Genre – Progressive Metal/Mathcore
Rating 4.75 out of 5
With their fourth studio effort Volition, Canadian metal band Protest The Hero further cement themselves as one of the most talented young metal bands around.
Volition is an album that is packed wall to wall with masterful and precise musicianship as well as stellar performances from guest musicians, all while being incredibly accessible to the casual music fan and metal head alike.
Protest The Hero have been known for their technical prowess since breaking onto the scene with their debut album Kezia, but Volition sees the band soaring to new heights, with songs such as “Clarity” and “A Life Embossed” being prime examples of their increased ability, part of this comes with the addition of Lamb of God drummer Chris Adler performing on the album.
Adler really shines on Volition; he handles the zany tempo changes of the mathcore genre with ease, while still adding his own flair to his parts instead of just playing by the numbers. Adler’s drumming paired with the guitar scales of Luke Hoskin in the final minute of “Clarity” is just one of the great moments on this album.
Singer Rody Walker’s performance on Volition is easily his best to date. Walker has been steadily improving his range since Kezia and he has reached a peak on Volition. Volition sees the return of Walker using his lower register growls, with “A Life Embossed” being the most prominent example. However, Walker performs best when he is letting his clean vocals soar, which are at their best “Mist”.
Walker is also the primary song writer on the album, and while the lyrics may not have the political or religious undertones of Kezia or Fortess, they make up for it by being very catchy and tongue-in-cheek. “Yellow Teeth” is the wittiest song on the album, with Walker calling out his critics saying, “A man is nothing more than what others say he is/ so speak clear and ill of me and so it will be”.
The guest performances on the album are another terrific addition to an already talented ensemble of musicians. Volition marks the third time that Protest The Hero have worked with singer Jadea Kelly, whose performances on the album are short, but almost chilling. Volition sees the first appearance by Kayla Howran on a Protest album. Howran only appears on “Drumhead Trial”, but her brief duet with Walker is easily the highlight of the song, and hopefully is a sign of a continued partnership between Howran and the band.
While all the individual performances on the album are incredible in their own right, what makes this album truly outstanding is how well they all come together. No one person or instrument hogs the spotlight on this album. Very few songs in recent memory have the sound and brilliance that is displayed by a whole band as “Mist”. This song will be stuck in your head for days, the energy at the beginning picks you up and gets you going, but the final verse is the catchiest moment on Volition before fading into a violin and piano outro.
With Volition, Protest The Hero continue to show why they have garnered the amount of respect they receive from other musicians. Volition is an album that deserves to be heard plain and simple.