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Kezia is 10 years old today!


Part I: Prison Priest
01. No Stars Over Bethlehem
02. Heretics & Killers
03. Divinity Within
Part II: Prison Guard
04. Bury the Hatchet
05. Nautical
06. Blindfolds Aside
Part III: Kezia
07. She Who Mars the Skin of Gods
08. Turn Soonest to the Sea
09. The Divine Suicide of K.
Part IV: Finale
10. A Plateful of Our Dead

There are some events that everyone remembers the exact place they were at the time. Horrific moments, like 9/11 or the death of Diana, Princess of Wales – but also happy moments; moments which fill you with joy when you remember them. One such of these happened to me in September 2005.

I was getting ready for bed and I had just gotten a recommendation to check out an album by a local band from some guy on Sputnikmusic (back when it was called With my trusty mp3 player in hand, I decided to listen to one song from this mystery band before going to sleep.

One song quickly turned into the entire album and there began my relationship with Canadian proggers Protest The Hero.

The album was of course Kezia. It had everything I was looking for: it was catchy and emotional, yet technical and aggressive at the same time. It was like someone had found a way to put some of the craziness of bands like The Dillinger Escape Plan together with the post-hardcore catchiness of Thrice’s Artist in the Ambulance. I was hooked, and for the next year I listened to this album every single day.

Needless to say the downloaded copy was not enough; this was an album I had to own, even if it meant borrowing a credit card and using my meagre summer job money to order the album online. When it arrived I read every single lyric over and over, getting emotionally involved with the concept, learning riffs and leads by ear, and incorporating ideas in my own songwriting. It was, along with Unexpect’s In A Flesh Aquarium, Necrophagist’s Epitaph and Sikth’s Death of a Dead Day, one of the most influential albums on my style as a young songwriter.

Kezia has a quality that only albums I consider among my all-time favourites have: I like every single song enough that all of them have at some point been my favourite. All of them have that “Oh shit, stop talking I need to turn this up real quick” part somewhere in there; all of them have parts that are etched in my brain; and all of them would be missed if they weren’t there. Kezia is more than just a collection of songs – it’s a complete album, and it’s one of the best ones I’ve ever heard. I’ve heard people criticise it for being histrionic or whiny, but to me that’s all just passion, with emotion dripping from every note.

The passion I felt while listening was clearly one felt by the band while making it. Only teenagers at the time, they worked tirelessly to practice these songs for a year or two before entering the studio and the lyrics were clearly something they felt very strongly about. Unfortunately I don’t really feel this passion in their work post-Fortress, but I’m still to this day amazed when I put Kezia on, hundreds of listens later. It’s still exhilarating, it’s still exciting and even though I’ve listened to thousands of albums since, there aren’t many that strike that perfect balance of emotion and complexity – which is why I’ll probably still be blasting this album when the 20th anniversary rolls around.

Jón writer banner Jan 2015