Back in 2006 was around the time I started to really get into music. It was around the same time I got my first iPod and ever since I’ve been trying to find the next good album or band. Soon after, I wanted to go to my first concert and my favorite band at the time Trivium was coming later that year to Station 4 in St. Paul. A friend and I decided to go and after months of anticipation we get there and find out that they weren’t going to be playing; their bus broke down in Iowa. Disappointment? Maybe then, but now I’m very happy that’s the way things turned out because if it didn’t I wouldn’t be able to say Protest the Hero popped my concert cherry. They were originally supporting but got bumped to headliner that night.
Seven years later Protest the Hero have released their newest album Volition and it’s potentially their best yet. This is the band’s first try at releasing an album completely free of any label’s financial help. Instead they went to Indiegogo.com (think Kickstarter but for music and videos) and got around $350K, which far exceeded their goal of $125K.
There’s a sense of controlled chaos all throughout Volition, as there’s usually a bunch of stuff going on during the songs but it never gets too crazy or overwhelming -which has been commonplace for Protest the Hero in albums past. One of the best parts of Volition is the sense of reward when giving it numerous listens and all of sudden certain songs or parts of songs start clicking. We live in an age of instant gratification, so when you come across an album with this kind of depth it makes you appreciate it even more so. It keeps you coming back to it months and years after release, rather than listening a few times and forgetting it.
What’s different about Volition compared to their previous albums like 2008’s Fortress or 2011’s Scurrilous is instead of there being two or three really good standout songs, the whole album is incredibly consistent and well done. It’s rare when a song makes me sit up and speak an audible “wow,” but “Without Prejudice” is one of them. “Mist” is another song to demand your attention as it ends in an incredibly beautiful dueling piano and acoustic guitar outro. “Animal Bones” is one of the heaviest songs the band has done and showcases the incredible vocal range Rody Walker has.
It’ll be interesting to see if more bands adopt the crowd-funded ways of releasing albums in the future. Protest the Hero have shown that success can be had and people will be more than willing to support you if you have a history of producing good products. That was the case back in 2006 when seeing Protest the Hero playing that great show for their first album Kezia, and it’s still the case today with Volition.