Sound — 10
The year 2005 marked the release of one of the most ambitious debuts in the last decade with Protest the Hero's "situationist requiem", entitled "Kezia". Already known for being the bastard child of bands like Between the Buried and Me and 3 Inches of Blood, Protest the Hero's debut is all the more impressive as the band members were only 18 years old when they wrote it. The album is divided into three acts each telling the same story through three different characters. It focuses on the imprisonment and death of Kezia, being told by the prison priest, guard, and Kezia herself. Act I, or "The Persona of the Prison Priest", allows the band to subtlely make a critique of modern and organized religion. Full of blistering guitars during "No Stars Over Bethlehem" and amazing heavy/acoustic changes in "Heretics & Killers", the first act of "Kezia" ends with a haunting string section and lonely piano, while Rody Walker asks "When your crime's no longer absurd/What will you say, Kezia?/When we ask what are your final words?" The second act is the persona of the prison guard, and features the most metalcore songs on the album. "Bury the Hatchet" comes complete with a blistering outro solo and features some simply stellar vocals by Rody Walker. Guitarists Tim Millar and Luke Hoskin get their time to shine in the final track of act II with "Blindfolds Aside", a song which features some superb riffs, in particular the tapping frenzy during the bridge. Very much alike "Divinity Within", the act closes with a much softer section, featuring some great acoustic guitar and gives the listener its first glimpse of the album's protagonist: Kezia. The third and final act of Kezia is quite simply the best act of the album; perfectly meshing the amazing vocals of the first act and mixing them with the astounding musicianship found particularly during the persona of the prison guard. Listeners may need a rest after the frantic drumming and crazily tight riffs of "She Who Mars the Skin of Gods" or the epic gang chorus at the end of "Turn Soonest to the Sea". The story ends with "The Divine Suicide of K." and a clock ticking before seguing into the retrospective finale, with its lengthy beautiful acoustics to end the album, reminding the listener of Kezia's haunting final words: "Ressurected to be killed, and maybe born again/I'll always be Kezia/So long as any hope remains".
Lyrics — 10
The lyrical style of a band like Protest the Hero is certainly not going to appeal to everyone, though it's hard to deny Rody Walker's amazing lyrics throughout the album. The listener can tell the story contains a personal element with the amount of passion he put into the lyrics and singing on "Kezia". What makes it more amazing is the age of Protest the Hero's frontman, with only 18 years behind him and already writing some of the best and most profound lyrics in today's music. Certainly the best lyrics on the album are found at the end of each act, with Rody summing up the events of the past three songs with beautiful, haunting words.
Overall Impression — 10
There really isn't much more to say about this... After 10 tracks and 45 minutes of great music, everyone should come to the same conclusion. "Kezia" is an amazing album. Period. Ressurected to be killed, and maybe born again/I'll always be Kezia/So long as any hope remains"