Protest The Hero – “Palimpsest”

Album Reviews | Aug 13th, 2020

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Genre: Metal/Progressive
Record Label: Spinefarm Records
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Canada’s Protest The Hero return with their most challenging effort yet, Palimpsest. It hasn’t always been easy but the Protest crew has always been up for a challenge. After a record breaking crowdfunded campaign for their previous full length Volition, the band then moved on to try their subscription based singles project which culminated in the Pacific Myth EP. Here on Palimpsest, we see an album that was 3 years in the making that almost got sidetracked after singer Rody Walker blew out his voice having to take a year off from recording the album.

Let’s get this out of the way, there is some exquisite musicianship here. The album is a master class on how to be at the top of your game and craft brilliant songs. Usually to most non-musician listeners, a lot of this progressive stuff is boring and just turns into a “look what I can do” fest, but not here as an immense amount of thought went into to the when and why of each song. While long time bass player Arif has been gone for a while, the album seems to have upped the bass game with some insane musicianship that rivals bass greats like Ryan Martine, Les Claypool and such. It manages to compliment the song writing and structures all while going completely off the wall. The guitar work seems to also have stepped up it’s game building more onto the brilliant foundation Luke and Tim have built on all their previous work.

While the musicianship is one thing, the vocals and lyrics really stand out in an insane thought provoking way. While they are a Canadian band, the record is an outsiders look into what’s currently going on across the border in the USA. Rody has openly stated multiple times if you’re a Trump supporter you’re probably not going to like this, and he doesn’t care if you don’t. That’s a bold statement that resonates throughout the songs as he analyzes with great intelligence as the album’s title suggests. Through a crash course in looking at the world with historical significance, it really causes you to think in a different way about the current political climate of the US instead of a message diluted with blunt oversimplification. Its pretty clear that bands like Propaghandi and other smart punk influences come into play and it’s always been the strength of the band, rather than giving away to whatever’s cool in metal nowadays.

Bottom Line: If you’re looking at the top 5 metal albums of the year, this one without a doubt will be one of them. This is an album that flows well within it’s concept of taking a deeper intelligent look at the things most Americans forgot about this country and much more. It also doesn’t hurt that there’s focused brilliant instrumentation to go along with it.
Notable Tracks: Rivet, The Canary, All Hands, The Migrant Mother
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