For those not in the know Protest the Hero is a mathcore band from Canada and maybe one of the best things to come from America’s hat. The group has been together since around 1999 and has a lineup of only three albums. Kezia, released in 2006, is an absolute masterpiece as far as the mathcore/hardcore scene should be concerned. Spanning ten tracks, it is one of the few concept albums that I can really say is fantastic.
Most of the story/lyrics are written by Hero’s bass player Arif Mirabdolbagh. It tells of a woman’s execution as seen through the eyes of the woman, the priest tasked with giving her last rites, and a member of the firing squad who must kill her. The album ends with a sort of recap of the three stories in the song “A plateful of our dead.”
From the moment I put Kezia in and turned up the volume I was blown away. The ten tracks are an energetic mix of monstrous riffs and solos broken up by Rody Walker’s vocal shifts from conventional singing to guttural growls, as well as a very soft accoustic outro in a few of the songs. The blasting drum beats by Moe Carlson change from blast beats to more traditional bass and snare punk sounds, add in the heavy bass riffs and you have a mix that is absolutely unstoppable. The album never seems to stay headed in one direction with the wide mix of sounds and styles. This blend will almost guarantee that there is something in this CD that may appeal to you, but the chance of it not in any way are still there.
At just around forty minutes, and ten tracks, Kezia would be my best recommendation for anyone new to mathcore. Though they may not be as popular in the genre as Dillinger Escape Plan or Converge, Protest the Hero holds their ground with their second album release to date. It’s followed by Fortress, and A Calculated Use of Sound comes in just behind Kezia to make up the band’s small list of albums.
- No Stars Over Bethlehem (3:48)
- Heretics & Killers (3:09)
- Divinity Within (3:24)
- Nautical (3:24)
- Blindfolds Aside (5:59)
- She Who Mars the Skin of Gods (3:52)
- Turn Soonest to the Sea (6:21)
- The Divine Suicide of K (5:10)
- A Plateful of Our Dead (4:29)
Final Score: 9.2/10 (Outstanding)