Protest the Hero is a Canadian progressive metal band from Whitby, Ontario. Originally named Happy Go Lucky, the band changed their name to Protest the Hero, then released their debut EP, Search for the Truth, in 2002. In 2005, the band released their first album Kezia on Canadian indie label Underground Operations.
On January 23, 2006, the band signed with Vagrant Records for Kezia’s American release on April 4, 2006. Their second album, Fortress was released by Underground Operations in Canada and by Vagrant Records worldwide on January 29, 2008. The band released their third studio album, Scurrilous, on March 22, 2011.
Expressing frustrations with record labels, in January of 2013 the band announced that they would crowdfund their fourth album. The Indiegogo campaign was a runaway success, and the independently-released Volition debuted on October 29, 2013, distributed with the help of Razor & Tie. In October of 2015, the band announced that their fifth release would take the form of a subscription service using Bandcamp entitled Pacific Myth.
The band started the production process of their upcoming album in January 2018, but after vocalist Rody Walker experienced some issues with his voice during the Fortress 10th Anniversary Tour, in June 2018, the band released a statement revealing they were postponing the new record.
During this time, the band continued work on the upcoming album and after vocalist Rody Walker successfully recovered from vocal issues, were able to complete their follow-up to 2013’s Volition, titled Palimpsest, which was released on June 18, 2020.
Early years (2001–2003)
The band started as Happy Go Lucky in 1999 and, shortly after, they recorded their first demo. In 2001 they changed their name to Protest the Hero. They released their first EP, Search for the Truth 7″ vinyl, which included only two songs. They were included in the compilation (Coles) Notes from the Underground that same year. Luke Hoskin stated on his Formspring page that Search for the Truth was recorded when they were 13 years old. The day that the band members finished their senior finals, they went on a three-week “Rock the Vote” tour from Toronto to Halifax to garner recognition and raise awareness for the upcoming Canadian election.
A music video for their song “These Colours Don’t Run”, from the EP A Calculated Use of Sound, was released in 2003. The video begins with the band discussing the meaning of the song and features the band playing the song live at numerous locations in Toronto, with the album music dubbed over the actual live recording. At each location, the band would hand out lyrics to passers-by and encourage them to listen or sing along.
In 2004 the band recorded their debut album for release the following year. Kezia is a concept album, described by the band members as a “situationist requiem”. The album achieved universal acclaim with many reviewers praising the album for its technicality and Walker’s vocal range.
After extensive touring the band returned to the studio in 2007 to record their sophomore effort. The resulting album featured 10 tracks that showcased the band heading in a more technical metal style than Kezia. During the Fortress tour the band released a live album (Gallop Meets the Earth) featuring tracks from their first 2 albums. Protest the Hero played Fortress from start to finish at their shows from November 20 to December 23, 2009. This stretch marked the last of the band’s shows for a while as they took the first part of 2010 to work on a new album, which was to feature a more progressive sound.
The band officially began recording of their third album on August 30, 2010. On December 15, 2010, Walker posted a video indicating the completion of work on the third album. Scurrilous was released March 22, 2011.
Volition and line-up changes (2013–2015)
On January 8, 2013, Protest the Hero released the following statement on their Facebook page in regards to their upcoming album in the summer of 2013: “We have some big announcements coming next week concerning our new album – which is a few songs away from being written. We plan on recording in March or April and have a new album out in the summer. We have been recording pre-production with our old friends Cam and Anthony. The material is more challenging than ever before and we know we’ll have to work hard to bring it to life. Looking very forward to a bold 2013!”
On January 15, 2013, Protest the Hero announced that their fourth studio album would be crowdfunded through Indiegogo. The band claimed that they want to forgo record companies and that they have “finally decided to take matters into [their] own hands.” The album had a fundraising goal of $125,000, a goal that was reached within 30 hours. By the end of their campaign, the band reached $341,146 in fundraising, nearly tripling their original goal.
On June 6, 2013, the band announced in an interview that original drummer and founding member Moe Carlson would part ways with Protest the Hero in order to pursue an education and career in tool and die manufacturing. Chris Adler of Lamb of God would be stepping in as his replacement for the recording sessions of the band’s new album. On August 15, the official title and release date of the album were announced: Volition to be released on October 29, 2013.
On September 5, 2013, the band released a single titled “Clarity”. This marked the beginning of pre-orders for the full album. On October 2, 2013, the band released another track from Volition, titled “Drumhead Trial”.
On October 10, 2013, Protest the Hero announced that Mike Ieradi, formerly of The Kindred, will be their new drummer.
On the morning of October 16, 2013, the album leaked. Later that day, because of the leak, Protest the Hero gave the IndieGoGo contributors their digital copies of the album.
