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Protest The Hero - Kezia

2006 Vagrant Records :: Reviewed by skeksis on 2006-05-26

I feel guilty listening to this thing. No self respecting 30 year old should be caught with a record by these 19 year old upstart Canadians doing their Dillinger thing with those vocals like the dude from Avenged Sevenfold. I should be listening to stuff that, you know, is old, like 'Ride the Lightning' or something on that drive to work. But damn it, if this band of young 'uns don't shred! Although I mentioned Dillinger earlier, to label the band a Dillinger Escape plan baby would be woefully unfair. Although Protest the Hero do share some common elements with that band (and bands like Into the Moat), this band, is um?complicated. The band is being labeled everything from tech metal to post hardcore to math metal to screamo to punk. Although the technicality of Dillinger is clearly evident, the band show a very, very metal side, with riffs flying all over the damn place, and virtuoso guitar playing is cleary not shied away from here. Man, I would really hate to see the guitar tabs for this band! Protest are clearly not content on just flailing away on their instruments, and the songs have simply incredible breaks and rhythms that swirl like a tornado but always return to the root riffs at points that keep the individuality of the songs intact. To these ears, I hear a lot of Into Eternity for some reason (could be all the noodling) and other prog bands in the riffs, as well as some industrial thrown in (could be the production though). Vocally, the band is all over the place, but in a good way. Vocalist Rody Walker prefers to spend the majority of the record actually singing and crooning instead of the standard good cop, bad cop vocals so prevalent. Not that you don't have the growling, though its kept in check and you even get 80's era thrash gang vocals! Guitarist Tim Miller and Luke Hoskins play the hell out their instruments, with shredding lead, vicious rhythms that cover many styles of heavy music as well as being responsible for some nice piano interludes and classical guitar segues. One minute you could hearing some brutal staccato riffing on top of a hardcore break down all the while one of them is playing scales all over the thing. It sounds like it should be a utter mess but it works so brilliantly. Drummer Moe Carlson some how keeps the whole bottom from falling out by not just following the rythms but accenting and adding with such ease that he easily puts some of the best drummers out to pasture. And lets not forget bassist Arif Mirabdolbaghi (you tell me how that's pronounced!) in our roll call as he could have been easily been buried in the chaos but somehow manages to play all over the thing and remain audible. A lot of the bands brilliance has to do with the stunning production of Julius Butty, which reminds me a lot of Devins Townsend's work on the latest Darkest Hour album. The sound is very warm and natural but retains a godly bottom end, especially on the kick drums. Standout tracks, well, their all damn good, but especially 'Heretics and Killers' (damn good video to boot), 'Bury the Hatchet' and 'The Divine Suicide of K'. Supposedly a concept record telling the story of a young woman named Kezia' and her execution, as seen through the view point of three characters: The Prison Priest, The Prison Guard/Gunman, and Keziaf. Each of them getting 3 songs and dividing the album into three parts. According to the bands bio the album is meant to be listened to as a whole and it does work well that way but it doesn't suffer indivually as well. I simply cannot gush enough acolodes about this record enough (knowing me it'll probably be a coaster by next week). It grows on you with each listen, but that's only after being puched right in the face and stumbling around dumb founded after the first listen. Fucking incredible.