Protest the Hero - Pacific Myth EPIn the past, mentioning Protest the Hero among the trve resulted in long side-eyes or questions of “Are they really metal?” (I can’t wait to see how well this review goes over). But since we let a certain fat-lipped band in here, you’re damn sure I’m going to feature my favorite Verb the Noun. Since discovering the boys from Ontario in my youth,1 I’ve harbored a soft spot for the act and hoped to see their subscription-based EP flourish. Fortunately for everyone involved, Pacific Myth represents the dual success of a risky business model and an exciting step for a band practiced in constant retrospection.

Pacific Myth initially sounds like a continuation of the clean-cut scale barrage that the quintet embodied for the last half-decade. If extended along the lines of opening tracks “Ragged Tooth” and “Tidal,” Pacific Myth would have been competent, if uninspiring. Those preferring the band’s post-Fortress absence of snarl might be contented, but only just. Even their biggest fans must admit that the memorable pop-and-prog peaks scaled on 2011’s Scurrilous and 2013’s Volition likely marked the masterful climax of that direction. For Protest the Hero to maintain relevance, as with any band, their new material demanded innovation.

Third-slated “Cold Water” fuses comfort with exploration, a dichotomy that only slants farther to the latter as the EP progresses. In recent years, Rody Walker’s wordplay commanded increasing amounts of prominence. They often seemed necessary to adhere Luke Hoskin’s insane technicality to the rest of the music. Thankfully, “Cold Water” moderates its arpeggio reliance with a proggy midsection that maturely avoids beating its standout hook to death. At one point, the track drops the lead guitar altogether, favoring an unexpected bass-and-keys pairing. “Cataract” takes this progression one step further, demanding a hard-edged performance from all parties involved. The result is undoubtedly Protest the Hero, catchy and blistering, but its groovy heading marks a huge departure from the expectations set even from the start of Pacific Myth.  After hearkening back to Fortress with well-placed piano and throwback growls on “Harbinger,” the band close Pacific Myth with the longest track they’ve ever released. “Caravan” cycles through sugary sweet standard fare, increasingly unhinged frenetics, and prominent keyboard digression.2

Protest the Hero 2016

As Walker expresses his exhaustion with “conceptions that bring nothing new from the womb,” I get the sense that the band intended Pacific Myth to gradually expose fans to the next era of Protest the Hero. I can’t say I’m surprised, given the band’s refusal to stagnate and their enduring commitment to the message. The bloom may be off the rose for Walker et al., but I cannot wait to see where Protest the Hero go next. With his closing address, Walker sums up a mantra I hope embodies the band’s work ethic for years to come: “Are you satisfied? Don’t be satisfied.”

Tracks to Check Out: “Cold Water,” “Cataract,” and “Caravan”


Show 2 footnotes

  1. Thank you to whoever chose “Bury the Hatchet” for Guitar Hero DLC.
  2. That sounds remarkably close to the Attack on Titan theme song.
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  • Reese Burns

    I was never able to get into this band. Would this be a good starting point?

    • Eldritch Elitist

      I think Scurrilous is a good jumping off point, personally. Haven’t heard this one yet though.

    • Dr. Wvrm

      It depends on how into metalcore you’re into. Kezia and Fortress fused core influences with the same technical guitar work you’ll get now, it was just a bit messier and grittier. Scurrilous and Volition dropped almost all of the core in favor of a much cleaner, occasionally thrashier (on Volition) sound. I was into them pre-Scurrilous, but the shift in sound was what catapulted them into the stratosphere for me. Either way, if you like scales you’ll be happy.

    • Shrümpelstiltskin

      I’d start with Fortress. I think that’s the album that hooked most people in (myself included). Volition is my favorite though. Pacific Myth is also great, but I wouldn’t necessarily start with it.

      • [not a Dr]

        I started with Pacific Myth, and it’s doing a fine job of getting listened to.

    • Anarchist

      I think a lot of fans will tell you something different, because every album has a very distinct sound. Kezia and Volition are my favourites, but Fortress is also amazing and Scurrilous is very good. Myth was up and down for me. I liked all the tracks, but Caravan and Cold Water stood well above the rest for me.

      I think Wvrm’s summary is probably the best, but I think even sampling some of the best tracks from each album wouldn’t be a bad idea.

      Heretics and Killers and Blindfolds Aside from Kezia, Bloodmeat and Bone Marrow from Fortress, C’est la Vie and Tapestry from Scurrilous, Plato’s Tripartite and Skies from Volition are some of my favourites from each of their previous albums. Kezia and Fortress are the albums most designed to be listened to in one sitting though.

      • Dr. Wvrm

        Sex Tapes! You can’t omit the funniest track they ever wrote!

        Thanks a great list though, a playlist in the making.

        • Anarchist

          Sex Tapes is actually one of my all time favourites, but it’s been very divisive among people I’ve shown it to, so I chose to omit it.

