So obviously, because I received my advance copy of Protest the Hero‘s much anticipated release Volition, I’ve been super happy for the past few days. As a contributor to their highly successful indiegogo campaign, I’ve been looking forward to this album since early 2013, not only because I’m getting a nifty little perk, but also because I can remember how excited I was at the prospect of such a great band becoming more or less independently successful. In my mind it represents what I hope will become a precedent-setting landmark in the music industry.
So how does Protest‘s new offering pan out sans label backing? In a word …”tits.” I find this the most appropriate term, because there aren’t many other things that can bring the same sort of smile to my face. Volition is one such thing.
The album maintains the same relentless energy of previous albums, even squeezing in a bit more intensity into each minute. Needless to say, the musicianship is stellar. Guitarists Tim Millar and Luke Hoskin give unparalleled performances as always. The guitar acrobatics are as incredible as ever, and the musical compositions are mind-boggling. Arif Mirabdolbaghi‘s bass playing, though tending toward understated in the way that many as technically proficient as he is usually are, shines through at key moments and has the ability to completely change the dynamic of a given song.
Vocalist Rody Walker is truly in top form on this album. Like the engine of a muscle car with the governor removed, his vocals burn full-throttle for much of Volition. The focus is, of course, on his phenomenal projection and overdrive, but there is a good bit of growling on this album compared to Scurrilous and Fortress.
Anyone who may have been concerned with a difference in the overall feel of the music due to the contributions of Lamb of God‘s Chris Adler will be pleased to know that there’s really no notable difference. I was even pleasantly surprised at how impressive the drumming is on Volition, much more so that anything I can remember Adler doing with LOG recently. I am glad to know he has that kind if diversity in his playing.
As on past albums, Volition features guest vocals on a few songs from Canadian singer Jadea Kelly. On this album she is joined by a number of other guest performers, including country singer Kayla Howran and a number of other vocalists, instrumentalists, and indiegogo contributors who got the honor to perform as part of their donation perks.
Protest the Hero have put together an incredible album that is exciting from beginning to end. It’s their signature blending of progressive neoclassical metal, melodic punk, and bald-faced fucking chaos, with writing quality that makes it obvious that these guys are all about what they do. They do not disappoint, and I really can’t say enough good things about the new album. Absolutely at the top of my list for albums released in 2013.
Volition is out now on Razor & Tie.
Rating: 5/5 Stars