Sound — 10
Back again for it's second attempt at full-length success, Canada's Protest The Hero released "Fortress" on Janurary 29th, 2008. Fortress was recorded at Silo Studios in Hamilton, Ontario and released on Vagrant Records. The band again pushes the limits of both the Progressive Metal and Metalcore genres, as well as stretches it's own abilities beyond expectation. The line up for the band has remained the same since it's creation, as with their first release "Kezia," on "Fortress" gifted guitarists Tim Millar and Luke Hoskin lead blazing verse and solo, backing the ever growing vocal ability of singer Rody Walker. Bringing in the percussion is drummer Moe Carlson, and finally bassist Arif Mirabdolbaghi shines as well. Fredonia Communications student Zach Meiling reguarded the new albums sound with this: "The bass guitar adds nice texture to the music, offering a strong complement to the lead guitars and vocals which have developed exponentially since their previous release." Each individual effort can be seen in several different songs as the band works together to create an album that will not likely be easy to rival in the genre. In an effort to make a stronger, more technical album, Protest The Hero strayed away from making marketable music and stuck to their own distinguished sound. "I feel it's a very natural progression for us," stated vocalist Rody to an interviewer from Vagrant records, "A natural progression into further obscurity. I am of the belief a lot of the people who work for us were hoping for a stab at a more commercially viable album, however we wrote what we wanted without linear boundaries and created something less commercial than ever." Unlike their past release, Fortress does not lyrically follow one single concept storyline, but instead focuses on "goddess worship in the tradition of Robert Graves," stated lyricist and bassist, Arif.
Lyrics — 9
The album contains 10 tracks total, broken in to two parts. Part one "On Conquest and Capture" is itself is broken in to two parts, part one containing tracks 1-3; Bloodmeat, The Dissentience, and Bone Marrow, while part two is tracks 4-7; Sequoia Throne, Palms Read, Limb From Limb- which hosts a guest keyboard solo from Vadim Pruzhanov of Dragonforce, and Spoils. Part two of the album is titled "Isosceles", and contains tracks 8-10; Wretch, Goddess Bound, and Goddess Gagged. Lyrically, Fortress is a monument to the writing ability of the band. On Conquest and Capture often lyrically brings about thoughts of war and conquering, like Bloodmeat's "Tomorrow we will find them, seek the youngest of their kin. We will meet them with our fury, and we will crush them all like vermin." Isosceles contrarily focuses on the worship and development of Gods, and how the development of civilization has lead to the downfall of true spirituality, as in Wretch's They impart a secret hatred from their fathers to their heirs Our Goddess gave birth to your God, and Goddess Bound's Take everything your school has taught you, throw it to the dogs.Its meat that dries in summer heat and reeks now of it's rot. It speaks now of the fate that we await, to be forgot.
Overall Impression — 10
In one package, Protest The Hero has raised the bar again for their distinct genre. Pushing the musical limits to new extremes, all members of the band shine through in their own ways, showing growth and potential that no fan or enthusiast could have expected. To those who may pass off the opportunity to listen, give the album a chance. Singer Rody says it best, with the comment to Vagrant Records: Some fans of the band will hate it. And some people who hate the band will love it. All others can rot.