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Protest the Hero: Fortress

What do you call an album that has the manic math-rock qualities of Dillinger Escape Plan, the quirky & proggy pomp of The Mars Volta or Coheed and Cambria, the technical crunch of Dream Theater, and the brutal mix of death metal, hardcore, and progressive metal that is Between the Buried and Me? Why, you call it Fortress, the latest release from Protest the Hero. Those who are aware of this band from their debut Kezia, which was released in 2006, already know of the technical ability that these guys have. Well, they've upped the ante here, delivering a crushing album that wows every step of the way, from the complex guitar riffery, dexterious leads & harmonies, blazing drum work, nimble bass lines, catchy melodies, and a wide assortment of vocal styles. Although the CD is heavy as hell in spots, the songs are so melodic you almost forget just how crushing this actually is.

The amount of sick guitar playing that is on this puppy is truly mind-boggling, and sure to please fans of Between the Buried and Me as well as power metal maniacs Dragonforce. The two axe-masters, Luke Hoskin & Tim Millar, are shredders of the highest caliber, and crank out one blistering solo after another on tunes like "Goddess Bound", "The Dissentience", "Bloodmeat", and "Limb From Limb". On the latter, Dragonforce's super keyboard ace Vadim Pruzhanov adds in a jaw-dropping guest synth solo, adding even more wow factor to this already ridiculously sick progressive metal track. The rhythm section of drummer Moe Carlson and bassist Arif Mirabdolbaghi also put on a stellar performance throughout the CD, as the two evidentally have plenty of metal, prog, and jazz chops, all of which come into play here. The lead vocals of Rody Walker are all over the map, giving these tunes plenty of variety. One minute he is cranking out an upper register classic metal shriek, the next he is bellowing out an evil death metal growl, and he'll then follow with some brutal hardcore barks & screams. His clean melodic phrasing is quite good as well, and you get a lot of all of these styles here on Fortress.

It's nice to see bands who got their start in the hardcore and punk world like Between the Buried and Me and Protest the Hero coming up with new metal music so progressive and groundbreaking, easily eclipsing anything they have done previously. This is stunning material folks, and an early contender for metal album of the year.

Track Listing
On Conquest & Capture
1. Bloodmeat 3:54
2. The Dissentience 4:23
3. Bone Marrow 5:30
4. Sequoia Throne 3:11
Sequoia Throne
5. Palms Read 5:06
6. Limb From Limb 4:22
7. Spoils 3:43
8. Wretch 4:12
9. Goddess Bound 3:35
10. Goddess Gagged 3:14

Added: February 6th 2008
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2679
Language: english

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» Reader Comments:

Protest the Hero: Fortress
Posted by Justin Case on 2008-07-16 12:22:32
My Score:

I agree with this review. Hopefully, this record will not be overlooked in the end of the year polls because it is amazing! This band continues to improve and it will be interesting to see how far they can go.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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