On the evening of March 30, 2014, during a show in Raleigh, North Carolina, Rody Walker confirmed that bassist Arif Mirabdolbaghi had left the band. On April 2, 2014, the band announced that Mirabdolbaghi had left the band to focus on other projects. The band’s producer Cameron McLellan, who had also performed on several songs on Volition, was announced as the touring bassist and has since remained with the band as an unofficial member.
Pacific Myth (2015–2016)
On October 15, 2015, the band announced that their next release would not be a conventional album, but would instead be a subscription-based release of six tracks through the online music service Bandcamp. Each of the songs, including artwork, instrumental versions, and high-quality downloads, were released through Bandcamp once per month to paid subscribers until March 2016, forming an eventual EP entitled Pacific Myth. The first track, “Ragged Tooth,” was released to subscribers on the same day. On October 6, 2016, Protest the Hero released a limited run of Pacific Myth in its entirety on vinyl, allowing members of the subscription service to pre-order the EP. The EP was released to the public on November 18, 2016. The fourth track, Cataract, features guest vocals by a friend of the band and lead vocalist of Mandroid Echostar, Michael Ciccia.
On June 6, 2018, the band announced that they were forced to cancel their upcoming summer tour in Europe and Japan, and postpone the recording of their next studio album, due to Rody Walker developing “vocal issues” that might develop into “irreparable damage” if not taken care of.
A new single titled “The Canary” was released on April 16, 2020 on streaming sites. On the same day, the album’s title, Palimpsest, along with the track listing and its release date set for June 19 was announced. Along with the 10 tracks that are listed for most editions, two bonus tracks called “Gift Horse” and “The Dueling Cavalier” exist that are included in a special vinyl bundle. The second single, “From the Sky”, was released on May 14, 2020. The band modified the release date of the album from June 19 to June 18, 2020, in observance of Juneteenth, and the album was released to pre-order subscribers a day earlier on June 17, 2020.
|Year||Album details||Peak chart positions||Certifications|
|US Ind||US Rock||US Hard Rock|
|2005||KeziaReleased: August 30, 2005Label: Underground Operations||—||—||250||—||—||—||—|
|2008||FortressReleased: January 29, 2008Label: Vagrant Records||1||66||86||95||10||24||14||MC: Gold|
|2011||ScurrilousReleased: March 22, 2011Label: Vagrant Records||8||—||106||81||12||20||4|
|2013||VolitionRelease: October 29, 2013Label: Independent||7||—||—||20||1||7||3|
|2020||PalimpsestReleased: June 18, 2020||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
|“—” denotes a release that did not chart.|
- 2-Track Demo (2002, Self-released as Happy Go Lucky)
- Search for the Truth (2002, Underground Operations)
- A Calculated Use of Sound (2003, Underground Operations)
- Sequoia Throne Remix EP (2008, Underground Operations)
- Pacific Myth (2015–2016, Independent, serial subscription released through Bandcamp)
- Fabula & Syuzhet (2020, Independent)
|Year||Album details||Peak chart positions|
|2009||Gallop Meets the EarthReleased: September 29, 2009Label: Underground Operations||299||47|
- (Coles) Notes from the Underground (2002) (“Break the Chain” and “Asperity of Sin”)
- Greetings from the Underground (2004) (“Soft Targets Dig Softer Graves”)
- Things Could Be Worse (2004) (“Break the Chain”)
- Orange and Grey (2005, DVD) (“Silent Genocide,” “These Colours Don’t Run,” “Red Stars Over the Battle of the Cowshed” and “Loathing In Laramie”)
- The Power of Music (2005) (“An Apathetic New World”)
- Warped Tour 2006 Compilation (2006) (“Heretics and Killers”)
|2004||“These Colours Don’t Run”||Marc Ricciardelli|
|2006||“Heretics and Killers”|
|2007||“The Divine Suicide of K”||Colin Minihan|
|2008||“Bloodmeat”||Marc Andre Debruyne|
|“Palms Read”||Sean Michael Turrell|
|“Limb From Limb”||Marc Andre Debruyne|
|2011||“C’est la Vie”|
|2013||“Clarity”||Kenneth Wilcox & Todd Hennessy|
|“A Life Embossed”|
|2014||“Tilting Against Windmills”|
|“From The Sky”|
Video game appearances
|“Divinity Within”||NHL 07||2006|
|“Bury The Hatchet”||Guitar Hero II (as DLC)||2007[notes 1]|
|“Goddess Gagged”||NHL 2K9||2008|
|“The Dissentience”||NHL 09||2008|
|“Heretics and Killers”, “Bloodmeat”, “No Stars Over Bethlehem”, “Sequoia Throne”||Tap Tap Revenge 2||2008|
|“Bloodmeat”||Guitar Hero World Tour (as DLC)||2009[notes 2]|
|“Limb From Limb”||Guitar Hero (iOS)||2010|