Protest the Hero, ‘Volition’ – Album Review
Crowd funding has quickly become a popular way for bands to pay for new albums, and Canadian rockers Protest the Hero‘s new disc ‘Volition’ represents the epitome of a successful crowd funding campaign. The band ended up raising an incredible $341,000 via Indiegogo. That would probably pay for one Katy Perry song to be recorded, but for a metal band’s recording budget, it’s a massive amount of dough. With those resources available, it raised the bar and increased the expectations for ‘Volition.’
Protest the Hero’s fourth album brought their first lineup change. Drummer Moe Carlson exited, and his permanent replacement was recently announced as being Mike Iaeradi. But on ‘Volition,’ the drum duties were handled by Chris Adler from Lamb of God. PTH’s progressive / metalcore / mathcore / post hardcore style is nothing like Lamb of God’s, but Adler is an extremely skilled player and had no problem fitting right in.
His presence is felt immediately on the album’s opener ‘Clarity,’ a complex and technical composition. In addition to the various musical style explored, the song (and album) features myriad vocal styles from Rody Walker. Melodic singing, singing/speaking, screaming and other styles are used.
The guest vocals from folk singer Jadea Kelly on several tracks are also a nice addition to the album. She’s an honorary band member at this point, also appearing on their 2005 debut ‘Kezia’ and 2011‘s ‘Scurrilous.’
Guitarists Tim Millar and Luke Hoskin do just fine on their own, but the appearance of Ron Jarzombek (Blotted Science) on ‘Drumhead Trial’ takes it to an even higher level. He’s one of the best guitarists in the business.
Throughout the album Protest the Hero seamlessly blend quirky progressive sections with more traditional styles. The tempos and textures shift constantly, but it’s not jarring. There are radio friendly songs like “Mist” alongside more intense tracks such as ‘A Life Embossed’ and ‘Without Prejudice.’
From beginning to end, ‘Volition’ is a wild ride that’s grounded in excellent musicianship and innovative songwriting. It’s very eclectic, sometimes pushing the limits and often hitting the sweet spot.