Gallop Meets the Earth is Canadian metal band Protest the Hero’s first live album. While one would think that the band’s frenetic style of progressive metal would translate perfectly to the stage, this CD/DVD release seems to indicate otherwise.
Even before viewing/listening to Gallop Meets the Earth, something is already amiss. Namely, the setlist. It is only eleven songs long, making for only about an hour of content. Also, it only features three songs off of Kezia (the better of their two albums, “Turn Soonest to the Sea” is inexplicably missing). It is worth noting that the hour of content includes banter. I would expect there to be banter on a live album, but it just isn’t good here. Rody tries way too hard to be funny all the time. Rody can be hilarious, but here he just misses the mark.
As for the actual performance, Rody is also the big setback. The guitar, drums, and bass are all incredibly tight. I couldn’t hear any major mistakes on the album. Rody, however, is wildly inconsistent here. At times he impresses greatly, particularly with his screaming. At other times, especially during the “epic” sections, he sounds weak and can’t hit the high notes like on the studio albums. He also screams during some traditionally sung sections on songs. Though his screaming for the most part sounds great, this is incredibly frustrating on “Blindfolds Aside” for example. The “With a heart that’s beating louder than my own, I watch a girl they call Kezia.” section should have been the highlight of the show, but rather than singing these lines he screams them, eliminating much of the emotional power they had on the studio version. The other musicians, though excellent in terms of accuracy, simply have no stage presence. Arif looks like he’s about to fall asleep most of the time. For the most part, everyone basically stands in place and does what they’re supposed to do.
Lastly, the editing of the DVD footage is incredibly annoying. The editor must have major ADD because the camera never focuses on one band member for more than 0.7 seconds. He also is quite fond of using effects, which really don’t add much to anything and are irritating more than anything else. And for some reason, the name of the song is listed is listed in large font at the bottom of the screen as it starts, even though Rody states the title before most of them.
All in all, Gallop Meets the Earth was a disappointment to me. It has inconsistent vocals, a lack of stage presence from the band, an overly short, somewhat poorly selected setlist, and terrible editing. I would only recommend this to major fans; someone trying to get into Protest the Hero would be better off picking up either of their fantastic studio albums. Hopefully, they will make another live album in the future and fix all the things that are wrong with this one.