Scurrilous, the third album by Protest the Hero—a five-piece progressive metal band hailing from Ontario, Canada—charges forth from the gate in spectacular fashion with opener “C’est La Vie.” The audacious start can’t be maintained, however, as the opening track is in retrospect the best song on the record. From there, the album features frequent, runaway guitar solos intermixed with lurching breakdowns and choppy beats. The only break from the blistering tempos is the fade-out in the final track, “Sex Tape” (easily the record's other standout song), placing the album's best songs at its beginning and end. Apart from that, hardly anything other than the technical guitar work (and perhaps the dog barking at the end of “Tongue-Splitter,”), separates the sound of Scurrilous from Protest the Hero's prior work. The result is a jumpy and energetic record, frenetic and frantic, moving quickly enough to keep the album’s theme together by virtue of speed alone. For all of its ferocity and force, though, Scurrilous is a surprisingly pleasant listen, in part due to frontman Rody Walker's high-pitched melodic vocals which belie the aggressiveness of the blistering guitars. Recommended, definitely. Diverse and innovative, definitely not. CONOR MYHRVOLD
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