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Protest The Hero

Pacific Myth

Review by Larry Toering

There is a catch to categorizing Protest The Hero as prog, but it’s only because they come on so strong. Pacific Myth is a concept EP with fantastic story telling lyrics, containing only six tracks with an epic over eight-minute number at the end. The music is just very hard rocking, but the vocals bring out sounds like The Answer, also akin to Queen and others. The metal edge takes nothing away from the release being progressive rock. It just throws things off until the entire set sinks in. They’re a Canadian band who’ve been around the block, playing hard rock and metal, but this is a step beyond their usual efforts. It earns prog status whether the band are full on prog or not. It also interests beyond the modern metal scope. This is a subscription based release from 2016. If the band aren’t prog, the record sure is.

 

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2017  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Tidal
If you like it hard this is pulverizing. Yet, at the same time it’s delicate with killer lyrics that take some listening to fully absorb. It’s the first chapter in this tale of the sea and stars. The guitars are thrashing about while the vocal majesty shines around it, almost fooling its own wave of prog-mysticism. Metal heads have-to put on their thinking caps, and that’s what prog is all about. Each track features a photo to the left page of the lyrics, and this one has a giant-sized Lion coming out of the sea, taking a small ship with it.
Ragged Tooth
This one has a picture of a shark with its fin out of the ocean water, but tells a complex story that you’ll have to read in-order to fully appreciate. Once again, they come on strong, but once the vocals join it gets radically esoteric, and you’re compelled to read the lyrics to try and make sense of it all. The vocals get downright gruff in places, which is almost like a prog drummer going through as many time changes as they can. This is a "must hear."
Cold Water
The picture is of a giant-sized frog on top of what appears to be an occupied coastal mountainside somewhere along the south Pacific coast. The ocean gets much of the story on this one, as the third chapter gets even more interesting. The vocals take more limelight in this, with a good example of the prog factor the EP carries.
Cataract
This one has another shark photo, only it’s a Hammerhead swimming around a sunken ship at the bottom of the Pacific. This track features guest vocals by a friend of the band and lead vocalist of Mandroid Echostar, Michael Ciccia. It’s oddly enough one of the most comprehensive moments on the disc. This is less rattled with metal and filled with harmonies not heard on the rest. A nod goes to the contained guitars with occasional incendiary fills. It’s probably the most accessible track. 
Harbinger
Chapter five shows a picture of a seagull diving into the water and meeting its fate by what is yet another shark. This is the darkest track of them all, where you start to find out that it’s all a dream. This track is over six-minutes worth of complex time signature changes.
Caravan
The final chapter takes the cake with a photo of mutants in the sky. Among them are a half fish/half camel on a gladiator’s leash and a puppy dog flying up under it as if to be trying to catch the mutant. It helps to describe that while you were sleeping the ocean wasn’t drained, but transformed. This is where the hard to grasp, but very interesting story, all unfolds to an end. The track is based around explanation that you can make up whatever meaning you want to your dreams, as much as you can with the songs. This EP checks out with high marks in every department.
 
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