Coming at you with more energy than a Tasmanian devil on Red Bull and ecstasy, Protest The Hero's newest disc, Fortress, presents an exquisite assault on your ear drums.
Following their 2005 debut full-length Kezia, Whitby, Ontario's favourite rebellious sons take the high-octane, guitar-driven punk that made them famous and added a layer of metal. The constant whine of blistering note changes on guitar are even faster this time around, accompanied by more frantic, heavier drumming. The biggest progression for this outing from Hero easily comes from frontman Rody Walker, whose expanded vocal range now includes deeper growls and screams to supplement his quick, high-pitched singing, seamlessly transitions between the two types.
Despite notably stellar individual tracks such as "Sequioa Throne" and "Bone Marrow," Fortress is best enjoyed in a single, long listen. The songs blend together well thanks to frequent tempo changes and instrumental sections, often pushing the boundaries of both the metal and punk genres by seamlessly incorporating uncharacteristic piano or synth parts. The end result is a uniquely fantastic blend of accelerated, talented and intricately-arranged music that comes easily accessible to metalheads and punkers alike. Protest the Hero sets the bar high with Fortress and it will be interesting to see if they can follow it up.