Sound — 9
Let me just say that "Kezia" is one of the best albums I've heard in a long time. It easily ranks as a masterpiece of modern music. Protest The Hero effortlessly encorporate a huge variety of genres, including metal, hardcore, and punk, throwing in acoustic guitar breaks and small piano interludes for some flavor. Within most songs, you can find all of these elements shifted together with ease and skill. The production quality is nearly flawless. Their latest release, "Fortress", sounds a little too computerized, where "Kezia" has a rough edge to it.
Lyrics — 10
Protest The Hero's singer, Rody Walker, is downright amazing. Sure, he can come off as whiny at moments, but only for a moment. He can fulfill a variety vocal styles. "Bury The Hatchet" starts off with some frantic screaming, then shifts to singing, then right back to screaming. It's impressive how Walker can shift from singing to screaming so quickly, sometimes within the same note. He sounds like a preacher at the end of "No Stars Over Bethlehem", singinig "Amen/To the people/Who think there's no way to help us". All of the lyrics follow the story of the character, Kezia, through the point of view of a prison priest and the gunman assigned the task of executing Kezia. A lot of the lyrics are reflective upon society (Kezia, Gunman) or upon the futility of religion and a loss of faith (Prison Priest). Some of the tracks are accompanied by a female vocalist that adds a haunting feel to the music, especially in "The Divine Suicide of K."
Overall Impression — 9
Compared to "Fortress", this album is leaps and bounds above. Don't get me wrong; "Fortress" is a very good album, but "Kezia" is just that much better. The musicianship is more creative, and doesn't get stuck trying to be too technical. The overabundant tapping seen in "Fortress" is absent on "Kezia". The only thing "Kezia" really doesn't have working for it is that there is never really a break from the high-speed guitar/drum work; there's no point to take a breather. But seeing as how the album is only about forty-five minutes long, it's not immediately noticable. The best tracks on the album are "Heretics & Killers", "Bury The Hatchet", "Blindfolds Aside", and the absolutely epic "The Divine Suicide Of K." In the past four days, I haven't been able to stop listening to this album. It easily hits my list of top five favorite albums.