Fortress (Protest the Hero album)

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Protest the Hero - Fortress.jpg
Studio album by Protest the Hero
Released January 29, 2008
Recorded Summer 2007
Hamilton, Ontario and Metalworks Studios, Mississauga, Ontario
Genre Progressive metal, mathcore
Length 41:10 (37:47 without pregaps)
Label Underground Operations, Vagrant
Producer Julius "Juice" Butty
Protest the Hero chronology
Gallop Meets the Earth
(2009)Gallop Meets the Earth2009
Singles from Fortress
  1. "Bloodmeat"
    Released: December 12, 2007 (Canadian release only)
  2. "Sequoia Throne"
    Released: April 25, 2008
  3. "Palms Read"
    Released: Fall 2008
  4. "Spoils"
    Released: April 2009

Fortress is the second studio album by Canadian band Protest the Hero which was released on January 29, 2008 on Vagrant Records in the US and Underground Operations in Canada.


Fortress was recorded at Silo Studios in Hamilton, Ontario during the summer of 2007.[1] The album contains 10 tracks broken into three movements, separated by piano interludes, and is approximately 41 minutes in length. The band has stated that the sound is similar to Kezia but with a "less poppy and more technical metal" influence. Fortress does not revolve around a single concept, unlike their previous album. Instead, it is more akin to "goddess worship in the tradition of Robert Graves," according to their bassist and lyricist Arif Mirabdolbaghi:[2]

"It has to do with goddess worship, and how there has been this degendering of the Lord and Savior, and the suppressed feminine. A lot of it is based in Genghis Khan and old Irish Mythology, about the rise and fall of the Goddess of the forest. [The theme] can be more appreciated by more people. If I had to reduce it to its simplest form, the concept is about the re-emerging of goddess worship and the erosion of faith in scientific process."[3]

Also, states lead singer Rody Walker:

"This album is nothing to be intellectualized. All talk of wonder, pathos and optimism aside. I feel it’s a very natural progression for us. A natural progression into further obscurity. I am of the belief a lot of the people who work for us were hoping for a stab at a more commercially viable album, however we wrote what we wanted without linear boundaries and created something less commercial than ever. Some fans of the band will hate it. And some people who hate the band will love it. All others can rot."[4]


In January, a music video was shot for the song "Bloodmeat",[5] which is available on the MuchMusic website. As of December 11, "Bloodmeat" is available for download on the Canadian iTunes Music Store. Additionally, the band released the song "Sequoia Throne" on their MySpace page audio player, but was later replaced with "Bloodmeat".

A music video for the song "Sequoia Throne" was filmed and released in April, and was also made available on the MuchMusic website. Another video, this one for "Palms Read", began filming in September[6] under director Sean Michael Turrell, and was released in late October.[7]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
The A.V. Club (A) [8] (82%) [9]
Allmusic 4/5 stars [10]
Alternative Press 4/5 stars [11]
Now 4/5 stars [12] 4.5/5 stars [13]
Sputnikmusic 4.5/5 stars [14]

Fortress debuted at #95 on the US Billboard Top 200 chart with first week sales of 7,600 copies,[15] also managing #10 spot on the Billboard Top Independent Album chart.[16] In Canada, the album achieved #1 status the first week of its release.[17] Mike Portnoy named this album one of his favourite albums of 2008 on his official web page.

Fortress, like its predecessor Kezia, achieved universal acclaim with high regards from many major publications, receiving a comprehensive score of 86 on Metacritic making it the 12th best reviewed album on the site for 2008.[18] Tyler Patrick Munro of SputnikMusic states: "The album improves on everything established on Kezia (right down to the much more natural sounding piano codas), and it does so without the sometimes blatant repetition of its predecessor." He cites the track "Bone Marrow," stating: "While 'Bone Marrow' places more emphasis on the underpinning synths of the first two tracks, its heavy orchestration still takes a backseat to its varying structure, which fluidly transits from hyper-melodic up-tempo to ball-crushing gutturals and chugged syncopation, all of which are made twice as effective by the interwoven bass slapping," and compares the style of the opener "Bloodmeat" to the dissonance of The Dillinger Escape Plan and Converge.[19] John A. Hanson, also reviewing for Sputnikmusic, writes: "[W]ith Fortress, Protest the Hero have almost shed all of their past imperfections and crafted something really special," going on to praise frontman Rody Walker for his vocal range and improvement since Kezia.[20] Katherine Fulton of Allmusic praised the band for their originality and boldness, writing: "More risks are taken, from the nearly hidden horns on 'The Dissentience' to the shimmering piano solo at the beginning of 'Sequoia Throne' and the playful interlude that bridges 'Palms Read' and 'Limb from Limb,'" though she ultimately criticized the album's "frantic" pace.[10]

Track listing[edit]

Fortress is broken up into three sections, or movements, the first and last of which are titled.

All tracks written by Protest the Hero.

