The Protomen is an indie, progressive rock band stationed in Nashville, Tennessee. Criminally obscure, they give their all to every show they play and show a massive amount of talent in each song they create. They released their sophomore album, Act II: Father of Death, in late 2009, four years after their self-titled debut album was released. True to it’s title, the album is the second act in their rock opera, acting as a flashback to show how the world in act I came to be.
The album is a story of a man’s rise to power and another’s fall from public’s good graces. The world becomes very much like 1984’s Oceania, complete with robotic thought police and a “big brother is watching you” mentality. The album’s second half asks the question of how far someone is willing to go to fight for what’s right, using the hot blooded Joe to get this across.
If you were in his place, would you do what he did?
The album makes jumps across several genres- from a string heavy western-style to horn blaring swing to youth in rebellion 80’s. The lyrics are strong, each carrying the story further into more tragic territory as the album goes on. Songs in particular that stand out are the “The Hounds” and “Breaking Out.” The former is a villain song, with bouncing guitars and blaring trumpets, primarily being about how the villain soiled the hero’s name and won over the populace. The latter is a youth in rebellion song about how Joe is tired of his life and is going to, well, break out. It sounds straight out of the 80’s, opening with a steady heartbeat track and piano before delving into vocals.
This album is a true work of art, and really deserves more attention than it’s getting. The band put more work into the album than a lot of mainstream artists do, including a great deal of story in the liner notes. Check the whole package out- chances are these talented people wont disappoint you. They certainly didn’t disappoint me.