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Another great album from a band continuing to raise bar.,
This review is from: Scurrilous (Audio CD)
I admit, I am a relatively new listener when it comes to Protest.
I was grabbed instantly by 'Bloodmeat' the opening track of their 2007 effort 'Fortress'. This song was mind boggling from start to finish. Cryptic lyrics, bizarre timing signatures, and led by a vocalist with a truly impressive range.
I knew I had to hear more from this band, and quickly became obsessed with 'Fortress' and to a lesser extent, 'Kezia'.
'Kezia' is a brilliant debut, but you can tell that the band were still finding their feet, and whilst impressively technical 'Fortress' was a huge step up on every level.
So now we arrive at 'Scurrilous', the band's 2011 release.
The first track 'C'est La Vie' erupts instantly. No fade ins, just BOOM. Vocalist Rody Walker tells us to "Learn to let loose" as he continues his vocal assualt alongside a quartet of incredibly skilled musicians.
'C'est La Vie' would have sat nicely on Fortress, it has that unpredicatible nature that we have come to expect from the band and is an outstanding opener to the album.
Nothing much has changed musically. It is noticeably tighter, with each member stepping up their game in their own respective ways.
This is not the progression 'Kezia' made to 'Fortress', but simply the sound of a band who have spent the last 4 years mastering their craft. Having said that, the progression is there and you can tell that this is Protest The Hero's most accomplished work to date.
'Hair Trigger' opens with a brilliant tapping riff on the lead guitar, and the song's power never ceases.
The biggest improvement on this album is Rody's vocals, and this is evident in this song and notably 'Tapestry'.
From the falsetto which emerges from nowhere on 'C'est la vie' to the sheer passion Rody exclaims when stating that "Things will never, ever, ever be the same" on 'Hair Trigger', this album really does have some treats in store for lovers of Rody's vocals.
It is worth mentioning that if you liked the screaming/low growls which were prominent on 'Fortress', prepare to be a little disappointed as there are barely any on this record. The clean vocals are easier to recreate live, and as a result these songs sound great on the stage. The talent required to even write a song like 'Sex Tapes' or 'C'est La Vie' is one thing, but to play them live to such a high standard is a true achievement.
Other highlights include 'Tongue Splitter' 'Tapestry' and 'Termites', and throughout these tracks you will find yourself hammering away on your steering wheel one minute, and nodding gently the next. The songs do not get boring, as they are so rich with riffs, vocal passages and constant changes. This may divide an audience who prefer a more straightforward approach to their music, but then again they wouldn't be listening to this band anyway.
I mark the album 4/5 stars as there are parts which no matter how many times I listen, just do not fit together. In most songs, the transitions and melodies are seamlessly integrated
The band will be playing at the Hevy festival in Kent this summer, and you should try to get down and see them- You won't be disappointed.