ALBUM REVIEW: Protest the Hero – Palimpsest

It appears that Protest the Hero have got some thoughts on today’s, let us say shit, political climate. When your opening track is called ‘The Migrant Mother’ it’s a bit of a tell that Palimpsest (Spinefarm Records) has some issues it wants to address. I mean, regardless of subject matter I’d still be all for Palimpsest. Come on, it’s Protest the Hero, I could listen to songs about cooking bacon as long as it’s a new album.

With that out of the way, we need to have ourselves a little talk about music and politics. Because of our “divided” politics, some metalheads have taken issue with musicians voicing their opinions on matters regarding race, sexuality or any policy they disagree with. It’s no surprise to see the usual battle-cry of “Keep your politics out of music” or “SJW” whenever Tom Morello or Randy Blythe have a comment or tweet in regard to inflammatory topics. News flash, fans, music is a form of artistic expression therefore artists share their opinions via their creations. Whether it be Bob Dylan’s ‘The Times They Are a-Changin’, Lamb of God’s Ashes of the Wake, or Toby Keith’s ‘Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)’ musicians tend to share what’s on their minds.

That was quite a bit of table setting to jump into Palimpsest but I felt it necessary as some of the greatest metal or punk releases were born from a disdain/critique of the political establishment. And Protest the Hero isn’t mincing words with lines like: “Freedom is incarceration by a different name,” and “All praise to the new God who speaks so elegantly who says America is not great, but it can be.” All the piss and vinegar are rightfully backed by some of the most epic sounding batch of songs Protest the Hero has crafted in a while. ‘From the Sky’ and ‘All Hands’ hit with smart-bomb impact yet carry the bravado and melody of a Broadway production. Songs like ‘Soliloquy’ and ‘Little Snakes’ present a confident band that knows their repertoire and how and when to apply finger-numbing guitar runs, blast beats or harsh growls.

It’s too bad that touring is not looking like a plausibility at the moment as Palimpsest needs to played live in its entirety not unlike Between the Buried and Me’s Colors.

So, don’t keep politics out of my metal. The aforementioned Ashes of the Wake, …And Justice for All, Evil Empire and Houses of the Molé were all born from that place of dissent.