Protest the Hero
A Calculated Use of Sound


4.5
superb

Review

by Pete Mossberg USER (22 Reviews)
February 27th, 2006 | 38 replies


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist


Never has an album had a more fitting title than Protest the Hero's sophomore release - this is a calculated use of sound, music and words. This Canadian quintet gives us a collection of six songs, all packed with political agitation and intricate sound textures in the best of mathcore tradition. But don't be mistaken - this, while taking influence from the genre, isn't a mathcore band. It's an eclectic blend of melodic hardcore, progressive metal and pop-punk. Imagine taking parts of Circle Takes the Square, Converge or the Blood Brothers. Mix this with equal parts Propagandhi, Strike Anywhere or Thought Riot. Top this off with some Choke or Belvedere. This results in the oddly excellent group that is Protest the Hero - kinda like an agitated Coheed and Cambria on steroids.

Everything from cover art to song titles to website conjures images of anarchist riots, black and red flags and fists swung in the air. The protest is clearly put in the first room for these guys. They've clearly done their homework, and are extremely opinionated. Unlike a lot of faux-political bands, they often bring up actual issues and occurrences in their lyrics, rather than just shouting stagnated catchphrases about the fascism of government. Not that they're above a good catchphrase ("we are the workers, the majority, and this system fears solidarity" from "Red Stars Over the Battle", and "bombings wont justify bombings, death will not justify death - death its self justifies nothing and nothing will come of it" from "These Colors Don't Run" instantly springs to mind), but they tend to go deeper than that. Which is really commendable in these times when everyone's an anarchist.

While diving deep into subjects like blue collar unity, anti-militarism and gay liberation, it'd be an easy mistake to think that PtH maybe haven't put that much effort into the music. This would be a grossly false assumption - over the 21 minutes this CD run, there are an abundance of riffs and arpeggios, vocal hooks and harmonies; this is one of the few punk bands ever who even has drum solos! And I'm talking good drum solos, too. The guitars are astonishing both on paper and in execution, and any metal band should be in awe of some of the things Luke and Tim accomplish; perfectly timed hammer-on/pull-off runs, speedy riffs and great muting patterns, sometimes interrupted by acoustic parts. Any drummer listening will also have a field day; drummer Moe does so much for the songs, aside from his awesome solos, that you'd have a hard time finding in any other melodicore/punk-metal band. Even bassist Arif has gets room to shine, laying some excellent lines to mirror the rest of the band.

Except for the drummer, everyone in the band shares the vocal duties - lead vocalist Rody pulling the heaviest load. Now, he's not your run of the mill vocalist either - in fact, I could imagine people being instantly turned off by his rather high-pitched voice and gutturally quirky screams. But for me, that's just another factor that adds to the unique sound Protest the Hero can claim as their very own. The exemplary backing vocal distribution deserves an honorable mention as well - the screaming choirs hit just where they're supposed to.

As always when I fall in love with an album, I find myself going on and on about how great and flawless it is. In most cases, the album isn't flawless at all, and I feel it's my job as a reviewer to shine a light on the less perfect parts as well. I touched on the subject before; Rody's voice might be an issue to people, as it is quite it's own. Also, the technicality of the songs can at times make them seem disorganized or straight up messy. And, finally, some of the lyrics seems forced - especially on "These Colors Don't Run" - while others seem stolen - again, same song (the line "the rockets red glare (red like the blood you have spilled), the bombs bursting in air" seems oddly familiar from Propagandhi's "Todays Empires, Tomorrows Ashes" - although it may just be a homage paid to fellow canucks).

I still say that this is political prog-punk at its very, very best. In between the great melodies and aggressive outbursts, there should be something for everyone who enjoys angry music.



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user ratings (384)
Chart.
3.2
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other reviews of this album
Sean (4.5)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
santi3hg
February 27th 2006


440 Comments


very thorough review if you ask me. the only thing that really makes me against buying this album is that its only 21 minutes long. but im interested on the good drum solos in fact me being a drummer.

good review man.

Tyler
Emeritus
February 28th 2006


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review, you beat me to it. Although I do think, in context of their age (when recorded) that the album is a perfect 5, in a musical sense it's more or less a 3.5. I will state that Rody's voice on this album, at first (and again since hearing Kezia) annoyed the piss out of me. But, as stated, their age played a factor. You commented on the naive political lyrics, and I concur they are just that. These Colours Don't Run is syphoned (sp?) from the pages of Noam Chomsky's 9/11 and pasted to the lyrics of Propagadhi (as stated), but still, it's not a bad song (albeit the weakest on the album).

