Protest The Hero – Kezia

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Album Review by Mark Bayross

After over five years together, a couple of singles and support slots with the great and the good in metal, rock and hardcore circles, Canadian five piece Protest The Hero finally deliver their debut album. Mind you, they could be forgiven for taking their time – each of the band is only 19 years old.

Regardless of their youth, this is a fantastically complex work – a ten track concept album based around a doomed young woman – the Kezia of the title – facing execution and related in groups of three songs from the point of view of the Prison Priest, the Prison Gunman, Kezia herself and finally on the last track in a retrospective finale. Each of these characters conveys aspects of the band members themselves, making for an intensely personal record.

It’s a heady concept that is more than matched by the music – a collision of schizophrenic heavy riffs, turn-on-a-dime time changes and thunderous rhythms, punctuated by acoustic interludes and reflective passages. It’s surprisingly catchy, all the more impressive as the band apparently wrote music that they could not play and then forced themselves to learn how to play it over the two years it took to produce the album.

On top of all this, Rody Walker’s vocals are delivered with power and melody, soaring and roaring while others his age may still be reduced to yelping. Passionate, powerful and elaborate, this is an impressive album from a band who clearly have a very bright future ahead of them.

6 stars