Protest the Hero
Pacific Myth


3.5
great

Review

by Andrew W. Gold CONTRIBUTOR (111 Reviews)
April 9th, 2016 | 135 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Pacific Myth is musically excellent and sporadically superb, but overall lacks the progressive artistry we’ve come to expect from Protest the Hero.

Protest the Hero boomed into the progressive metal spotlight after Kezia and Fortress, and for good reason. Not only were they damn good at their instruments, a pre-requisite for prog these days, but also they had an ace in the hole in Rody Walker: one-man vocal extravaganza. He’s a screamer, growler, and trained opera singer with free rein of flamboyant expression over the band’s technical, equally flamboyant instrumentals – a match made in heaven.

On the band’s third release, Scurrilous, Rody toned back the harsh vocals and focused almost entirely on his soaring operatic quirks to carry the songs. While it wasn’t a detriment to the album’s quality, the ceaseless wailing became a tad overbearing after a while. Fast-forward five years and we’re in the exact same spot. Walker has always had a penchant for coming up with off-kilter melodies to compliment or purposefully contrast the instrumental wizardry happening beneath him, yet on Pacific Myth it feels like he’s reaching into his old bag of tricks and regurgitating past melodies verbatim. He can still sing his ass off, make no mistake, but none of the hooks really blow you away like they used to. And when the screams do show up, they’re gone before they can leave any form of impression. Instead of expounding on his screeches and growls, Rody solely leans on his singing like a crutch, which is a shame because we know he’s capable of so much more. And believe me, I never thought I’d criticize a talented singer for singing too much.

Fans of Protest the Hero’s signature style will get exactly what they’re expecting – overtly complicated riffs sweeping from progression to progression without a hitch topped with eccentric vocal arrangements. The difference is that Kezia, and to a lesser extent Fortress, had all of those traits amongst a wide range of dynamics. There were soft moments amid the sea of riffs, welcome refrains from the barrage of instrumental insanity, and the heavy sections were heavier; the growls were meatier and the breakdowns were crunchier (I think they did away with them completely this go-round). Also, the tracks themselves had vision and purpose. They seldom finished the way they started; and those that did come full circle (i.e. ‘She Who Mars the Skin of Gods’) did so after the band took you on a musical journey filled with subtle crescendos, emotive climaxes, and everything from quiet instrumental interludes to brutal breakdowns in between.

Here, every knob is turned up to 10 the entire time. It’s blitzing riff after riff with nary a break in the complexity and little to no instrumental breathers. There’s nothing as tenderly immaculate as ‘Blindfold Aside’s guitar solo, nothing as compelling as the opening to ‘Bloodmeat’, nothing as epic as the entirety of ‘Bone Marrow’ or ‘Turn Soonest to the Sea’. It’s borderline formulaic by now, and the vocal melodies themselves sound rehashed from older songs. Progressive metal implies some form of progression and Pacific Myth lacks exactly that.

The EP certainly has its allures; tracks like ‘Tidal’ and ‘Harbinger’ have excellent, memorable choruses, the latter given extra character from its moody piano progression bookending the song. The 9-minute closer ‘Caravan’ is one of the few tracks to build upon its initial riff-driven foundation, flowing in and out of screamed spastic bridges, crooned melodic passages, ultimately leading up to a brilliant orchestral dénouement. The instrumentals themselves are spot on; it’s nigh impossible to tell that they underwent some recent lineup changes since the newcomers fit so snug within the rest of the band’s artistic prowess.

The problem is that Protest the Hero have a gift for pushing the boundaries of metal even when we thought there weren’t any boundaries left to be pushed, and when they release something as relatively vanilla as Pacific Myth that narrows their creative scope, it sounds like the band is playing on auto-pilot. We know they can do better; they have done better. However, as a die-hard fan, I still find it thoroughly enjoyable, albeit underwhelming. The musicality itself is as mind-blowing as ever so I’m sure fans of the genre will find Pacific Myth a worthwhile endeavor. Just don’t go in expecting anything new because you won’t find it here.



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user ratings (196)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Insurrection
Contributing Reviewer
April 9th 2016


24401 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

didnt expect the review to be so long. if it reads conflicted it's because i am conflicted as fuck

i really enjoy this, but with all their potential it's just...so underwhelming...agh



their bandcamp: https://protestthehero.bandcamp.com/

Digging: Protest the Hero - Pacific Myth

Toondude10
April 9th 2016


11389 Comments


don't you have to pay a monthly subscription to listen to this?

Digging: August Burns Red - Phantom Anthem

Archelirion
Contributing Reviewer
April 9th 2016


5398 Comments


Cracking review dude. A couple of years ago I'm sure I'd have lapped this up, but I've gone right off this kinda thing as of late - and this doesn't sound like it'll change my mind.

Gwyn.
April 9th 2016


17054 Comments


Waiting for TheMonter's grand return for another completely objective Protest The Hero review

theChickenCow
April 9th 2016


12 Comments


Overall, it's a solid release, but nothing new or spectacular as you said. To be fair, expectations were really high with this being an EP, coming from PtH, and using a novel release approach.

Caravan is my favourite song btw. Great closing track.

@Toondude10
Yes, they released each song as a single each month, from October till March. The subscription service operates via their bandcamp.

Toondude10
April 9th 2016


11389 Comments


now that's just fucking stupid

TheCrocodile
April 9th 2016


2773 Comments


holy shit that's an ugly album cover

RivalSkoomaDealer
April 9th 2016


1600 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This grew on me hard.

Digging: Falls of Rauros - Vigilance Perennial

Sniff
April 9th 2016


3864 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

How am I supposed to listen to this?

bloc
April 9th 2016


43421 Comments


Download it duh

I kinda want to pay though, just to get the guitar tabs. But anyway, this is solid as hell. Not quite as good as Volition, but it's just amazing to hear how much the band has grown since Kezia. I honestly get a pleasure in just hearing what this band will do next.

Digging: Venenum - Trance of Death

someguest
April 9th 2016


28614 Comments


This was a stupid marketing experiment. I hope it failed. Fuck a singles format.

zaruyache
April 9th 2016


17694 Comments


It's only $12 for the digital album and bonus stuff, chill out. :P

Calc
Contributing Reviewer
April 9th 2016


15746 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

pretty much makes people wanna steal it.

someguest
April 9th 2016


28614 Comments


It's only $12 for the digital album and bonus stuff, chill out. :P


Release it all at once.

Veldin
April 9th 2016


2976 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I listened to these guys a lot when I was 16 and 17. Now I'm 22 and I thought I'd moved past this band, but songs like "Harbinger" and "Caravan" really make me question why I'd WANT to move on. Good review, sir. THE GLOW IS DEADDDDD

UnderTheNorthernScar
April 9th 2016


549 Comments


Awesome review, probably not gonna check this out

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
April 9th 2016


55292 Comments


band has been irrelevant since scurrilous


Digging: Phoebe Bridgers - Stranger in the Alps

MyNameIsPencil
April 9th 2016


4937 Comments


but Volition was good

Digging: Glocca Morra - Just Married

Calc
Contributing Reviewer
April 9th 2016


15746 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"band has been irrelevant since scurrilous"



is this supposed to be a dig at them?

mryrtmrnfoxxxy
April 9th 2016


14852 Comments


volition was SO good



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