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HARDWARES

PROTEST THE HERO

Volition

(Razor & Tie)

Reviewed by : David Perri
Rating : 7.5

There's a moment on PROTEST THE HERO's 2005 debut, Kezia, during opener 'No Stars Over Bethlehem', where this Whitby, Ontario band masterfully plays with your senses, the group pausing for the briefiest of seconds before re-firing the totality that is its explosion of sound. It's an almost indiscernible moment, but it's there. And it's powerful. And it reflects the kind of impact Protest The Hero has been making for almost a decade now.

Don't get me wrong: Protest The Hero is by no means a unique prospect. The band's chosen form is prog-metal, just faster and more damage-obsessed, and the only surprise that accompanied Kezia's release was that kids with stretched ears and skinny jeans, i.e. those who hadn't grown up listening to RUSH or YES, were actively interested in the intersection that the likes of DREAM THEATER and VANDEN PLAS call home.

So, here we are, now four full-lengths in with Protest The Hero. Prog-metal played by sleeve tattoos long ago lost its novelty as BORN OF OSIRIS and VEIL OF MAYA's long-standing tenures will attest, and even the old guard in Dream Theater acknowledges, and draws inspiration from, in surreal who's-the-vanguard? ways from a band like PERIPHERY. And, within that context, Protest The Hero continues its simplicity-is-for-losers attack, these musos playing the truculent-and-pugnacious prog card until the end, it seems (Brian Burke would be proud, says even this diehard Habs fan). Volition, then, is a culmination of all the group has learned on its first three records, this latest LP sharp-edged, jagged, and manically precise in the ways only prog-metal bands know, exactingly, how to be. The further story within the story is that LAMB OF GOD drummer Chris Adler has filled in for departed founding member Moe Carlson here on Volition, and Adler's presence is more than just marketing: his double-kick obsessed playing is felt viscerally, and adds another varied sense of dynamic to Protest The Hero's already multidisciplinary palette.




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