          • Bloated Goat

            It’s probably my least favourite song of theirs!

      • Reese Burns

        Hey, thanks a bunch for answering (along with everyone else who took the time to), I’ll set aside some time to go through all the tracks you recommend!

        • Anarchist

          No problem. I’m just happy to see people from one of my favourite sites taking an interest in one of my favourite bands.

      • Reese Burns

        Just wanted to report back and say that I’m loving this so far! It’s great!

    • Bloated Goat

      I think that this is by far their weakest release.

  • AndySynn

    Big fan of PtH myself. True Metal Cred be damned!

    • Justin Brown

      Same here. Can’t wait to see them this february!

  • Patrick Colombo

    First time I heard PtH was around when Fortress came out and I didn’t care for them much. Dug the music well enough, but Rody’s voice drove me up a wall. I didn’t listen to them again until Voliton was about to be released a few years later and I decided to give them a second chance. I don’t know what changed, but I was pretty much immediately converted into a rabbid fan. I went back and listened to their older material and couldn’t figure out why I didn’t like it the first time around.

    I subscribed to Pacific Myth and listened to each of the tracks when they were released. They were alright, but I wasn’t crazy about them. I just figured it was a matter of time before I was disappointed by something they released. When the last track released I listened to all six together for the first time and I swear it was like becoming a new fan all over again.

    These guys never cease to amaze me. They are by far my favorite band, metal cred be damned.

  • mtlman1990

    I liked Kezia and Fortress. After that , I could give a dam

  • Anarchist

    Came here expecting this to be divisive; so far it’s the least divisive tymhm I’ve read so far.

  • The Unicorn
  • Zach Ward

    Never listened to em before, but with that cover I’m gonna have to.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      I’ve had them on my “To check” list for a long time but that awesome cover might just do the trick.

      • Zach Ward

        Eh, they’re not really my thing, but fuck me I’d still buy that album art and hang it up on my wall.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    I got this on a sweet playlist with A7X, Sum 41, Stomp 442, Chinese Democracy and Sheryl Crowe’s greatest hits.

    • Thatguy

      No one is biting.

      A shame.

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        I know,
        I go out of my way to be a jerk and no one has the common decency to to get butt hurt. The youth of today!

    • GardensTale

      Let’s see you extend this one with whatever is going up next. Dare ya.

      (For the record, I don’t know what’s going up next, but I doubt we had more than 3 controversial reviews up our sleeves)

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        Oh I’m gunna

  • Gloomer88

    I must say Voliton is an amazing album, if you can spare five minutes listen to Drumhead Trial, Hands down one of the best metal songs of that year, Chris Alder on drums with limited time to learn and play, Kayla Howran on vocals at the end still gives me goosebumps and the musicianship is out of control, its fast, its got grove, its got style and class. Give it a run

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Are those manta rays flying from Mars to Sirius?

    • SegaGenitals

      Nah. Just fleeing Earth after hearing Opeth’s Sorceress.

  • I don’t understand why anyone would argue whether or not this is metal. Apart from it being a stupid thing to argue, this is more metal than a lot of things that get reviewed here.

    Anyway, it sounds pretty damn great, even though it’s not really the sort of metal I would normally listen to as this sort of stuff normally lacks good song writing. This most certainly does not.

    I listened to Fortress when it was released and liked it, but not enough to really follow them.

  • SegaGenitals

    All ‘verb’ the ‘noun’ bands are suspect on principal.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      That’s why Burn The Priest changed their name to Lamb Of God.

  • mindbleach

    I listened to Volition and thought it was ok, but I couldn’t help but feel some similarities to Between the Buried and Me, in the form of most of the songs feeling like the writing process involved throwing a kitchen sink full of riffs and ideas into a wall repeatedly and hoping it falls together into something coherent.

  • GardensTale

    I sort of like it, but by Odin does it make me feel antsy. Like someone jabbed a canister full of speed into The Mars Volta’s ass.

    • Berit Dogg

      I wish someone would do that. Get on with the song already, you damn hippies!

  • Wow do I miss extreme metal.

  • Side but related note: Their Kezla remaster is described as follows:

    “We wanted the Kezia 10 Year edition to be an ‘audiophile listen’. I
    took the original masters and recorded them onto analog tape.

    I then captured the tape and enhanced the “analog tapey goodness” with a vinyl appropriate equalization (EQ) curve.

    This aided in maximum dynamic playback for you, the listener. We all truly hope you enjoy it.”

    I can actually hear the hiss too in some spots! However, without downloading it, it sounds VERY good and really, really dynamic. Kudos to the band for giving this to fans!

    • Dr. Wvrm

      I’ve heard about that remaster but haven’t gotten around to it. Thanks for reminding me to give it a spin.

    • mtlman1990

      wow. I have to check that out.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Where they ever Metalcore? This is like Dream Theater with a Power Metal castrato singer.