Protest the Hero
Kezia


4.0
excellent

Review

by Joe Costa USER (34 Reviews)
December 27th, 2006 | 57 replies


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Despite the dark lyrical content, this album is more fun than kicking wheelchairs over at the Special Olympics. Oh, and the guitarists sort of rule too.

For being such a politically motivated band, Protest the Hero makes some fun music. Their formula honestly sounds like one for disaster: combine equal parts Manowar and Iron Maiden with the occasional metalcore breakdown, and the Queen-chorus and you should have an absolute recipe for suck. But for some reason, Kezia, the bands debut LP, works on nearly every level.

Technically speaking, Kezia is meant to be a loose concept album based around the perspectives of different characters (the Prison Priest, The Prison Guard, and the woman named Kezia) in a story about a woman who is slated to be executed for murder, but in all honesty, the concept almost detracts from the album. Each song on an individual basis conveys the bands political views quite well, and the story its self just isn’t well enough conceived for it to really stand out on its own. While Protest the Hero certainly garner credit for trying, the concept of the album really is a bit of a let down.

Musically, Kezia shreds. Every member of the band contributes a stellar performance, but no one shines brighter than guitarists Luke Hoskin and Tim Millar. Out of Kezia’s 10 tracks, there is no less than 15 tracks worth of almost senseless guitar masturbation of all varieties. They noodle; they wank; they chug, and then when you least expect it, they slow it down for a bit of atmospheric playing, just to keep you on your toes. Drummer Moe Carlson also proves to be quite an excellent addition to the band, providing an interesting and varied backbeat, adopting from nearly every school of rock drumming out there, from blast-beats to wonderfully spot on Keith Moon imitations. Bassist Arif Mirabdolbaghi doesn’t contribute much to the record aside from thickening the guitar parts, although he does show quite a bit of instrumental prowess, especially when carrying the melody while backing vocalist Rody Walker on the bridge of “Blindfolds Aside”.

As for Walker, his vocals are generally a hotly contested issue. Unlike other –core bands, Walker uses mostly clean vocals while occasionally screaming a line or two. While some argue that his vocals hardly fit the music, others seem to believe that his voice harkens back to the classic metal of Iron Maiden and Helloween and it fits just fine. Personally, I’m split on his voice. It’s surely got plenty of range (more on that later) and it’s certainly unique for a band of such style to have it, but it seems as if half the time the vocals compliment the music perfectly and the other half it sounds miserably out of place. While the vocals are certainly a spotty subject, the same cannot be said for the rest of the album.

Possibly the most appealing quality of Kezia is the subtle variety evident in all of its 10 tracks. In under 45 minutes, Protest the Hero rip through just about every genre of heavy music, from The Red Chord-inspired mathcore moments on “A Plateful of Our Dead” all the way to the cheesy cock-rock slant of the aforementioned “Blindfolds Aside” and back again to the speed metal of “No Stars Over Bethlehem”, Kezia contains at least some enjoyable facet for fans of heavy music. “Turn Soonest to the Sea” opens up harder than the majority of songs on the album before transitioning into what is probably the best bridge Queen never wrote. However, instead of sounding like a cheesy rip-off, it comes off as wonderfully catchy and thoughtfully constructed, and could easily bring a smile to the most stoic metalhead’s face. The leading single “Blindfolds Aside” sounds like Manowar after a sweaty make-out session with Bad Religion, but in the best way possible.

But what sets Protest the Hero’s debut apart from the other technical metalcore bands out there is that its just a lot of fun to listen to. Make no bones about it, the lyrical content of this record may be dark and somewhat depressing, but they sure as shit know how to make up for it. Almost every song on Kezia will make you want to scream along with singer Rody Walker’s almost falsetto. Whether it’s the stellar pop chant-along of “NO WOMAN IS A WHORE” or the haunting ”I swear I have compassion/I’ve just been trained to disregard the prisoners life/Because I’m the prison guard” where Walker pushes his voice to an eerie moan over some epic guitar soloing that would make Blind Guardian proud.

