Protest the Hero
Fortress


4.0
excellent

Review

by John weathered old reviewer Hanson STAFF
January 24th, 2008 | 108 replies | 27,412 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "Fortress" proves the Protest the Hero can actually write a damn good album, without resorting to silly tricks and lame breakdowns.

Tilt: Nil
Context: Kezia is a 3/5


I’d just like to point out, that there is absolutely no difference in the level of dorkiness between Protest the Hero and a band like, oh say Blind Guardian. One rewrites epic fantasy tales, and the other writes ridiculous prose about the death and rebirth of a goddess. Previously, Protest the Hero carved out a massive niche being a metal band that took a bunch of influence hardcore bands, but really wasn’t metalcore. Thus, everyone could like them without associating themselves with the worst scene in music today. However, their debut CD Kezia was marked by a lot of repetition, horrific vocal layering and a general sense that they were just overdoing it at every possible opportunity, just to essentially be as technical as possible.

That’s all well and good, but with Fortress, Protest the Hero have almost shed all of their past imperfections and crafted something really special. Where as before you’d hear tons of riffs strung together by random time signature shifts and then plenty of hammer ons, there are many more instances where it sounds like the band actually took the time to listen to the songs and decide that some things just don’t fit together. Imagine if Dragonforce learned how to write a 5 minute song, and then apply that same act to Protest the Hero. The record is far more enjoyable for the lack of constant wankery, while it still ends up being even more technical than Kezia was when it needs to be.

My biggest complaint with Kezia was the ridiculous tone of the vocals and the way they were mixed. It really seemed like it didn’t fit a lot of the time, but now Rody (vocalist/dragonslayer) has made giant strides in his technique. While his intonation still seems a little bit off when compared to the nature of the band, he has stopped the excessive layering of his vocals (not completely, but its far less apparent), and has now developed into a great range of lows and highs. He has taken over almost all vocal duties for the band (previously, other members did some of the growls and screams) and sounds fantastic doing it. Yeah, he sings about some silly *** a lot of the time, and its really hard to take the music seriously when he sings about beheading bitches and how blood will pour like fountains of water, but he really makes the album much more enjoyable this time around.

What Fortress really is is an expansion of Protest’s previous sounds, and while that’s all that was really necessary, its kind of under-whelming at times. While there are plenty of new ideas and they are more reigned-in in their songs, a lot of it can sound same-y, and while its probably due to the technical nature of the band, its pretty hard to look over the fact that its hard to differentiate songs at times. Its not that big of a problem most of the time though, and really is only apparent when you’re playing the whole record while not paying keen attention. One more slight problem I have with the record is that the bass isn’t brought up to the forefront as much as it should be; there are some sick basslines and bass fills that you can hear throughout the album, but for a good portion of the records duration it’s hard to distinguish.

Then again, most people are going to listen to Fortress for two things anyways. One is the plain sick guitar-work that makes most tech-metal bands seem like amateurs. What Hot Cross is to punk music, Protest the Hero is to metal. Another thing that most people will listen to the album is for those epic, epic moments that seem to be abound, although those can also be called something else: the cheesy as hell moments. It’s entirely in a good way, as when you hear Rody sing “tear her ***ing head from goddamn shoulders” or the keyboard solo in “Limb from Limb” its hard not to help but smile and say “damn, that was cool”. All the best songs have those moments in spades; “Bone Marrow” and “Wretch” are almost 4 minute sequences of cheesy sequences. When you hear “Our Goddess gave birth to your God” you’re going to have it stuck in your head for at least five minutes, if not ten!

Fortress is an excellent step up from Kezia, being everything it could have been. There are few bands doing what Protest the Hero do, and there probably aren’t any who do it nearly as well. Despite the fact it can get a bit homogenous and maybe a tad over-the-top with its concept, Fortress is one of the most entertaining metal albums I’ve heard in a long time. It lays down a blueprint for other bands to follow if they want to make a concept record that doesn’t suck, it has some great guitar-work, and the singing is catchy as hell. Fortress proves that as long as you fix what’s broken, then there ain’t no reason not to keep it around.

Final Rating: 3.85678



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
January 24th 2008



16081 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Sup Iluvatar, good review.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
January 24th 2008



17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

nice soundoff

Tyler
Emeritus
January 24th 2008



7928 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

glad to see you do this but plz keep comments to nick greers review i mean mine jk

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
January 24th 2008



16081 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i didnt include enough band history and snippets and technical details to the album
review sucks.

Tyler
Emeritus
January 24th 2008



7928 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

nah review is good tbh, i purposely threw in contextual and trivial tidbits because i felt it necessary but that's why it's me not you derp.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
January 24th 2008



16081 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

dipset.
I feel as though people are going to like Kezia more because it feels more TRUE to the IDEAL.
whatever the fuck that mans.

Tyler
Emeritus
January 24th 2008



7928 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

hah that's such bullshit, this is more "true" to their intent than anything. i get what you're saying and i sometimes feel like that, but it's a pretty ridiculous notion.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
January 24th 2008



17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

no group chants 1/5

Altmer
January 24th 2008



5652 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

no chan 5/5

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
January 24th 2008



17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

altmer y are you so angry

Altmer
January 24th 2008



5652 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

im sorry chan how can i make it up

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
January 24th 2008



17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

idk

Altmer
January 24th 2008



5652 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

maybe when it comes out i should write a shitty review giving it a 2/5 so you can be angry at me again

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
January 24th 2008



17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

you would do that wouldn't you

Altmer
January 24th 2008



5652 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i've got it saved on my pc

even though my copy still has to come in lol and i haven't d/led a leak

Thor
January 24th 2008



10176 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review! I agree with almost all of what you said, though I'll probably end up giving this a 4.5

The bass really does need to be turned up though!

beans
January 24th 2008



2332 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i agree, i love his bass playing i just wish i could hear it as much on the cd as i do live

Thor
January 24th 2008



10176 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I think I'm pretty correct in saying that Arif is the most talented member of the band.

Yazz_Flute
January 24th 2008



18764 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Would not disagree with you there.

But each member is incredibly talented.

Digging: Cormorant - Dwellings

Tyler
Emeritus
January 24th 2008



7928 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The main thing is his bass can't be too much more audible based on how the guitars are dubbed. That and the fact that Luke and Tim are riffing incessantly really cuts a lot of the low end out. It's tricky. I'm satisfied but I agree that it should definitely be pushed up even higher.



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