Sunday, June 12, 2011

Review: Protest The Hero - Scurrilous

Take a minute to examine the album cover above. As your eye scans the painting, allow yourself to notice more and more detail in the cacophonous square. There is almost too much information to gather all at once. The painting visually emulates Scurrilous, the latest effort from Canada’s tech-metal champions, Protest the Hero.

As album begins, you are immediately plummeted into a seemingly never-ending array of guitar riffage. Guitarists Luke Hoskin and Tim Millar travel miles across the fretboard within every track in the album’s 45-minute runtime. Each run, arpeggio, and chug tightly propels these songs, and helps create some of the most focused music of the band’s career.

The production on Scurrilous is outstanding. This is easily the best sounding PTH album to date. Everything, especially the low-end sounds are full and deep. This bodes well for the band’s musical direction. On a track like “Tapestry” groovy riffs bridge varying vocal sections where Rody Walker shows off his range, delivering his signature soaring vocals with occasional intense growls. The band is clearly showing a desire to progress and develop, which with their style only makes sense.

Scurrilous marks an interesting installment in the PTH canon. With Kezia and Fortress, the group showed off their extreme metal tendencies. However, with Scurrilous this sound is less noticeable. Gone are a majority of the intense screams and breakdowns found on tracks like “Bloodmeat.” At first this didn’t quite settle with me. I wanted to hear that thunderous technicality. However, the more I’ve spun the record, the more I find myself digging this integrated approach to the band’s sound. Ditching many of the tech metal clich├ęs that have developed over the years, the band still brings the intensity, they just have focused it in a new, yet related direction.

At first it was difficult for me to get fully into Scurrilous. Without the notable heavier sections of records past, the songs tended to bleed into one another. That being said, after repeated listens, the intricacies of these tracks really began to show through. While admittedly I do still miss the brutality found on their previous efforts, the newest offering from Protest the Hero is filled with delicious riff after delicious riff. It is a tough album to diligently digest in one sitting, but damn is it tasty.


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