DECEMBER 2nd 2016

Review by Lana Muirhead

There must be word of a perfect storm or this is the year of the tsunami because I have heard at least four albums this season with a shipwreck/waterworld doomsday theme already.  Will Mother Nature finally have her revenge on us noise-polluting humans?  The new EP by Protest The Hero, Pacific Myth, may suggest so.  Not only do the lyrics proclaim the wrath of the universe but the instrumentals on this newest effort contribute to this sense of looming destruction upon us.

As a whole this ‘album’ was not one of PTH’s best.  I say this because they have set the bar so high for themselves for so many years, and we have been happy to see them consistently leap over it, that we are not prepared for when they clothesline themselves with it. That is not to say that they’re publishing music not worth a listen: quite the contrary.  I think PTH would have to become deaf, dumb and blind for them to release anything that isn’t relevant to some degree in the prog metal world.

When I say that Pacific Myth is not their most shiny hour, it is only because we hear a very typical formula being developed before us that is typical Protest The Hero. We get the complicated, panicked, riffs and the solid, foundational rhythm section (prevalent throughout but most notable on “Tidal”, “Ragged Tooth” and “Cataract”) but we are overwhelmed with the absolutely operatic and theatrical vocals of Rody Walker.  And this is not unpleasant in the least!  What we are lacking on this EP is the keep-us-guessing-what’s-next vocals we wet ourselves over. Walker can sing: he can growl, he can scream, he can croon, and he can belt ‘em out like rock godfathers Joey Belladonna and (dare I?) Paul Stanley.  But he seems quite reserved other than to really sing – as in nicely and only periodically getting grungy. He works some nice vocal changes in “Ragged Tooth”, “Cold Water” and “Harbringer”.  Instrumentals were most exciting in “Tidal” where staccato’d crescendos built a climactic atmosphere via busy-handing riffs. My favourite tune was the epic 8 minute closer “Caravan” where the entire composition, vocals, instrumentals, timing and cohesion were at their finest.

Protest The Hero is a Neapolitan of flavours on the best of days, and a mix of strawberry and vanilla on its worst (two out of three ain’t bad!). I would say this Pacific Myth falls into the vanilla-strawberry mix with the occasional whiff of chocolate. But how quick we are to burn before hearing and I will not be guilty of this!  I am so looking forward to Protest coming through Vancouver at The Vogue on December 8th and will be excited to hear the new tunes live where I know I’ll appreciate them at their finest.