Finally..... It's finally here. After expected release dates in August 2007, and then September and November Fortress is set for release on Jan 29, 2008. I promise.
How exactly does one follow-up something as genre defining/defying as 2006's Kezia?
From the first dissonant bleats of "Bloodmeat" you know PTH has not strayed far from what made their debut album a masterpiece. Songs shoehorned together by an ADHD sufferer performed by idiot savants with mind numbing musical prowess. Over all the mayhem, potty mouthed Rody Walker manages to sing/howl/growl surprisingly smart lyrics.
What they have done is increase the production values, pen even smarter lyrics, and Rody's vocals have developed an admirable range. No longer limited to metal growls or nasal whine we get actual singing and layered harmonies (along with the metal growl and nasal whine).
The album is divided into two distinct parts. The first, entitled "On Conquest and Capture", is seven songs deep. The lead off track, "Bloodmeat", just owns from the seizure inducing into to the outro riff which grinds and chugs begging for raised fists and flying bodies. Then it's on to "The Dissentience" which raises the intensity level and teeters on the edge of some tricky time signatures. Only two songs in and I can't begin to count how many distinct riffs and time signatures have been thrown at the listener. This is Protest and they continue to weave an enthralling tapestry before crescendoing on "Spoils".
"Isosceles" is comprised of only three songs and has a much more flamboyant rock opera type vibe. I can't get into this as much as the septet that came before. It is a cool look at Protest The Hero exploring some new ideas and directions.
If you didn't like Kezia you probably won't like Fortress. If you didn't like Kezia you probably need to get a clue anyway.
What the boys in Protest have done is craft and album which is an evolution from Kezia not a reprise . What I love about Protest is that they mix jaw dropping musical prowess with intelligent lyrics, and just enough pop sensibility creeps in to afford them a wider appeal.