On Conquest and Capture
No. Title Length
1. "Bloodmeat" 3:54
2. "The Dissentience" 4:23
3. "Bone Marrow" 5:30
No. Title Length
4. "Sequoia Throne" 3:11
5. "Palms Read" 5:06
6. "Limb from Limb" 4:22
7. "Spoils" 3:43
No. Title Length
8. "Wretch" 4:12
9. "Goddess Bound" 3:35
10. "Goddess Gagged" 3:14


There are 7 songs on this album that contain pre-gaps. The pre-gap breakdown is as follows.[21]

  • Track -1, before "Bloodmeat," -0:53. Can be found by rewinding from the CD from the beginning. This pre-gap is not detected by iTunes.
  • Track -3, before "Bone Marrow," -0:18. Added to the length of "The Dissentience" when uploaded to iTunes. Actual length of "The Dissentience" is 4:05.
  • Track -4, before "Sequoia Throne," -0:55. Added to the length of "Bone Marrow." Actual length of "Bone Marrow" is 4:35.
  • Track -5, before "Palms Read," -0:04. Added to the length of "Sequoia Throne." Actual length of "Sequoia Throne" is 3:08.
  • Track -6, before "Limb From Limb," -1:22. Added to the length of "Palms Read." Actual length of "Palms Read" is 3:44.
  • Track -8, before "Wretch," -0:44. Added to the length of "Spoils." Actual length of "Spoils" is 2:59.
  • Track -9, before "Goddess Bound," -0:01. Added to the length of "Wretch." Actual length of Wretch is 4:11.
  • Tracks -1, -4 and -8 contain piano instrumentals played by guitarist Tim Millar.
  • Track -3 serves as an intro to "Bone Marrow."
  • Track -5 is an audio sample from a song by Tom T. Hall called "The Year That Clayton Delaney Died" from the album In Search of a Song.
  • Track -9 is an audio sample from the movie Starship Troopers. This 2-second clip contains one of the characters from the movie saying "You wanted to see the galaxy?"


  • Rody Walker - vocals
  • Luke Hoskin - guitar, piano, backing vocals
  • Tim Millar - guitar, piano
  • Arif Mirabdolbaghi - bass, backing vocals
  • Moe Carlson - drums

Additional personnel[edit]

  • Vadim Pruzhanov - keyboards on the track "Limb From Limb".
  • Dan Fila - Additional percussion
  • Julius "Juice" Butty - Producer
  • Mark Spicoluk - Executive producer
  • Nick Blagona - Engineer
  • Sons of Nero - artwork


Chart Provider(s) Peak
Weeks on
Canadian Album Chart[17] CRIA 1 2
Top Independent Albums[16] Billboard 10 3
Top Hard Rock Albums[22] Billboard 14 1
U.S. Billboard 200[23] Billboard 95 1


  1. ^ "Date set for upcoming Protest the Hero album". Retrieved September 8, 2010. 
  2. ^ "BLABBERMOUTH.NET - PROTEST THE HERO: 'Fortress' Pushed Back To Early 2008". Retrieved September 8, 2010. [permanent dead link]
  3. ^ "PROTEST THE HERO release new album". Archived from the original on December 19, 2007. Retrieved 2012-07-01. 
  4. ^ "News | Vagrant Records". Retrieved September 8, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Protest The Hero- FORTRESS OUT NOW! - Whitby, CA - Metal / Punk / Thrash". Retrieved September 8, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Protest the Hero to film 'Palms Read' video". August 1, 2008. Archived from the original on December 2, 2008. Retrieved August 3, 2008. 
  7. ^ "New Protest the Hero video". October 8, 2008. Retrieved November 5, 2008. 
  8. ^ Burgess, Aaron (January 28, 2008). "Protest The Hero: Fortress | Music | Music Review". The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on October 24, 2008. Retrieved 2012-07-01. 
  9. ^ "Protest the Hero - Fortress - Album Review". January 29, 2008. Retrieved 2012-07-01. 
  10. ^ a b Katherine Fulton. "Allmusic: Fortress Review". Retrieved December 26, 2008. 
  11. ^ "Fortress Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More". Metacritic. January 29, 2008. Retrieved 2012-07-01. 
  12. ^ Davies, Evan. "Protest The Hero | Now Magazine". Retrieved 2012-07-01. 
  13. ^ "Protest the Hero - Fortress". Retrieved 2012-07-01. 
  14. ^ "Protest the Hero - Fortress (staff review)". Sputnikmusic. January 16, 2008. Retrieved 2012-07-01. 
  15. ^ "THE MARS VOLTA, PROTEST THE HERO, AIRBOURNE". February 6, 2008. Archived from the original on February 9, 2008. Retrieved February 6, 2008. 
  16. ^ a b Fortress Chart Listings[dead link]
  17. ^ a b "Canada Album Chart". Retrieved September 8, 2010. 
  18. ^ "Protest the Hero: Fortress (2008): Reviews". Retrieved December 26, 2008. 
  19. ^ Tyler Patrick Munro (January 16, 2008). "Protest the Hero: Fortress Review by Tyler Patrick Munro". Retrieved December 26, 2008. 
  20. ^ John A. Hanson (January 24, 2008). "Protest the Hero: Fortress Review by John. A. Hanson". Retrieved December 26, 2008. 
  21. ^ "Fortress pre-gap lengths". Retrieved 2012-06-30. 
  22. ^ Fortress Hard Rock Listing[dead link]
  23. ^ Billboard 200 Chart Archived August 17, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]