Volition is Protest The Hero’s fourth full-length offering and the five-piece are showing no sign of straying too far from their energetic roots. This album still showcases the groups fast tempo, their eclectic style with plenty of thrash influenced speed-metal passages and enough time signature changes to make fellow Canadians, Rush, nod their heads sagely.

The band decided that this release would not be funded (and therefore encumbered) by a record company and so asked for fan contributions via an Indiegogo campaign. The campaign raised $340,000, almost three times the target amount of $125,000.

The group suffered a blow before the recording process with the departure of their drummer and founding member, Moe Carlson. Chris Adler (Lamb of God) replaced Carlson for the recording sessions and has done an admirable job, especially considering the stylistic difference of the two bands.

The album’s opening two tracks (‘Clarity’  and ‘Drumhead Trial’) are classic Protest The Hero and are (in this writer’s opinion) the band’s best compositions since 2008’s Fortress.

The guitar work across the album is, as always, fantastic. Luke Hoskins’ diverse leads are perfectly complemented by Tim Millar’s rhythm work. Though this is a Protest The Hero trademark, it’s always worth noting musicianship of this level.

Fans will be pleased to hear Rody Walker’s vocal work on the album, as their previous release Scurrilous featured almost no screaming vocals, focusing instead on Walker’s extreme vocal range. That range is still showcased on Volition, but the screams are back as well, adding an extra level to the intensity of the music.

The real strength of this album, however, is the mixture of light and shade. There’s plenty of high-speed melody (as you might expect), but this is complemented by some slower heavy sections, as well as some calmer clean sections. Album closer ‘Skies’ is a great showcase of all of these elements in one track.

In summary, the band have most definitely not changed their ethos with regards to the sort of music they like to write, but they have expanded their repertoire intelligently with Volition.

[rating:4]

Volition is available now on iTunes.