Protest The Hero
Fortress


2.0
poor

Review

by ilikemusicthatsucks USER (3 Reviews)
July 2nd, 2008 | 466 replies | 19,223 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Considerable technical talent weighed down by a kitschy concept and little replay value. And the singer is annoying.

18 of 43 thought this review was well written

"This album is nothing to be intellectualized.”

-Lead phlegmy yelper Rody Walker


"It has to do with goddess worship, and how there has been this degendering of the Lord and Savior, and the suppressed feminine. A lot of it is based in Genghis Khan and old Irish Mythology, about the rise and fall of the Goddess of the forest. [The theme] can be more appreciated by more people. If I had to reduce it to its simplest form, the concept is about the re-emerging of goddess worship and the erosion of faith in scientific process."

-Lyricist and bassist Arif Mirabdolbaghi

Protest the Hero released its’ sophomore album Fortress in early 2008 to wide acclaim amongst fans of the metal genre. Praised for its’ technical proficiency and “deep” concept, the album has been so popular that it has reached, at the time I’m writing this, the number 2 highest average rating from this website’s users, behind only some irrelevant artifact that only a few people have even rated. Unfortunately, this band has been more than over-hyped; not only is this album nothing close to
“classic” material. It simply isn’t good at all.

There's nothing ambitious about the lyrics, which are actually quite generic, immature stereoptypical metal tripe hidden behind dimestore existentialist language. The vocals are nothing if not annoying. The melody is almost non-existent. And hardly anything is in the slightest bit catchy or memorable.

The narrative of the songs is unclear at best. For a band that decided to emphasize concept in the form of three so-called “song suites” over individual songs, they seem too lazy to construct a truly discernible story, although they do an efficient job of demonstrating their classic metal misogyny and macho heroics.

"Heads will roll

To the River Red, across the ochre steppe

A thousand fathers killed, a thousand virgin daughters spread with swords

still wet, with swords still wet with the blood of their dead"

I sure hope nobody actually thinks lines like that are in any way profound, good, cool or even funny.


Goddess this, goddess that, swords, mountains, beheadings, Genghis Khan, you know, the typical stuff you can expect to find in the inner caves of prog metal hell. Like most terrible metal lyrics that attempt and fail to be intellectually stimulating, these songs are really only the same tired metal masculine posturing only written in a more polished language. "Goddess Bound" could easily be a David Lee Roth quote only dressed in more epic spandex. For all the pseudo-philosophy the message can be summarized as thus: have a lot of sex and such and "drink to" any regrets about your macho hedonistic lifestyle that's bound to eventually earn you a nice case of gonorrhea and 20 paternity suits. 2008. And if you think that's the neatest sermon since MLK’s “I Have A Dream,” wait until you get to "Goddess Gagged."

The problem is that this band has no sense of humor about these ludicrous and hilariously ancient metal topics. Maybe they thought they didn't need to include any humor beyond ham-fisted musical allusions to polka and circus music or other genres, but unfortunately those aren't funny. They seem exactly as they are: lazy attempts at appearing humorous. Then again, who the hell listens to stuff like this for humor, right? Sure the lyrics are bad and the concept is nowhere near- discernible, but listen to that riffage!

Actually, after a few listens one will notice that all of these high-pitched riffs are pretty similar in sound. The listener is left with nothing concrete to hold onto mentally, other than vague noodly fret-tapping. And all of them played atop the ubiquitous palm-muting found in nearly every single metal band recording today. There are few exceptions to this relentless sea of disposable guitar-thrashing. "The Dissentence [sic]" stands as the only "great" track on the album, with an infectious chord progression and breakdown. "Bone Marrow" also has a few tight and catchy riffs, though you won't remember them five minutes after the song is over. The lack of riffs that actually manage to stay in your head is extremely disappointing in an album that focuses so much on guitar work.

The decadent production doesn’t help. "Wretch" is the perfect example of how vocal overdubs can completely ruin a chorus (or whatever you call it given the song structure), while "Bloodmeat" makes the same mistake with guitar tracks overload. It’s hard to hear any passion in a performance when it’s being glossed to a sheen.

Not that we’d really want to hear lead singer Walker’s “passion.” Walker may have the most annoying high-pitched dying-cat yelp in all of music with the sole exception of that weird little man from Chiodos. And the overdubs on “Wretch” are most egregious example of a singer that simply cannot sing without sounding as if he is moaning in pain. And this may be metal, but that doesn't mean melody should be completely thrown out in exchange for Walker's wordy screeching/ boyish wailing. You won’t remember a single melody on this album the second it’s over. They are so thoroughly unvaried and agonizing that most people will probably give up even trying to keep up with the vocals by the second “suite.” “Palms Read” features obnoxious shouting that may work on, say, a Taking Back Sunday album. But since it isn’t fun to sing along to and sounds more like bored whining rather than impassioned indignation, it doesn’t work here.

The only real strength to this album is the amazing timing and technical excellence demonstrated by the band’s drummer. So if you’re into albums that have little redeeming qualities other than the drumming, have at it.

The simple fact is that this band seems stuck in another time and place. This would have been huge in the 1980’s. But (not) sadly, we now live in the 00’s, and it’s time for this type of metal formula to go, to be incinerated by the dungeon furnace of Hades where the suffering does not cease and there is no women to plundereth. Or whatever.

