Protest the Hero



by Daniel Davis USER (36 Reviews)
November 9th, 2013 | 10 replies

Release Date: 10/29/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "Volition" might as well have been self-titled, as it's the most definitive and personality-filled album of their career.

Protest the Hero and musical identity have a complex relationship. They've always had a unique, polarizing sound that blossoms with technicality and personality, but it's always been reflected through a different prism - blistering punk for Kezia, dissonant metal for Fortress, and soaring post-hardcore for the divisive Scurrilous. The band's musical growth was obvious - song structures were tighter, vocals were more intense, guitar sweeps more virtuosic. But in retrospect, the band might have been forcing their sound too tightly to fit into a specific genre. The band's fourth studio album, Volition, born from the pooled resources of eager fans, sees the three aforementioned genres blur into a sound fully encompassing everything Protest the Hero has ever been, and is the most definitive and personalized release yet from one of the most important heavy bands of the 21st century.

"Without a word uttered, a comparison is drawn" - "Drumhead Trial" is immediately reminiscent of the melody and speed of the band's debut, and "A Life Embossed" and "Mist" are heavily influenced by the band's Scurrilous days. But Volition is an extremely dense listen, and the similarity on the surface only serves as the frothy icing on the delicious cake: sugary and enticing to get you to savor the richer and more finely crafted parts. Other differences make themselves more obvious; "Underbite" is a quirky punk rock riff on egotistical rockstars that somehow manages to be playful while avoiding annoying the listener, and "Skies" is the band's first truly epic closer, being musically intricate enough to be prefaced with a foreshadowing interlude earlier in the album yet simple enough to remain insanely catchy. Songwriting has not always been the band's strong suit - that belonged to the riffs - but here, the riffs serve the song and vice versa, and the band's maturity has manifested in polished, well-paced songs that are never boring for a split second. Fans of the band's earlier material will be pleased to know that the overall pace of the album has increased from Scurrilous, and the songs are intimidatingly fast without being ridiculous.

At this point, the band's technical prowess should go without saying, but it would be bad form not to give it a mention. Lamb of God's Chris Adler slips onto the drummer's stool for this outing, and while it's hard to notice a change while the rest of the band is playing, in moments such as the drum solo at the opening of "Underbite" he really makes his power felt. Rody Walker sings as powerfully and admirably as ever, and brings back his harsh vocals that were noticeably all but absent from the band's previous record. His lyrical presence is also felt much more; while in the past he shared writing duties with bassist Arif Mirabdolbaghi, on this record he has taken over composition entirely. Whether you enjoy his hardcore punk-inspired, down-to-earth lyrics as opposed to the epic stories of the band's past is a matter of personal taste, but they suit the fun and jarring nature of the music accordingly.

Volition is an album with no flaws to speak of - the band's songwriting is refined to a tee, the audio production woes of past albums have been completely eliminated, and the album's pacing is absolutely spot on. Maturity and cohesion don't always translate to a better end product, but for a band like Protest the Hero, it's best to balance the chaos with some control, and it's a testament to the band's longevity and brilliance that they are able to finally pull it off this well. It's impossible to recommend this to someone who has always hated the band, as the act of refining something already in existence hardly makes it palatable to a completely different audience, but if you stepped off the PTH platform back when the band released Scurrilous, you should probably climb back on before the train approaches mach speed and leaves you in a dozen pieces.

Recent reviews by this author
Circa Survive Blue Sky NoiseLower Than Atlantis Lower than atlantis
Death From Above 1979 The Physical WorldPolyphia Muse
Secret Band Secret BandBraid No Coast
user ratings (786)
other reviews of this album
Kronzo (4.5)

TheMonster (2.5)
A completely objective review of Protest the Hero's "Volition."...

Elijah Andrew STAFF (2.4)
Though vastly improved from their last effort, Protest the Hero are still annoying as hell....

Driver194 (4.5)
Protest the Hero release another tight and unique album that is sure to please both hardcore fans an...

Comments:Add a Comment 
November 9th 2013


Album Rating: 5.0

Hopefully this turned out decent enough. Was skeptical of this on first listen, but after about a zillion more the brilliance started to sink in.

November 9th 2013


Album Rating: 4.0

cool review mate. pos'd

definitely not a 5 in my books, but an fairly awesome album nonetheless

Staff Reviewer
November 9th 2013


Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Definitely don't think this is a 5, and yet I agree with many of your points. Nice work.

Digging: Thou - Heathen

Staff Reviewer
November 9th 2013


Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

I wrote a review for this but it got lost :/

Nice write up!

Digging: Blut Aus Nord - Memoria Vetusta III - Saturnian Poetry

November 10th 2013


Awesome review man. Pretty good album, not as good as their last though :P

Also, I can never understand the damn cover art for anything they do.

November 10th 2013


Album Rating: 5.0

This is such an improvement over Scurrilous, compositionally speaking.

November 11th 2013


Album Rating: 3.5

I like the review, but I do not agree on the score.

Also, in your comment, you say "Hopefully this turned out decent enough" while you gave it a 5? Ntz ntz.

November 11th 2013


Album Rating: 5.0

I was referring to the review =p I'm not the best at writing 5s. it's tricky to be enthusiastic and relatively objective at the same time.

And thanks btw ^_^

December 2nd 2013


Album Rating: 5.0

This review applies an almost sexual quality to an album that I've already fallen in love with.

December 2nd 2013


Album Rating: 5.0

5.0's always imply an emotional connection. That should be a source of review content, it shouldn't be dismissed. It manifests itself in metaphors and romantic praise that isn't often sympathized with, but it reveals that album's impact on someone's soul. Evidence enough of a 5.0.

You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile


Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Site Copyright 2005-2014
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy