I have this friend. We'll call him "Max," because that's his name. Max has said some questionable things in the past ("With Honor are the best straight-edge band ever," "I didn't know Henry Rollins was in Black Flag," "I hate Fugazi,") but I've always let it go. So when Max told me, a while ago, that the new Protest the Hero release was ("bar none!") his favorite album of all time, I wasn't sure whether to slap him or go buy it.
I should have slapped him. Kezia is an inexcusable waste of time. For their first actual full-length, Protest the Hero has multiplied anything that made them previously laughable: more vague politics and more fake metalcore. Like Anti-Flag, with Thrice guitar parts. Sounds great, right? No, it doesn't, what the fuck is wrong with you? For ten songs, the band refuses to genuinely emote, to do anything but show off their mad skills. It ends up being too wanky to be anything but a soulless mess.
I mean that. It doesn't take the full 43 minutes to realize what's going on here. It seems like the band decided to write the most purposefully technical parts ever and stick them together in the most appropriate way they could. So we get songs like "Heretics and Killers," and "Turn Soonest to the Sea," unnecessarily painful exercises in discordance.
The genuine lowlight of the album arrives at the halfway mark with "Blindfolds Aside," on which the singer's teenage-dirtbag falsetto of "SOOOCIAAAL JUUUUSTIIIIICE" isn't even the worst part. The biggest offense comes at the end of the song, when they tag on a super-experimental acoustic outro, complete with a department store guitar solo.
To top it all off, the production is terrible. Whoever produced this decided to forget about the band's bassist for whatever reason. Instead he opts to up the tinny squealing guitar/singer combination, and over-polish everything. All it does is highlight what's actively ruining this band's music.
See, an overly technical song is not necessarily better than a simple one. Practicing harmonizing guitar parts for hours doesn't make you a good songwriter. Gang vocals every now and then won't improve your hardcore credibility. It's true that these kids can play their instruments. And it's true that they've buried a few catchy parts in this album. But it's also true (and this is a scientific fact) that anyone who's into this sort of thing is a complete and utter dipshit. Sorry, Max.
3.0 / 10
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