PROTEST THE HERO — Fortress — the ultimate metal music online community, from the creators of

PROTEST THE HERO - Fortress cover
3.84 | 22 ratings | 5 reviews
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Album · 2008


On Conquest & Capture
1. Bloodmeat (03:56)
2. The Dissentience (04:25)
3. Bone Marrow (05:32)

4. Sequoia Throne (03:13)
5. Palms Read (05:08)
6. Limb From Limb (04:24)
7. Spoils (03:45)

8. Wretch (04:14)
9. Goddess Bound (03:37)
10. Goddess Gagged (03:14)

Total Time 41:34


- Rody Walker / vocals
- Luke Hoskin / guitar, piano
- Tim Millar / guitar, vocals
- Arif Mirabdolbaghi / bass, vocals
- Moe Carlson / drums

Guest musicians:
- Vadim Pruzhanov / keyboards on the track "Limb From Limb"
- Dan Fila / Additional percussion

About this release

CD released 29th January 2008 on Vagrant Records (VR483) (worldwide) and Underground Operations (UOPJ-22) / Universal Music Canada (UOPJ-22) in Canada.

12" black, marbled dark blue, marbled purple or clear purple vinyl LP released 2008 on Cobraside Distribution Inc. (CSDLP1121).

12" clear or yellow vinyl LP released 2008 on Vagrant Records (CSDLP1121) Underground Operations (CSDLP1121).

12" 180 gram clear blue/green or purple swirl vinyl LP released 2008 on Underground Operations (UOPJ 22).

CD released 30th March 2011 in Japan on Vagrant Records (XQJH-1006).

12" clear with green, blue and black splatter or marbled green vinyl LP self-released 9th January 2015.

Cassette released 2017 on Zegema Beach Records.

12" black inside clear blue vinyl LP released 21st March 2018 under the title, Fortress X. Limited to 1000 copies.

12" opaque pink + 12" opaque ppurple vinyl 2LP self-released November 2018. Second disc contains the instrumental album.

12" 45 RPM neon purple, neon pink and neon orange three-stripe vinyl LP released 13th December 2019 on Sheet Happens Publishing (SHV-025).

Thanks to andyman1125, Bosh66, adg211288 for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Fortress is the second full-length studio album by the unique Canadian band Protest The Hero. It was released in early 2008 and produced by Juice Butty (Alexisonfire, City & Colour, Kobra And The Lotus). It is generally regarded as the band’s heaviest album to date, and featured the breakthrough singles “Bloodmeat” “Sequoia Throne” and “Palms Read.”

Mixing a few dozen strains of Progressive Metal and Mathcore, with occasional Melodic Death Metal riffs, the band have developed their own instantly recognizable sound. The band dart rapidly between different ideas and styles and cover an astounding amount of ground in a single song, without ever sounding like they are just being wacky for the sake of it. The standard of musicianship is absolutely amazing, and the band’s talent is unquestionable.

This album sees the band at their most savage, their most technical and their most esoteric. The lyrical content is less personal and focuses on the concept of Goddess Worship. The music is less poppy and the vocals feature a lot more growls and screams.

Highlights include the brilliant and varied “Bone Marrow” which starts off Eastern Tinged, has sort of symphonic flourishes low in the mix but bursts into a huge melodic chorus and almost Reggae sounding breakdown, as well as “Limb From Limb” which contains an interesting out of character Synth solo, and the the very catchy and memorable “Wretch.”

There are so many great little touches that every song is interesting to listen to over and over again to get to grips with all the different ideas. There are so many excellent vocal patterns, interesting drum patterns, amazing little guitar and bass runs and interesting lyrics scattered through every single song that it can take numerous listens to realize just how great any one song is… so full with great parts are they that a quarter of the parts from a single song here contains enough standout moments to fill about four songs by a normal band.

Some highlights include the part behind the lyric “It’s a neighbour saving face by saying grace today for yesterday’s beahviour,” “Growing fat on the throne where he sat like a stone, a man who has never known no hunger or shown no mercy,” “Do not beg before me, I will not heed your appeals, with your final words be grateful you died by Irish steel” and “Hell-bent on heaven.” Its little moments like that, that will have you coming back to the album time and again. The album is absolutely chocked full of such memorable moments.

Every Protest The Hero album is of the highest quality, so if you enjoy Fortress make sure to pick up the rest of their fantastic catalogue, they are one of the most consistent and consistently interesting bands going at the moment. Fortress is probably the band’s most heavy and aggressive outing, so it might be a good place to start if you want to hear that side of the band’s style represented more often.
Great ideas that don't go very far.

