Thursday, November 7, 2013

Protest The Hero - Volition

This was written two weeks ago and was scheduled to appear on another website. However, that editor can not be reached and I suspect that said website/publication may not be in business much longer. Fortunately, No Funeral is up and running so you can jam the new Protest The Hero at your leisure. Moral of the story: This is why you stay DIY. Enjoy!

Protest The Hero
self-released (sort of (not really))

Here's the new album from Ontario's prog/tech/core/scene-sweethearts Protest The Hero. Volition is the end result of a tumultuous year for the band. Back in January, Protest The Hero came to its senses and left Vagrant Records. This was followed by the announcement of an fundraising campaign to record and release the new LP. The band asked for $125K and received over $340K. Normally, I ridicule and taunt those beggars using crowd-funding to extend their 15 minutes of fame but when the funds are double of the fundraising goal, there's clearly pent-up market demand (and all that jazz).

But Protest The Hero had another problem. In June, drummer and founding member Moe Carlson bounced out of the band to go back to school. The band stayed on scheduled and got (of all freaking people) Chris Adler from Lamb of God to fill in during recording. After absorbing some pretty serious blows, things were starting to look good for Protest The Hero; but then the record leaked.

Scheduled for release on October 29, 2013, Volition is being rushed to stores by semi-major label Razor & Tie in order to combat the leak. Now, if you take the MRR/hardline approach, Volition can not be called a DIY release. This is true but it's also not the point. The point is for the record to be released without the corrosive fingerprints of the scam artists know as Vagrant Records smeared all over it.

This is all terrific news for the bean counters, but how does the record sound?

In a word, it sounds terrific. I never really dug Protest The Hero. I once reviewed the band's Fortress album for another website and I certainly didn't dig it back then. Their old stuff sounded like Coheed And Cambria with slightly more testosterone. But things change and here we are, faced possibly with the metal album of the year.

Volition can't be summed with its influences because the album is all over the place as far as style and genre are concerned. Plus the album fulfills its goal of being genuinely unique. It's a whirlwind blend of prog-rock, technical death metal, and non-brainless metalcore from the early 2000s with damn-near falsettos on top of the whole thing. Imagine an alternate-universe version of At The Drive-In that is obsessed Opeth and Starkweather.

As someone who is chasing originality with my heaviness, I'm happy to report that I've hit the jackpot. All preconceived notions of this band should be abandoned immediately. Not into metal? This is the perfect place to start. Highly recommended for the literate and for audio bravehearts.


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