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Upon first listen, PROTEST THE HERO’s sophomore album, Fortress, is probably not anything you would’ve guessed that it would sound like. Fortress is essentially and predominantly a contemporary progressive heavy rock/metal (i.e. DREAM THEATER) album with a major metal/hardcore and minor contemporary punk influence. To throw a monkey wrench into what sounds like a traditional formula, the band make abundant use of dissonant hardcore/math metal time changes with the predominantly clean vocals of singer/screamer Rody Walker. These constantly shifting time changes, vocal styles, and constant genre shifting keep the listeners on their toes. Boredom is probably the last feeling to result from listening to the album. PROTEST THE HERO show off their excellent chops with tons of technical displays of DREAM THEATER-inspired musical flash. There’s no doubting that there are plenty of great, impressive parts all over Fortress. However, at the end of the day, the continuity in the songs is not quite there. The songs sound more like a patchwork of riffs, song sections, and ideas that don’t quite consistently gel together. Once PROTEST THE HERO clear this hurdle, they should be a monster. (Vagrant Records)