As the album comes to its close, Kezia, despite the obvious flaws is an excellent album. While it may be cheesy and may also rip off the styles that hundreds of other bands have patented, Protest the Hero have made an album that is not just technically proficient with relevant lyrical content, but an album that is fun to listen to, which is something that is so rarely accomplished in music nowadays.

Recommended Tracks: Turn Soonest to the Sea, Blindfolds Aside, No Stars Over Bethlehem, The Divine Suicide of K



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user ratings (2619)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Thor
December 27th 2006


10191 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

You pretty much nailed it, except that Heretics and Killers is clearly a highlight of the album.

Anglachel
December 27th 2006


152 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Stellar review.

PS: "classic metal of Iron Maiden and Helloween and it fits just find"

I think you mean "fine"

Bfhurricane
December 27th 2006


6197 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Very nice review. This album is just freakin awesome.
EDIT: Heretics and Killers is my least favorite on the albumThis Message Edited On 12.27.06

Intransit
December 27th 2006


2797 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks and stuff. Thor, I enjoy Heretics alot. It would probably be my 5th favorite from the album.

Oh and my shoddy grammar=fixed.

Tyler
Emeritus
December 27th 2006


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Heretics is the weakest track, and the bass work for me definitely stands above the guitar.

Zesty Mordant
December 27th 2006


1196 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

tbh I've never been too keen on these guys, but good review nonetheless.

Tyler
Emeritus
December 27th 2006


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

hah, Zesty. I remember our petty fight in my review. Good times with varying opinions.

ToWhatEnd
December 28th 2006


3172 Comments


I like the review a lot. Very balanced and fair. I need to listen to this again some time soon, sometimes it is just so overwhelming I have to hit the stop button and change my shirt.

sdonnell
December 28th 2006


40 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The bass is low in the mix, but it's still audible. Arif wrote most all of the songs for this album, so that's pretty ironic.

Tyler
Emeritus
December 28th 2006


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

He wrote the lyrics, not the songs. The songs were initially derived by group efforts, but Luke, as far as I know, came up with the riffs they initially worked from.

ToWhatEnd
December 28th 2006


3172 Comments


Don't listen to Cocaine, he's only a casual listener :lol:

ToWhatEnd
December 28th 2006


3172 Comments


Ah Christ double post.This Message Edited On 12.28.06

Intransit
December 28th 2006


2797 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks for all of the compliments guys. I was actually sort of on the edge about posting this because I'm not entirely satisfied with it. Any suggestions on how I can fix it?

EDIT:
[quote=cocaine]
Heretics is the weakest track, and the bass work for me definitely stands above the guitar.[/quote]
I thought the bassist was pretty awesome live...when you can acutally hear him. On here, there are very few moments when you can clearly hear what he's playing. This Message Edited On 12.28.06

Two-Headed Boy
December 28th 2006


4527 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I've been digging this as of late, right now it gets a 4. I agree Heretics is a wonderful track.

Two-Headed Boy
December 28th 2006


4527 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Oh yeah good review too.

metallicaman8
December 28th 2006


4677 Comments


God damn, I need to hear this

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
December 28th 2006


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah good review and this album is pretty sweet.

Tyler
Emeritus
December 28th 2006


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The thing with the bass is you just have to train yourself to hear the parts, which mostly comes from seeing them live.

And it becomes harder because Arif's been known to vary his basslines live, especially now that he's moved up to a 5 string.

ToWhatEnd
December 28th 2006


3172 Comments


Cocaine how many times have you seen these guys live now?

Tyler
Emeritus
December 28th 2006


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

33.

You're making me seem obsessive but seriously, I'm past that. I used to see them like twice a month for about a year, this was around 2/3 years ago, because that's how often they played.

They're good guys, too, so it's cool to go to shows and catch up with them.



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