After a mediocre release in 2011 with Scurrilous, Canadian heavy rock band Protest the Hero is back in fine form with Volition, a record that is sure to please both long-time fans and new listeners.
The album soars with heavy guitar licks that will both entertain and blow you away. Singer Rody Walker’s vocals are some of the best he’s ever given. The most impressive feat that Walker pulls off is, no matter how intense he seems to be getting, his pronunciations are technically perfect and never leave the listener wondering what the lyrics are. If he is trying to outshine his previous performances, Walker is definitely succeeding.
Volition wastes no time getting started, as opening track “Clarity” explodes with a catchy guitar and drum intro. It doesn’t take long for Walker’s powerful, cutting vocals to jump in and when they do it’s guaranteed that the album is going to be great. “Clarity” sets up what’s to come and Protest the Hero does not disappoint.
“Drumhead Trail” is fast-paced, but thanks to the bands technical perfection nothing is lost in the fray. The next track, “Tilting Against Windows,” is a little more classic Protest the Hero and is less progressive, but sets up a nice introduction for “Without Prejudice” — an album standout that represents everything Protest the Hero stands for: creating good music without concerning themselves about being held back or pigeon-holed by one genre.
Protest the Hero are more than just a metal band and the unique, avant-garde quality of Volition is a testament to their ability to be a progressively evolving band that can appeal to a wide audience while still whetting the appetites of any metal lover.
“Plato’s Tripartite” is perhaps the best the album has to offer, as the band is aided by Canadian folk singer Jadea Kelly — who appears four times on Volition. The last minute or so of “Plato’s Tripartite” is definitely one of the most unique duet moments ever heard on an album like this.
After another standout, “A Life Embossed,” things are taken down just a notch to allow the listener a chance to breathe. While not mild by any means, “Mist” is the most radio friendly song on the album. Don’t take that as a negative; it’s just another side to a multi-faceted band that is far too underappreciated for its efforts.
The album finishes off with three offerings of head-banging awesomeness, with “Animal Bones” giving Walker yet another chance to show off his amazing voice.
The only flaw of Volition is that, even at nearly an hour, it seems far too short and will leave fans wanting more.
It’s not crazy to suggest that Volition is Protest the Hero’s best work to date.
Photo: east scene/flickr