For Fans Of
Forget the juvenile party game of musical chairs. Try playing musical genres with Protest the Hero‘s ‘Scurrilous‘ instead. Throw an umbrella over this sound and try to classify it. Perhaps not an easy task. One made even more complicated after a first-up listen. There’s elements of prog, metal and alternative rock, which although frequent neither type solely assumes main prominence.
Ultimately this style is lost somewhere in the sweet nothing of heavy music’s range. And that’s a damn good thing in this instance.
The music on third studio album, ‘Scurrilous‘ is dense, dynamic and innovative. It’s not so much about reinventing the wheel but rather just putting it to good use with some clever and considered musical qualities. Fans looking for bellowing screams and piercing screeches from frontman Rody Walker will sadly be disappointed. ‘Scurrilous‘ is all about the clean-cut range of Walker, which moves anywhere between melodramatic crooning, falsetto bravado and an assertive rock tone. Essentially what it adds is a personality and emotion that is sadly missing from most bands today.
Song-writing and lyrical content are commonly overlooked and at equal times deliberately glossed over. On ‘Scurrilous‘ the written musical prose is a clear strength. It is refreshing to be able to hear and understand the words being sung. Today, most metal articulation is a composite of guttural, deep growls and screams where the vocalist could easily be reciting lyrics to a Justin Bieber song and fans are going to be in the dark, still headbanging and pumping their fists accordingly.
‘C’est La Vie‘ is a perfect introduction. Who would’ve thought a track with an understated prog feel could be so damn catchy. Is it too grand and/or early to say ‘Song of the Year’? ‘Moonlight‘ begins with a Dream Theater-esque groove before Protest the Hero give the track their signature touch. ‘The Reign of Unending Terror‘ is a bit more accessible while ‘Sex Tapes‘, featuring a guest spot from Propagandhi‘s Chris Hannah is an effective sign-off.
Killyourstereo attested at the time of predecessor ‘Fortress‘s’ release that as soon as Protest the Hero refine their craft through gathered experience then they will be a scary proposition. Well three years have come and gone and Protest the Hero have cashed in on that potential. And in such an impressive manner too.
An unfortunate performance slot time (and a slightly bad sound mix) at Soundwave, sandwiched between the concurrent sets of Iron Maiden and The Bronx meant the band probably didn’t get the chance to convert many new fans, which ‘Scurrilous‘ shows they clearly deserve.
Protest the Hero have engineered an album this is so well-crafted it almost gives the illusion that ‘Scurrilous’ was an entirely effortless production. It’s a serious release delivered in the most light-hearted of manners. You get the feeling this will rightfully rank highly at any end of year musical discussions. C’est La Vie indeed.
1. C’est La Vie
7. The Reign of Unending Terror
10. Sex Tapes