The other day I was introduced to this group, Protest the Hero. Upon watching the sublime video that accompanies ‘Hair Trigger’ I was originally planning to just do an album review of Scurrilous which that song features on but after enjoying the album so much I gave the bands previous two records a listen and thought it best to turn this post into a band plug. Protest the Hero are primarily a metal although their music has elements of post-hardcore and at times classic rock. These are a band that have the ability to take themselves overly seriously but chose to have a laugh instead.
Going back to their debut album, Kezia, we see a bit more of their metal origins. This is definitely their most generic metal record but that’s not to say it doesn’t have other elements to it. Songs like ‘Blindfolds Aside’ and ‘A Plateful of Our Dead’ have acoustic, Spanish guitar sections breaking up the erratic rock that surrounds them. The musicianship for a debut is exemplary. Crazy time signatures padded out with insane double bass solos and some of the best vocals in any band around make Kezia a great listen even when compared with their later, more popular, records.
Fortress, is much the same. The bass lines on this album have taken a leaf out of the book of funk and can often be heard rapidly bumbling along beneath the ridiculous guitars, listen to ‘Bone Marrow’ to hear a bit of this. There’s also a lot more of the post-hardcore feel I was talking about on this record which becomes even more apparent on Scurrilous, but we can see them progressing as a band here. There are also tracks on here that sound a lot more like prog-metal similar to The Fall of Troy or even System of a Down at times.
Scurrilous, their latest album is a lot less like a metal album flowing between punk and hardcore and cutting down on the screaming. The guitar parts are still just as crazy though and the lyrics just as ridiculous as ever. Vocally, this album shows how Rody Walker has matured and he gives his strongest performance on this.
Protest the Hero are a band that manage to set themselves well apart from the norm of metal bands at the moment and genuinely capture something unique in the sound by throwing together a mixture of other bands style. These guys are definitely one to watch, got my fingers crossed for UK tour in the near future.
It was sad news about a year and a half ago when it was announced that Frank Carter would, indeed, be parting ways with Gallows, the Watford-based hardcore punk band had completely changed the game with their first two records and were without doubt one of the best live bands in the world. I was lucky enough to have a ticket to see them on their final tour with the raw lead vocalist. In my eyes Carter was the real heartbeat of Gallows his croaky shouting brought punk back to the forefront of the music scene and, in fact, improved upon the genre as a whole. When it was announced that he’d be replaced by Wade MacNeil, of alexisonfire, my immediate reaction was disappointment. It didn’t seem right that a Canadian would be screaming ‘London is the Reason’ all up and down our country. Then soon after all this Gallows released a new EP, to give a taster of their new front-man. Death is Birth was as fast, powerful and angry as a punch in the face and it was the first sign to me that Gallows may actually continue to be a decent band.
So the album is, in many ways, very similar to Death is Birth. The tracks rarely reach the three minute mark and are filled with back to basics thrashy hardcore punk. It’s a far dirtier album than the much more polished Grey Britain, and even, perhaps, more raw than their debut, Orchestra of Wolves. As it goes on there are some slightly more tuneful riffs but that’s not saying much. Wade’s yelling is much less audible than Carter’s and he gives the band a completely new feel to the group and that’s, sort of, a good thing as it separates this album from anything they’ve done previously but on the other hand it makes the band sound a lot more like the more generic American hardcore punk acts like Cancer Bats.
Overall I really like the album but its lost the magic that it had with Frank at the helm. Although having listened to the first few releases from his new band Pure Love, it looks like he would have ruined them anyway. But my main problem is that I don’t like the fact that they still have the same name, they sound completely different and it just doesn’t sound right when you hear MacNeil shouting out Carter’s lyrics. Nevertheless as a standalone album this is good stuff.