The Protest is back with their new EP Death Stare, and listeners couldn’t be more thrilled. The band remains strong as they continue their relationship with Rockfest Records.
Death Stare kicks off with the powerhouse “Paper Tiger,” complete with tiger growl for emphasis. The guitar riffs are outstanding and Josh Bramlett’s vocals are some of The Protest’s heaviest to date, a perfect complement to the lyrics. There are so many things around us that can cause fear and anxiety but God did not give us a spirit of fear, He gave us a spirit of power through His strength. And just like the image of a tiger on a sheet of paper, our fear holds no real power over us. We simply need to strike up the match and set it ablaze.
Next up are the previously released “Greater” and “Show Up to the Showdown.” “Greater” is an encouraging mid-tempo rock track, with a cool breakdown and electronic elements throughout. This song speaks to those following the dreams God has placed on their hearts. They may face misunderstanding or criticism from the world, but pleasing the world is not the ultimate goal. There is One who is Greater than the world and its troubles, and we seek to share His love with the world through the way we live our lives. “Show Up to the Showdown” is a fun rock anthem. It spurs listeners to show up to the challenges in their lives, not backing down in defeat but marching forward to victory.
Musically, “Voices” is dark, the beginning of the track especially mysterious. Sarge’s guitar riffs and solos are electric, somewhat echoing the sound of early Protest music. Jarob’s drumming is on fire, adding to the impassioned energy. T.J.’s backing guitar work adds depth to the track, helping to give more weight to the strong message of the lyrics. Whether it’s addiction, or anxiety, or depression, sometimes we can feel that there are these voices in our heads, causing us to sink deeper and deeper into a dark hole of despair. But we reach a point where enough is enough. We cry out to God for His help and we fight with all our might to break the cycle of destruction.
After the fiery energy of “Voices,” “Hell to Hold You” cools things down a bit. Still guitar-heavy and the sound you’d expect from The Protest, this is more of a love song. It tells the story of a love so strong it can save someone from the brokenness and loneliness they’re stuck in. A love that breathes new life into a dying spirit. Whether it’s the love of a good friend, a spouse, or even Jesus, this kind of life-changing love fills a person with such gratitude that they’d fight hell itself to hold onto it.
Finally, there’s “The Mountain,” a great way to wrap up the EP. Sometimes the pressure we feel in life is self-imposed. It can be driven by our desire to be good enough and attain the applause of the world. But that is certainly not the most important thing in life, and the world’s opinion only carries so much weight. The mountain of our own expectations won’t crush us once we turn our attention to God’s love for us. The music is fun, with an interplay of rhythms between the guitars and drums.
As The Protest grow as artists, their music keeps getting better and better. Death Stare is full of fantastic guitar riffs, fierce drum beats, and passionate lyrics and vocals. This EP encourages listeners to face their fears and challenges head on. We can give the enemy a death stare and emerge triumphant, all while rocking out to some killer tunes.