Protest the Hero a relatively new mathcore/progressive metal band from Canada. They smashed onto the scene with their killer debut Kezia, which reached far bounds in their genre's sonic spectrum. The band comes back in 2008 with Fortress, an overall good album but a bit lacking. The band has very good ideas with their music but they fail to develop them very far. Overall, the band delivers a vicious punch of intense and technical metal, but they fall short of creating anything truly special.

Bloodmeat smashes open the album with a killer little riff that quickly breaks down into another riff that quickly breaks down into another riff that then switches to another riff... whew! With this song we see early on how the band has plenty of absolutely fantastic ideas, but they don't develop them into any cohesive track but just cram as much stuff into a 3 minute track as possible. Overall, the song is very strong and doesn't fall short of intensity, but has way too much going on to be considered an overall excellent song.

The Dissentience is a little better than the last track, with more concise ideas being further developed than just a rough cut guitar riff. Still, however, the song shows signs of way too much (or not enough) thought put into such a short time span. With some of the ideas present in the track, a lengthy metal epic could have been made. The track is strong, but lacks a unique spark that would make it a spectacular track.

Bone Marrow is one of the best tracks on the album, making an absolutely epic duology (with the next track). It contains some of the more creative ideas, albeit there are way too many of them shoved into the song. A little bit of funk is heard, with some fantastic mathcore riffs synchronizations heard. The whole experience of Bone Marrow could be seen as an almost surreal one, with bass boosts put in at the perfect spot and keyboard textures being sprinkled in here and there. The melodic transition at the end of the track marks the finishing of "part 1" of the album and the advent of part 2. The whole little section is beautiful, either adding or subtracting to the overall feel of the track.

Sequia Throne is my absolute favorite track on the album. Absolutely brilliant riffs, great soloing and harmonizations between the two guitars, and some absolutely fantastic bass and drums synchronizations. Overall, the track displays what Protest the Hero can do: rape your ears for all they're worth. The band dishes out an insane amount of mathcore madness, with hectic time signature changes, insanely fast soloing and synchronized breakdowns. Overall, this is easily the strongest track on the album, although I would love it if the ideas in the song were developed further.

Palms Read marks the slow decline of my interest in the album. After the relatively incredible tracks, little more can be done for the album. Of course, this song also contains some purely genius ideas, but still they are so all over the place that it makes it hard to consider this a serious song but more like an album teaser. Overall, the song is really good, but is nowhere the best of the album.

Limb from Limb is alright, but nothing special. Some really standard metalcore riffing and crazy instrumental prowess make this rather unspecial compared to the rest of the metalcore genre. The song can get a little "boring," with way too much craziness making it a combination of boring and harsh.

Spoils is a really nice, but a little odd, "fusion" song of power metal and alternative metal. Some great ideas again are a little hectic and underused in an insane song. The song, like so many of the songs before, contain way too many ideas shoved into a short time span. The really only exceptional part of the song is the beautiful transitional piano piece at the end of the song.

Wretch is so much like the other song. Some great riffs and ideas shoved into a short time span and made way too crazy. Some really awkward modulations to major also detract from this song a lot. Sometimes, there is a point where a musician needs to step and ask himself what is he putting into a song and why. It's pretty obvious they did not do this as they shoved riff after riff into an obese track. Overall, the song has some great ideas, but the song overall is way too hectic.

Goddess Bound is yet another way too overstuffed song. This time, throw in some odd and sometimes way too generic lyrics and mix in an overused concept and you get the Goddess Bound/Goddess Gagged duology. The song is good, but like essentially every other track on the album, has way too many great ideas shoved into it.

Goddess Gagged is an appropriate ender to the album. Using much more proggy riffs than just metalcore, and seem to have a much more structured song built this time. Finally, only a select few ideas were used, and tastefully. The song has some really great ideas too, some of the better ones of the album. Overall, the track is actually a rather strong ender, albeit it does end rather suddenly. It has some strong ideas that are a little more structured, although it still seems a little all over the place at times.

ALBUM OVERALL: From the tone of the review, one may assume that I hate this album, which is not true. First time through, I was blown away. But, I slowly began to realize that the band had just pumped the album full of great ideas meant to explode your mind while truly they were feeble and underdeveloped ideas. The instrumentation is spectacular, hammering in another great metalcore performance, but the music preformed is nothing special. As I said time and time again, the ideas used on this album are stunted and underdeveloped. Overall, the album has fantastic ideas, but they provide for nothing more than a tiring and exhausted ride. 3 stars.
Looking for an energetic pump up? Want to infuse your day with some soaring choruses? Interesting in a bit of technical wizardry? Fortress is indeed a good pick for that, but ultimately by the end of it will leave the listener tired of the constantly rapid paces and the overload of melodies.