Still, great review, and for reviewing the original release (red cover) rather than the remastered re-release, which included Soft Targets Dig[/Make] Softer Graves, I commend you.

I think you should have touched on the lyrics in I Am D'Mitri Karamazov and the World is My Father, because seriously, they're unreal. How a songwriter (Arif) could interpret such a classic novel into a 4 minute song boggles me, and thus I feel it's the strongest track on the album.

Maybe I'll review this just to go along my Kezia review, but even if I don't, high fives all around.

Anglachel
February 28th 2006


152 Comments


Good job FatPete, you did well with this review.

You might want to add that it was re-issued with Soft Targets Dig Softer Graves.

CAC, I thought you were gonna do ...Search For The Truth?

Two-Headed Boy
February 28th 2006


4527 Comments


Ace review. Protest the Hero took me a while to get into.

Tyler
Emeritus
February 28th 2006


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I am. I'm going to do this too, just to have done all three. I'm so gay for them. I haven't talked to any of them in so long because of this tour, and next they're off to the UK.

Pete
March 1st 2006


189 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks for the kind words. I too am a PtH-whore, I absolutely love their sht.

Tyler
Emeritus
March 2nd 2006


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

They're touring with Dragonforce! Not in Toronto, mind you, which blows, but fuck. The guys IDOLIZE Dragonforce, I can't wait to hear what they have to say.

Anglachel
March 5th 2006


152 Comments


I am. I'm going to do this too, just to have done all three. I'm so gay for them. I haven't talked to any of them in so long because of this tour, and next they're off to the UK.


Lol, cool. Sorry I didnt reply sooner, got banned :p

Thanks for the kind words. I too am a PtH-whore, I absolutely love their sht.

Do you have ...Search For The Truth?

If not you can't compare to me and CAC :cool:

Well, CAC knows them...so neither of us compare to him I guess...

Pete
March 6th 2006


189 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

No, I do not have Search for the Truth, unfortunately.

Tyler
Emeritus
March 8th 2006


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

You can get it off UO's store, uomerch.com

To be honest, Search For The Truth isnt the greatest album, but still good to have. They really haven't played anything off of it since last year, and it won't change anytime soon. They still talk about busting out Silent Genocide whenever they're in Oshawa though.

Whacko-Jacko
March 16th 2006


2 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I think you should have touched on the lyrics in I Am D'Mitri Karamazov and the World is My Father, because seriously, they're unreal. How a songwriter (Arif) could interpret such a classic novel into a 4 minute song boggles me, and thus I feel it's the strongest track on the album.



I agree completly with you on this. It is the strongest track on the album with the best lyrics and in encouraged me to get into old and complex literature. This album is also what got me into independent music when i was in grade 8 (last year) and also this is a really good review. Good Job.

wastedyouth681
March 16th 2006


2 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i sold these guys pot

Gilly-Maloo
May 20th 2006


103 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Pretty cool cd, not as good as Kezia.

Tyler
Emeritus
August 8th 2006


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@ Wastedyouth

Half of Toronto/Durham has sold these guys pot.

slep
June 2nd 2007


1604 Comments


Personally, I think this is better than Kezia.

Thor
September 19th 2007


10201 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I heard These Colors Don't Run yesterday. Pretty shitty.

Tyler
Emeritus
September 19th 2007


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It was mostly written when they were like 16, and it's far more punk influenced. Still, I Am Dmitri is still basically the best thing they've done.
Just be forewarned that if Soft Targets sounds out of place, it's because it is. The album was re-released (and slightly remastered) and distributed by Universal about a year after it's initial release, with a black cover and Soft Target oddly wedged in the middle of the disc. Soft Targets was initially recorded for a UO sampler.


I heard These Colors Don't Run yesterday. Pretty shitty.

Definitely, but even the band admits it. Still, it was a really fun song live for the first few years, then it got severely played out.This Message Edited On 09.19.07

Kiran
Emeritus
February 19th 2008


6001 Comments


If I had one love in this world..

I finally got this after searching for ages.

Digging: Danny Brown - XXX

kalkal50
February 23rd 2008


2386 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

why did you have it rated before then hu?

Kiran
Emeritus
February 23rd 2008


6001 Comments


I had it downloaded before, kalkal.

I know that Rody's voice on this album is a major turn off for some people. A friend of mine, who loves their new stuff, can't stand listening to this because Rody's voice is so whiny. To be honest, I like it. Even if some of the vocal harmonies and melodies aren't as hard hitting as those on Kezia or Fortress, he's so much rawer and more primal almost, on this. For example, the bit from about 2:00 to 2:15 on I Am Dmitri. That's awesome.




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