ALBUM: Protest The Hero – Volition

Release Date: October 29th, 2013
Label: Razor & Tie


Protest The Hero aren’t a band that do things by halves. ‘Volition’ is a rich, dense listen that might just drive you insane with its swirling technicality and ambitious prog-adventuring. The band have been digging away at this sound for years, but this latest release sees their distinctive noise fully excavated. There’s intelligence, emotion and an overall sense of grandeur; all ingredients that makes prog such a varied and intriguing genre, and it’s all delivered with pomp and precision worthy of Rush and the other greats.

From the opening salvo of ‘Clarity’, you can practically smell the peeling lacquer from thoroughly-shredded fretboards. You can imagine the pile of worn out socks Mike Ieradi surely went through maintaining those pummelling trigger pedal rhythms, or the packets of throat lozenges Rody Walker must have been dosing daily to keep those high notes so clean and clear. This is the sound of Protest The Hero operating at peak performance, delivering the goods in a relentless wave of dizzying intricacy.

‘Drumhead Trial’ and ‘Yellow Teeth’ offer early stand-out moments as the notes played surely enter the millions and Walker finds the melodic hooks that will ensure these tunes remain lodged in your memory. This is prog of the highest level, so those with an aversion to whimsy and occasional hamminess take note: leave knitted brows and swinging knuckles at the door and let yourself go with it; you’ll have a great time.

If there’s one criticism that can be levelled at ‘Volition’ it’s that, delicious as it is, this is a feast that’s tough to stomach in one sitting. The unrelenting pace of it all could have used a palette-cleanser in its second act to break up the action, but for fans prepared to follow this journey through to the end the experience offered is an instantly gratifying one. ‘Volition’ refuses to lag in its closing tracks, with ‘Mist’ offering up an arena-sized chorus, possibly one of the best the band have penned, while ‘Underbite’ provides a welcome serving of vocal variety and brutality.

For those lamenting the diminishing reserves of prog in modern metal, have heart. Protest The Hero may be the band to bring the genre back to the forefront of heavy music. For anyone looking for more technicality and intrigue in their music, or an easy listen to diversify into more interesting musical territory, ‘Volition’ might just be your gateway to a new noise.

Written by Grant Bailey