Fortress is best described as a post-hardcore album, but it's hardly a generic one. It easily borrows a lot from prog, tech, metalcore, and power metal to form one of the more unique sounds in the 'alternative' genres. The musicianship is indeed impressive throughout the whole album. The guitar shreds all over the place, the drums are fast paced, and the vocals are diverse and have an incredible range. However, one of the common complaints about the album is the constant fast paced techniques and blistering melodies wears the listener out with overuse.

The works on the album are probably better on a song by song basis anyways. The opener, "Bloodmeat" contains some killer energetic riffage and is a good example for what the rest of the album sounds like. "Sequoia Throne" opens with a bang and a flurry of tapped notes, and the energy scarcely lets up, revealing probably the best song on the album. The next two songs are great as well, in fact "Sequoia Throne" through "Spoils" are the main course of the album and musically the highlight. "Palms Read" contains an epic soaring guitar intro and rushing verses. "Limb From Limb" contains some very metal lyrics, and features interesting rhythmic experimentation, and also includes a strangely well fitting keyboard solo.

All in all a good listen, the songs are top notch, though could use some compositional editing. Tech fans should find it interesting though, as their metallic approach to post-hardcore is intriguing. Give it time, and Protest the Hero will become not only the figureheads in their genre today, but well respected by many fans across scenes.
Conor Fynes
'Fortress' - Protest The Hero (6/10)

I have to say; on my first listen of 'Fortress,' my mind was very much blown away. There aren't a great amount of albums in metal where every band member gives an exceptional performance. The songwriting, while having spots of brilliance here and there, never passed me as being consistently superb, but I was instantly enamoured by the onslaught of systematic chaos the band produced.

Protest The Hero come on strong and heavy from the very beginning; assaulting the listener with rapidfire guitar work, soaring melodies and hardcore-styled vocals. These are the first few seconds of the opener 'Bloodmeat,' which works out to be one of the more enjoyable tracks on the album.

After listening to the album over and over (I couldn't stop listening to the album for the first few days I owned it) and having the initial shock effect wear off, I realized that while the first four tracks are indeed fantastic, the album as a whole really does not have an immense load of emotional depth in it. 'Fortress' is enjoyable and a remarkable display of talent, but the moments of jaw-dropping beauty end up being too few and far in between.

While I am certainly aware that this is technical metal, and that some over-the-top musicianship is in order, my favourite parts of the album are the parts where Protest The Hero manage to channel their technicality and blend it with a soaring, hooky melody... It always comes as a very refreshing change of pace from the unrelenting virtuosic displays.

'Fortress' is first and foremost, a guitar album. Although having a relatively short career, the guitarist has developing himself a rather distinctive hammer-on/pull-off heavy style, which is very cool. While I really wish I could award the album with another star, there are alot of parts that I don't care for, that detract from the overall product (particularly on the latter half of the album.) While the first four songs together make an unrelenting feast of musical greatness, the album doesn't quite hold up all the way through. Still, if the price warrants it, I would definately recommend picking this one up. It's certainly worth it for those first few, jaw- dropping listens.
After an amazing debut, Fortress came back with a more structured style, an even more mythological based concept, a more progressive outlook and even better songs.

Fortress still contains that amazing instrumentation that was seen in Kezia and even brings to it more and more mature style. It's still pure mathcore at the heart, but it even a progressive metal fan would find this album to be right up their styles.

The concept is based around goddess worship and tyrannical rule during what I believe to the Orient, topics you would never seen be written by a mathcore band. Very smart and very well done.

1. Bloodmeat ? Wow what a way to start the album. Epic beyond control. Amazing lyrics and the vocals are very flexible. One of their highlighting moments with an amazing vocal performance from Rody.

2. The Dissentience ? Again another epic piece of music. The build up is amazing.

3. Bone Marrow ? The keyboards add a more bombastic and atmospheric tone to the song. I love how the song moves in so many different ways.

4. Sequoia Throne ? Very beautiful intro. Wow, what a song. I love how it modulates between major and minor.

5. Palms Read ? Incredibly frantic with an amazing ending.

6. Limb From Limb ? I love how the song starts. Very Dream Theater meets Symphony X. Mathcore at its best. Great keyboard solo from Vadim from Dragonforce.

7. Spoils ? The instrumental work in this song second to none. Vocals and lyrics are both amazing.

8. Wretch ? Another beautiful piano intro. The song is based around the cover art. Amazing song.

9. Goddess Bound ? A very anarchistic song. Very kick ass. They also do this song amazing live.

10. Goddess Gagged ? An amazing way to end an amazing album. The instrumental parts are amazing.

CONCLUSION: One of the best mathcore albums I have ever heard. A masterpiece of it's genre and form.

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