Album Review: Protest The Hero - 'Fortress'

28 February 2008 | 6:16 pm | Staff Writer

Someone’s been listening to Dream Theatre…

More Protest The Hero More Protest The Hero

It has become common place for

teenage metal fans to possess the same level of technical proficiency

as their elder statesman, but one thing most of them are yet to grasp

is the art of song writing. Although they still can’t legally drink

in the US, the members of Protest The Hero have an arsenal of

memorable tunes and guitar wizardry that would put bands twice their

age to shame. 

While the band have an obvious

appreciation of the last couple of Between The BuriedAnd

Me releases, the five young gentleman that make up PTH have

enough unique ideas up their collective sleeves to bring something new

to a genre which is fast running out of ideas. Musical proficiency aside, Rody’s soaring vocals have more in common with the power metal

heroes of yesteryear rather than his glass gargling peers, something

which gives Protest The Hero a timeless and dare I say it more

accessible sound. 

It only takes thirty seconds of

“Bloodmeat” for you to realize that PTH’s axe-men spent a good chunk of their formative years learning the solos

to Master Of Puppets. The song seamlessly shifts between frantic

technical metal, Pantera inspired southern riffs and a mid section

which is destined to be played to stadiums across the world… or at

the very least, have a promotional video with the band playing on a

mountain top. 

The European influenced opening

of “The Dissentience” is one of the more straight forward moments

on the record, but it doesn’t take long for PTH to up the ante

in the riff department and add some flourishes from a horn section (all

of which occurs within less than two minutes) while the bridge proves

that power ballads still have a place in modern metal. 

Rody’s vocal workout

on “Bone Marrow” combined with the fret board acrobatics of both

guitarists and bass player Arif can only be described as epic. While many bands attempt to squeeze dozens

off riffs into one song without actually going anywhere, Protest

The Hero manage to conjure up a cohesive tune, an impressive feat

when you consider how busy all five members are throughout the almost

six minute onslaught. “Sequoia Throne” should cement PTH a spot

in Guitar Hero 4 and just in case you ever wanted to know what

a more technically savvy version of Queen would sound like you can just listen to “Palms Reads”.  

Upon first listen I found “Limb

From Limb” to be a little weak compared to the remainder of Fortress,

that is of course until I heard the ridiculously over the top but equally

as amazing keyboard solo which pops up around the three minute mark,

followed shortly after but one of the album’s toughest riffs. “Spoils”

is pop metal (if there’s such a thing) at it’s finest, a future

single if I’ve ever heard one, and the rock n roll choruses of “Wretch”

make themselves at home amongst the remainder of the song’s metallic

leanings. Them thematic “Goddess Bound” and “Goddess Gagged”

round Fortress out and although the tunes themselves are musically flawless

they don’t have the same staying power as the rest of the material

on the rest of the album.

For a band to be this accomplished

at such a young age is almost scary. Imagine then what Protest The

Hero will be capable of after they’ve spent another few years

on the road. If Fortress is an indication of what they can do now then PTH have the potential to be one of the next great metal bands.

  1. Bloodmeat
  2. Dissentience
  3. Bone Marrow
  4. Sequoia Throne
  5. Palms Read
  6. Limb From Limb
  7. Spoils
  8. Wretch
  9. Goddess Bound
  10. Goddess Gagged