Protest The Hero’s incredible artistic strength lies in three main fields:
1. The incredibly precise, technical and virtuosic playing of complex material that’s both impressively written and bafflingly structured, without ever feeling gimmicky.
2. Really unique and characterful lyrics that actually have something to say, but manage to stay entertaining with a colurful mixture of insight and clever phrasing.
3. Larger-than-life “moments” that elevate songs beyond the sum of their parts and cause you to really smile.
Scurrilous delivers on all three fronts and not only contains the trademark style-in-the-mixture-of-styles style that you would expect from the band, but manages to elevate and refine the band’s songwriting skills as well, leaving a satisfying and entertaining album on a gut level and one that you can listen to time and again to study the jarring tempo changes and all the neat little touches its so jam packed with.
Now; Protest The Hero are one of the only bands going who can convincingly go from sounding like Dream Theater to Carcass to Fallout Boy in the space of a single verse without sounding contrived or cheesy. Sometimes its almost like listening to what Coheed And Cambria would sound like if they had a sudden desire to get closer to the spirit of both Sikth and Dillenger Escape Plan, and yet also early In Flames, without loosing any of their summery catchiness or ear for good melodies.
Despite the band’s signature sound being a mixture of numerous Rock and Metal subgenres blended together at incredible speeds; on this album they reign it in a bit (well, by their standards) and manage to really nail down and solidify the elements which make them such a great and exciting band. This more solid approach is melded with a new, more honest and personal lyrical approach to great success. Songs on the subject of cancer, suicide, the music industry, life on tour and the aftermath of making amateur sex tapes are dealt with using clever and inventive language, a brilliant fusion of musical expression and the lyrical message, and some damn memorable hooks.
By and large Scurrilous is neither as poppy as the more memorable moments on Kezia, or as furious and metallic as the heaviest moments on Fortress, but it seems to have absolutely perfected the band’s middle-ground. The band concentrated on songwriting, creating some of their most memorable and sing-along tracks to date.
Highlights include the furiously catchy ‘Sex Tapes,’ the diverse ‘C’est La Vie’ and the venomous ‘Dunsel.’
Overall; The band have always excelled at creating “moments” and this album is jam packed with them. When “the trains were fifteen minutes late” bit, the “I don’t mean this in a hateful way, but when the people you love start walking away” bit, the ‘I hope she knows how much I respect her’ bit or the “Here’s looking at you, kid, it was going to leak eventually” bit kick in, they just captivate you, stick in your head for days and beg for repeat listens. If you like the band, you need to pick up this album. If you are new to the band pick up both this and their astounding debut Kezia at the same time, and just listen to them over and over again. Its really unlikely that you’ll be disappointed.