album, and so I was introduced to No Stars Over Bethlehem and Heretics & Killers! Out of these four tracks only Heretics & Killers had the medium setting while the others were only on hard and extreme modes which made them unplayable for a novice player like yours truly. Over the course of the next couple of weeks I challenged myself in order to beat Heretics & Killers with a 100% hit ratio which felt like an impossible achievement at first. Finally I did it and by that time I've developed truly a remarkable relation with that composition so I just had to listen to the rest of the material!

My original reaction upon hearing Kezia was quite mixed because although there were many things I liked there were also quite a few issues that made the release sound underdeveloped to my ears. The concept in particular was a major letdown and I just can't see the mature writing that some of the reviews were talking about. The music is good but I'm sure that it would have felt even better have I not been listening to Fortress which is still superior and most importantly a lot more mature in comparison! The members fall easily into patterns that sound too much like tributes to other bands than a coherent original piece of work. Do I even need to talk about the production?

Well that's enough of me babbling, Kezia is a good but non-essential release.

***** star songs: Heretics & Killers (3:09)

**** star songs: No Stars Over Bethlehem (3:48) Divinity Within (4:32) Bury The Hatchet (3:23) Blindfolds Aside (5:58) Turn the Soonest To The Sea (6:21) The Divine Suicide Of K. (5:10) A Plateful Of Our Dead (4:29)

*** star songs: Nautical (2:57) She Who Mars The Skin Of Gods (3:51)

Review by Conor Fynes
3 stars 'Kezia' - Protest The Hero (5/10)

Protest The Hero have not been a band I've been much endeared to lately. Although my first impression with their second album 'Fortress' initially struck a chord with me, it didn't take long before the music began to grow tiresome. Although their first record 'Kezia' is a step above 'Fortress' in terms of musicality and intelligence, the end result is the same; an adolescent romp through progressive territory that comes out feeling fairly lukewarm. Although there are certainly excellent things to hear on 'Kezia', I am left to wonder how much it is worth to sift through the weak parts to strike the gold.

In what is almost certainly a matter of personal taste, it is the voice of lead singer Rody Walker which may turn me off most to the music Protest The Hero plays on 'Kezia'. Although a strong range is evident here, the sound of Walker's voice amounts to little more than an adolescent yelp. Especially during his more technically expressive moments, Walker is quick to adopt a fairly whiny tinge in his voice that is no bit pleasant to the ears, and does little to distinguish Protest from the legions of angsty new metalcore bands. The band is clever enough to change pace now and then with some female vocals and screams, neither of which ever amount to anything much better, but still more tolerable than Rody's cleans.

Luckily, Rody Walker is the only sour aspect of the band's performance. Especially for their ages, the instrumentalists of the band are well advanced beyond their years, and this shows most profoundly in the guitar work of Tim Millar and Luke Hoskin. Having mastered modular riffing and tapping from this debut onward, it is their strong work that the rest of the band builds around, although the bass and drums do well to fill out the sound. To showcase these skills, each song on 'Kezia' is beautifully arranged, featuring multiple layers of guitars, plenty of different neat ideas here and there, and a tendency to throw light and heavier moments into the course of one song; something that hasn't seen so much success in metalcore.

Unfortunately, while the music is played with precision and everything conceivable is done to make the music complex and enjoyable, the songwriting generally lacks depth and comes across as shallow, especially after a handful of listens. While Protest The Hero has invested all of their efforts into giving as much flash as possible with 'Kezia', there is no suggestion to me that there is anything worth going back for after becoming familiar with the flashy riffs and technical showcases. With that in mind, the album grows weaker with each subsequent listen, although I'll be the first to admit that the initial force of the album is quite admirable.

'Kezia' has been lauded as a masterpiece by fans of the band, and in some parts of the record, I can certainly see why. However, although the band's technical skills as flaunted here to no end and the record has some decent initial shock value, Protest The Hero have some serious issues with their craft to change or fix before I could ever call myself a fan of them.

Review by siLLy puPPy
4 stars PROTEST THE HERO originally had the name of Happy Go Lucky and i have to say it was a good move to make the ole switcheroonie cuz that is one totally UN-metal name if i've ever heard one. They hail from Ontario, Canada and after releasing one EP in 2002, they released their first full debut album KEZIA on August 2005 in their native Canada and in April 2006 in the US. I have no idea when for other countries. KEZIA is a nebulous concept album that vocalist Rody Walker describes as having a subtle deeper meaning below the theme of an execution of a woman named KEZIA. The overall concept symbolizes the ever quickening decline of society in general described through the life of KEZIA in prison and how she copes with day to day life until her final demise.

Personally i don't care about this concept. This is metalcore and i can't understand the lyrics anyway, but for those who do care about these things, it is a nice story that weaves around the brutal metal music with progressive layerings. If you ask me the music of PROTEST THE HERO is a hybrid of The Mars Volta and Between The Buried And Me. The Volta comparisons hold true on a few levels. Firstly Rody Walker's high pitched range and vocal style really sounds a lot like Cedric Bixler-Zavala's. I had to check the first time hearing this to make sure this wasn't another project of Cedric. Secondly, the song structures remind me a lot of The Mars Volta's as well, at least their most rocking parts. The intermissions have similarities as well but PROTEST doesn't go fully into psychedelic Krautrock tangents. There are similar guitar tones, vocal styles etc.

On the Buried And Me side of the equation, the metalcore is crisp and staccato with progressive intros and outros and odd time signatures that are abundant and this really has a lot in common. If you ever wondered what The Mars Volta would sound like if they truly ventured into brutal metal with lightning fast guitar riffs that drift from chaotic Psyopus type dissonance to melodic neoclassical shredding with pummeling riffs and percussion while dropping a big chunk of the Latin and psychedelic influences, then you don't have to go to an alternate universe to find out, it can be found in this one and PROTEST THE HERO sounds just like that to me. I don't find this band to be as adventurous as say "Colors" by Between The Buried In Me which leaves no rock unturned for influences, but this album finds a lot of sounds to incorporate into the melodic metalcore to dish out. While metalcore isn't usually the sub genre of metal i mostly gravitate towards, i do find some of the progressive types very satisfying and this one has earned some staying power in my world. It is an album that delivers in being extremely brutal, soft and sensual and above all maintains melodic developments throughout its run.

Latest members reviews

4 stars Many things have been said and written about Canada and how unusual, crazy or divergent canadian bands are, not only in prog. I have to admit I agree with that, and I don't mean anything bad about canadian bands. On the contray, if americans know how to rock, I sure believe that canadians know ... (read more)

Report this review (#301003) | Posted by DeKay | Thursday, September 30, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Protest The Hero or Power Rangers Metal as I like to call them. Yea, when Sikth disbanded (one of the first bands I had ever liked, I mourn their death everyday by the way), there was no math core bands that could even fit their lovely crazy shoes, until Canada started to make some of the wei ... (read more)

Report this review (#277737) | Posted by arcane-beautiful | Tuesday, April 13, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Protest the Hero's debut is a pummeling piece of music. Technical wizardry and break neck speed are here in spades. And of course these Canadians don't forget the melody, creating some of the catchiest music you will here from any band on progarchives. For me that is the appeal of the band, brin ... (read more)

Report this review (#168826) | Posted by Hrvat | Sunday, April 27, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars One of my all time favorite Metal albums. Kezia is about the story of the character of the same name who is about to be executed. Each act is from a different person's perspective of the execution. The priest, the executioner/prison guard, and Kezia herself. For how young they were when the ... (read more)

Report this review (#168511) | Posted by shentile | Wednesday, April 23, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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