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LP (12" album, 33 rpm)
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Vagrant first signed this Whitby, Ontario band in 2006 and re-issued their self-released album "Kezia". Cobraside will now release the vinyl version of their new studio album "Fortress" in February or March of 2008 (the CD streets January 29, 2008). The band's sound combines elements of Coheed & Cambria, at the Drive In, and Every Time I Die, merging technical metal and post-hardcore instincts.
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The main thing one will notice and most likely be impressed by on this album is the musicianship. Fortress, while still metalcore at heart, takes a much more metal-sounding approach than the previous album, Kezia, allowing for more "wiggle room" with the music. The guitarists come up with a decent variety of entertainingly clever riffs and fills throughout the album, generally tending to exude a somewhat "epic" sound. Bassist Arif has his shining moments, as well; there are a few solos throughout the album, and aside from this, he is audible through the entire record, which can be rare for a bassist. Drummer Moe exhibits some sick sticksmanship, whether pounding on the double bass drums or cracking out a nice jazzy fill. But the single most impressive aspect about the musicianship on the album is this: every instrument flows together. Perfectly. There is never a song where the guitarists take front-and-center with an all-consuming solo, or anything of the sort. At any moment in time throughout the album one could listen closely and state something notable about any given musician playing at the point. This musical union is, in my humble opinion, a rarely attained and highly valuable feat in the world of metalcore, and is a primary reason why I find this album to me so satisfying.
As for the vocals...well, let's just say Rody Walker has some pipes. High-pitched pipes, but pipes nonetheless. The clean vocals given by Walker are extremely proficient, hitting extremely high notes with ease and always remaining accessible. His harsh vocals are strategically placed and never overbearing; the high screams always fit perfectly with the accompanying music and his low-pitched growls add good emphasis to any part in which they appear. While the vocals may take some getting used to for many listeners, I find them to be both pleasurable and more than sufficient for their purpose. The lyrics in the album, which tell about war, goddess worship, and all sorts of oddly fantastical subjects, do occasionally seem to be a bit far-fetched. However, they often fit well with the epic-sounding atmospheres radiated by the musicians.
Something that you may think Protest the Hero will still have trouble with, even with all their musical prowess, is repetition. All too often, bands with incredible amounts off potential fail to reach it because they are unable to write a song that is differentiable from their others. Protest the Hero strike down this stereotype, too, though. Some guitar riffs do seem a tad recycled at times, but each song on this album is distinctively different from the next, and there is not a single one that fails to bring something utterly different to the table. Due to this, it is hard to specify strong tracks on the album, because they are all just plain delightful...and this could be nothing but a very, very good thing for Protest the Hero.
To end, I shall say this: buy this album, in the name of all that is holy, unholy, and everything in between. This record is, to be frank, the best album I've heard in ages. To hear such young musicians producing such fantastic music does my heart good, and makes me absolutely giddy to hear what they have in store for the future. I think it goes unsaid that I've already preordered Scurrilous.
The album itself as an entity is excruciatingly heavy. Their creative edge on the riffs and musical stance in mind numbing. These Canadian geniuses are on the verge of setting a new standard for the way things should be done. Far away from the poppy crap that the "metal" scene has been spewing out for ages this is something fresh and revitalizing to stand up to the hip hop jugernaut currently dominating the air waves.
If you don't already have it get it. This album is not something to sleep on. If you do you are crazy retarded. Just buy it listen to it and forget about all the crap released in the past this is what metal or post hardcore or metalcore whatever you want to call it is supposed to be.
This is a wall of guitars, riffing and shredding with dizzying technique. The rhthym section also shreds and doubles up and down. When I listen to this music I imagine the band being all crazy legs and arms flailing all over the place unitl their bones start breaking and then they just keep going. In a single word this music is frantic. If my head explodes that's fine. There are acoustic and progressive elements that keep it super fresh.
The ridiculous technical prowess of these "kids" makes me hope they can stay together for an extended time and grace me with more heavy progressive/metal/mathcore/hardcore/punkplus. Hey, I just made up "punkplus". Make sure you credit me. Nevermind, buy this album now.
Now, Fortress is out, and I had to check it out of course. It turns out to be even heavier than Kezia. It has a lot more solos and heavy riffing, even more double bass drumming, heavy screaming (even deep growling, but don't worry the light singing is still there, and even better sounding in my opinion). I think the solos are even catchier, more harmonic, and fast than before, which I really like. The production is a lot cleaner than before (some people might prefer more raw production, but I think this is good). If you are the type that is into the lyrics, all I can say is that it's... interesting.
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