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Protest the Hero - Kezia CD (album) cover


Protest the Hero


Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.75 | 73 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
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.

Conor Fynes | 3/5 |


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