Protest the Hero stands as the epitome of what is wrong with metal today: as all other "scenes" are growing and becoming more liberalized, this genre seems determined to move in the opposite direction, marinating in archaic metal cliche's like misogyny, mythical bullshit, riff after riff after riff that amounts to the most obnoxious of instrumental masturbation, etc. Not to say that there isn't still good music within that narrow paradigm. Just listen to Opeth, a band as "metal" as metal gets that still has a sense of melody, precision, drama, tension, and even does something lyrically, and plenty of technical skills yet. The problem is that Protest the Hero can't do any of that here. In truth, Fortress boils down to the riffs, man. Good luck trying to remember them.


user ratings (3006)
Chart.
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Altmer
July 2nd 2008



5652 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

lol

ilikemusicthatsucks
July 2nd 2008



1063 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Had this written for a while, was afraid to post it. But decided to submit it for the negative review contest. Whatever.

Smileyface
July 2nd 2008



309 Comments


Cute Is What We Aim For's vocalist is way more annoying than this guy.

Plus the lyrics are pretty good, and I like the sound they work with.

This seems like a review just put out to put down it's critical acclaim, just like Nick Greer's sound off.This Message Edited On 07.02.08

ilikemusicthatsucks
July 2nd 2008



1063 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

oh look you changed what you originally wrote!This Message Edited On 07.02.08

Willie
Moderator
July 2nd 2008



15774 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I think it was better, format-wise, without the actual quote boxes. Just make them italics or something. Are you having a negative review writing contest or a contest to get the most negs?

Edit: That first neg wasn't me.This Message Edited On 07.02.08

Digging: Teramaze - Esoteric Symbolism

Smileyface
July 2nd 2008



309 Comments


It was me.

kattunlover69
July 2nd 2008



1194 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

we all know cute's lyrics are ten times better than these guy's lyrics

ilikemusicthatsucks
July 2nd 2008



1063 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

^Willie, I agree, will change the boxes.

Lawl, the negative review contest was put up by DFelon, it's an official thing. Go check it out at the forum and do it. You could win a large avatar! lol

ilikemusicthatsucks
July 2nd 2008



1063 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

we all know cute's lyrics are ten times better than these guy's lyrics


We all know Cute's lyricist made a pompous and arrogant psuedo-philosophical "concept" behind their album. We also know that Cute is not at all a pop band and thus, should be held to a higher expectation lyrically than this band.

Altmer
July 2nd 2008



5652 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

we also know that this review is garbage

Smileyface
July 2nd 2008



309 Comments


Except this wasn't that good of a review.

Honestly, you spend way too much time on the vocals and lyrics, the review drags a lot.

Some of this is really well-written, and shows that you can write really well, but a lot of this sounds like you just pushed it out to enter the contest, while being controversial.




Crysis
Staff Reviewer
July 2nd 2008



15988 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Some points I agree with, but you are missing the big picture with this album, I think. I won't neg, the review wasn't complete trash but I won't pos either.

Be prepared to be flamed into oblivion though.

Digging: Thergothon - Stream From The Heavens

ilikemusicthatsucks
July 2nd 2008



1063 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Like I said before dude, this was written before the contest.

I do focus on vocals and lyrics, but that's the type of listener I am. It's just another perspective on the album. But I do address the other aspects of the album as well so I'm not sure why you're ignoring those parts.

And if some of it is really written well, was it really deserving of an out and out neg? Cuz you didn't really give a reason for the neg.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
July 2nd 2008



15988 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

btw Cocaine is going to shit a brick when he sees this ahahahaThis Message Edited On 07.02.08

ilikemusicthatsucks
July 2nd 2008



1063 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

missing the big picture with this album


I kept looking for the big picture and couldn't find it though. So, totally serious and not being sarcastic or a jack*ss here, what is it you think I missed?

kattunlover69
July 2nd 2008



1194 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

We all know Cute's lyricist made a pompous and arrogant psuedo-philosophical "concept" behind their album. We also know that Cute is not at all a pop band and thus, should be held to a higher expectation lyrically than this band.



I do focus on vocals and lyrics, but that's the type of listener I am. It's just another perspective on the album.


lol sure ok since cute is a pop boy band you say "well the lyrics dosn't matter" sure lol. that was a dumb way to back yourself up

Willie
Moderator
July 2nd 2008



15774 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Lawl, the negative review contest was put up by DFelon, it's an official thing
I do remember skimming over that post, but the only thing I remembered about it later was someone talking about how a site like this produces an abnormal amount of positive reviews, that's why I wrote that negative Paradise Lost review (and the outlines for two others).
Your review is fine. I think it could have been a little more organized and focused, but definitely not "neggable".

Smileyface
July 2nd 2008



309 Comments


More times than not, this review seems pushed out for controversy and for the contest, but their also really good parts to this review (like when you actually describe the riffs).

I realize that you are more a vocals and lyrics person, and I can understand that you have a different view of the album, but try not rush reviews like this.

You can be a very good reviewer, and you've got plenty of talent, but you also sometimes seem to write reviews just to piss people off, and those reviews feel a tad rushed and just for controversy.

Thor
July 2nd 2008



10158 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

First paragraph is so dumb. Like wow.

Digging: Cult Leader - Nothing For Us Here

SpinLightTwo
July 2nd 2008



1011 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

The thing is, this just isn't below a 3.



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