Protest The Hero - Pacific Myth LP
Fans of Protest the Hero’s signature style will get exactly what they’re expecting – overtly complicated riffs sweeping from progression to progression without a hitch topped with eccentric vocal arrangements. The difference is that Kezia, and to a lesser extent Fortress, had all of those traits amongst a wide range of dynamics. There were soft moments amid the sea of riffs, welcome refrains from the barrage of instrumental insanity, and the heavy sections were heavier; the growls were meatier and the breakdowns were crunchier (I think they did away with them completely this go-round). Also, the tracks themselves had vision and purpose. They seldom finished the way they started; and those that did come full circle (i.e. ‘She Who Mars the Skin of Gods’) did so after the band took you on a musical journey filled with subtle crescendos, emotive climaxes, and everything from quiet instrumental interludes to brutal breakdowns in between.
Here, every knob is turned up to 10 the entire time. It’s blitzing riff after riff with nary a break in the complexity and little to no instrumental breathers. There’s nothing as tenderly immaculate as ‘Blindfold Aside’s guitar solo, nothing as compelling as the opening to ‘Bloodmeat’, nothing as epic as the entirety of ‘Bone Marrow’ or ‘Turn Soonest to the Sea’. It’s borderline formulaic by now, and the vocal melodies themselves sound rehashed from older songs. Progressive metal implies some form of progression and Pacific Myth lacks exactly that.
The EP certainly has its allures; tracks like ‘Tidal’ and ‘Harbinger’ have excellent, memorable choruses, the latter given extra character from its moody piano progression bookending the song. The 9-minute closer ‘Caravan’ is one of the few tracks to build upon its initial riff-driven foundation, flowing in and out of screamed spastic bridges, crooned melodic passages, ultimately leading up to a brilliant orchestral dénouement. The instrumentals themselves are spot on; it’s nigh impossible to tell that they underwent some recent lineup changes since the newcomers fit so snug within the rest of the band’s artistic prowess.