PROTEST THE HERO — Fortress (review)

PROTEST THE HERO — Fortress album cover Album · 2008 · Melodic Metalcore Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Kingcrimsonprog
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.
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