This Canadian metal outfit combines sincere cerebral inquiry into topics like archetypal feminine goddess energy and its manifestations in global consciousness with the goofball stoner charm of, say, the Scooby Doo gang. Yes, for all that Protest The Hero pines for the re-feminization of the planet (thats the bands description of its latest album, Fortress, not ours), there are undoubtedly lots of fart jokes going on on the tourbus. Self-avowed nerds who claim to hate nerds just like themselves, the members of PTH have nonetheless managed to channel their enthusiasm for sci-fi and fantasy into a vision that rises far above your typical Star Trek/Stargate cliche. Thats because, if Tommy Chong and Terence McKenna ever had a lost love child, it would be bassist and lyricist Arif Mirabdolbaghi, a lapsed Muslim of Iranian descent who claims his parents are fine with his affinity for the magic mushrooms which grace PTHs t-shirts. Mirabdolbaghi strives to examine gender-equalizing metaphysics without sounding like a pussy-whipped New Age sap. The Genghis Khan, boiled-in-oil imagery doesnt hurt, nor does the bands uncanny ability to playfully ape New Wave Of British Heavy Metal hallmarks (like operatic Maiden-style vocals) without sounding camp. In PTHs nimble hands, cliches get worked into a thrilling, highly original display of muscular prog-metal wizardry. And unlike most metal bands who get all serious on you, its fun too.
Mon., April 20, 6 p.m., 2009