I threw this on initially thinking it would be another chunk of that new fangled screamo-prog I like so much, Coheed, Chiodos and the like, and it sort of was, but it was so much MORE METAL! Seriously. When the record kicked in, first track, first 30 seconds, I thought maybe I had thrown on the wrong record, ultra tight, blazing Swedish style deathmetal, with tons of stop / start intricacies, crushing downtuned chug and every nook and cranny stuffed with blazing, shredding, squiggly leads, licks and little woodleewoos. Almost like an emo Necrophagist!
Imagine some of the tightest catchiest screamo / emo / metalcore drenched in crushing blazing fast deathmetal and gussied up with plenty of Yes-y progisms, strummy acoustic breakdowns, and soaring almost eighties metal style vocals. And it’s mostly the vocalist that pushes the band over the edge. If Protest The Hero had a screamer or a growler, they would be just another killer tech-prog deathmetal band, but with the crazy vocals and lush harmonies they turn into something completely different. The singer alternately sounds like Joey Belladonna from Anthrax, Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden and a friend thinks the singer sounds like a screamo-metal Lou Gramm from Foreigner, which I can definitely hear. But imagine just that sort of soaring epic eighties vibe but tangled up in huge sticky webs of dense ultracomplex new wave of Swedish death metal (In Flames, At The Gates, etc.), and with crazy staccato Meshuggah / Poison The Well breakdowns all over the place. So f-cking great. I listen to this NONSTOP.
But it’s definitely all about the guitars, heavy and epic and slippery and complex and squiggly and wanky but totally mind blowing. And the songs are catchy as hell too. It’s like my eighties-self musical fantasy dream come true, a totally eighties hook filled pop record, turned inside out and massively progged up, the whole thing transformed into a crushing metal beast. If I had heard this when I was in my early teens, my fragile musical mind would have been so thoroughly blown I’d have been musically ruined for life. But hearing it now, I can definitely handle it, but just barely