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November CD of the Month - The Protomen's Act II: Father of Death

November CD of the Month - The Protomen's Act II: Father of Death

Act IIAct II: The Father of Death, the second installment of Protomen's unfolding epic, brings the story to a dark, yet hopeful place. Protagonist, Dr. Tom Light, wrongfully blamed, accused and subsequently banished for the murder of his love, serves as the political impetus for his rival's, Dr. Wily, calculated march towards global, or at least civic, domination. As the saga progresses, the tragic hero is left with both the guilt of innocent life lost and the subsequent charge to take up the messianic-mantle on behalf the fallen and his beloved city.

Musically, the album is anthemic, dire and aggressive; all things rock-opera. Protomen succeed in creating an aural quality which enhances each scene through an all-out-nailing of traditional rock conventions. “The Hounds” features a guitar and drums combination which conjure up a strong sense of motion, almost chasing, thus symbolically aiding Dr. Light as he flees the scene of a murder. More subtly, “How the World Fell Under Darkness,” chronicling Dr. Wily's transition of his city from one of human cultivation to one of mechanical rule, instrumentally transitions from acoustic, earthy strings to one of computerized synths.

One of the more poetic moments on the record is the way in which death is symbolized; a glorious choir of unrepentantly positive voices proclaiming “there will be light” ultimately cut short mid-proclamation; martyrdom in the face of unrelenting tyranny.

Act II features an interesting play between height and depth. The height of a tower, the depth of a plunge, and the distance of Dr. Light's banishment give a geographical presence to the fictional city in the story, but also mimic the emotional extremes of the characters as they embrace cathartic motorcycle rides or look into the face of something created, broken and spoiled. Like any second act worth its salt, The Father of Death leaves the listener eager for resolution; or, at least the next chapter. Make sure to follow along in your booklets! - Trevor Nyman

Published: December 01, 2009 |

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