Review Summary: Striking the medium between unlistenable shred and loveable thrash, and doing a damn near perfect job of it.Protest the Hero
is a fairly big name. They strike a line somewhere between technical thrash and mainstream. I'm not calling them generic mainstream, but apart from a few bands like Killswitch Engage, I can't see many technical bands being radio-friendly. There is some criticism to Fortress
, some people claiming it to be 'senseless shredding' or 'a singer that is the equivalent to a broken blender'. However, Fortress INSTRUMENTAL takes care of both these problems.
When listening to the regular album, some thoughts may be, "Where the eff did that riff go?" or "4/4? Wait, now it's 3/4. Oh, nevermind, now its pi/infinity". For non-musicians, it's easy to get lost in the sounds. The upside is, musicians from any genre can really appreciate what Protest the Hero does. When you listen to the instrumental album, you get a whole new experience. Listen to Bloodmeat and you'll soon find things like string sections, or orchestral backgrounds. You can go much more in-depth listening to this album, rather than the non-instrumental.
Rody Walker has a love-hate relationship with every fan. Some think his voice is terrible. Some think he's just an asshole. Both can
be true. So if you had any grievances with him in the past, problem solved! I personally think going instrumental adds to the effect of this album.
It's very hard to describe a band with a sound like Protest the Hero. At first glance, it's just metal, but underneath it's something entriely else. I'll give a condensed version for just that reason. The music is beautiful. These young lads take every musical skill they have and craft excellent, memorable songs. Guitar is very prominent, Luke and Tim deliver relentless riffs, filled with technicality and somehow, everything fits together. Arif is an amazing bassist. His tapping harmonies (See Bloodmeat) are unbelievable, and he is up to par with everyone else in the band, never being monotonous or falling behind. Moe, the drummer, is quite unique. It's technical, but without the endless double bass and blast beats. He uses poly-rhythms, unique fills, and all other sorts of things to make the drumming fit perfectly. It never comes across as over-the-top or even unoriginal.
The sound itself is hard to describe. Take punk roots, spoon feed them technical metal for 5 years, and make them memorize every classical piece of music in existence. To say the least, it's extreme. And it's without the flaws that vocals can bring. If you're a musician, you will appreciate this. It shows off their talent in an amazing way. When you aren't afraid to release an album instrumental, it means there's obviously something there to keep you from getting bored. Hey, Between the Buried and Me
pulled it off, right?
In short, this album crosses the unlistenable shred of technical metal with the energy of thrash. And as ungodly as that sounds, it's actually quite enjoyable.