Friday, December 13, 2013

Protest the Hero at the Gramercy Theatre

Vocalist Rody Walker played bass on one song
Protest the Hero is a progressive metal band from Ontario, Canada. Originally named Happy Go Lucky, the band changed its name shortly before releasing a debut EP in 2002. The day that the band members finished their senior finals at their high school, they went on a three-week "Rock the Vote" tour from Toronto to Halifax to raise awareness for the upcoming Canadian election and to draw attention to the band as well. Protest the Hero won the 2004 Canadian Independent Music Award for Favorite Metal Artist/Group even before releasing its first album in 2005. The band released its fourth album, Volition, on October 29. 2013. Current members are Rody Walker on lead vocals, Luke Hoskin on lead guitar and piano, Tim Millar on rhythm guitar and piano, Arif Mirabdolbaghi on bass and new member Mike Ieradi on drums.

The original strain of progressive metal peaked over the early 1990s, with the commercial success of Rush, Queensryche, Dream Theater, Tool and King’s X. A resurgence may be building with the recent return of Fates Warning and the surging popularity of new bands like Periphery and Protest the Hero. At the Gramercy Theatre tonight, Protest the Hero embraced both the aggressive heaviness of metal and the complex technicality of progressive rock bands. On the metal side, the band amplified its guitar-driven sound with wildly fast yet intensely technical playing, much like in the metalcore and post-hardcore genres. On the progressive side, the band’s compositions dazzled with experimental, conceptual themes and featured adventurous melodies similar to jazz fusion and classical music. Walker sang soaring melodies, sometimes shrieking high notes and other times singing harshly. The band’s charged performance was equally dramatic, spinning heads with innovative song structures while keeping the music moderately accessible and polished. The end result was a delight for prog-heads but a puzzle for traditional rockers.

Visit Protest the Hero at www.protestthehero.ca.