The Protomen: “Act II: The Father of Death”

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The Protomen

Act II: The Father of Death

[SoundMachine, 2014]

by Damon Smith

Over the course of a mere three studio albums spread across nine years, few bands have garnered as large a cult following as The Protomen.  There are easily dozens of stories of fans doing awesome things for the band (such as raising over $32,000 to help finance a documentary about the band) and vice versa (an impromptu recruiting of talented audience members to play in their band, and playing an extra day at a music festival for free just because). And it’s their sophomore album Act II: The Father of Death that demonstrates how they won such a devoted following. A rock-opera, the second “act” tells a dark and melancholy tale of mankind giving up their freedom to the wheels of progress and ultimately ends on a fulfilling, if bittersweet, note. More of a collective than a band, Act II showcases the strengths of the band’s 10+ members. Fitting in with the themes of technology and progress, the album’s music evolves with the story. Early songs such as “The Good Doctor” are slow and acoustic, but as the album kicks into its second half, the songs become distinctly 80s inspired, pounding synths and keyboards accompanying later songs like “Breaking Out” and “Light Up the Night.” This transition is handled beautifully with the track “How the World Fell Under Darkness” as guitars and strings morph into synths and drums. The vocals are no slouch either, with each singer brining his or her own flare to the songs. Special mention goes to Gambler Kirk Douglas, whose stunning vocals and range bring one of the album’s most chilling moments in “Father of Death” and Turbo Lover, who carries one of the bands strongest songs period, “The Hounds”. Overall, this is a fantastic album that’d I’d recommend to nearly anyone with a love for music. It has enough range of song styles and themes to grab anyone’s attention for at least one track, add in the fantastic vocal work and deep subject matter and you have an album that is definitely worth a purchase.

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