Review by Daniel for Rorschach - Protestant (1993) Review by Daniel for Rorschach - Protestant (1993)

Daniel Daniel / May 15, 2024 / 0

New Jersey metalcore outfit Rorschach have been on my radar to check out for quite some time now. I'd heard a few of their tracks while I was still programming the monthly The Revolution playlists & had always found their sound fairly attractive but I guess I'm not generally one to go chasing too much in the way of metalcore. The task of selecting every second The Revolution feature release has finally seen me investigating Rorschach though & I'm very glad I did because I've found them to be a class act that's deserving of the hype they inevitably seem to draw.

"Protestant" was clearly produced by a very competent group of musicians who knew what they were doing & had a clear sound in mind. Like a lot of the early metalcore releases, it sits heavily on the hardcore punk side of the metalcore equation but utilizes the best elements of that genre in conjunction with metal influences to great effect. The level of musicianship is exceptional for a bunch of rebellious punks to be honest with the arrangement & composition being very mature & showcasing a lot in the way of technique. I'm not the biggest fan of Charles Maggio's vocals as they tend to err on the generic, screamy side of the metalcore spectrum but they're certainly not a deal breaker by any means. It's the guitar work of Keith Huckins (Deadguy/Kiss It Goodbye) & Nick Forté (Raspberry Bulbs) that's the real attraction here though, particularly when they explore more atmospheric, arpeggiated or chaotic realms.

Another strength is that there are no weak tracks included amongst the thirteen included on "Protestant". It begins in very solid fashion & tends to maintain that level for most of the tracklisting. There's only really the one track that I'd suggest is capable of competing at the top tier of the metalcore hierarchy though in the classic "Blinders". The references to the mathcore subgenre are a little bit of a stretch though to tell you the truth. Yes, this material was fairly sophisticated for the time but I'm not sure I would ever tag it as chaotic, hectic or spasmodic. It's perhaps just a touch more progressive than you would usually expect from the hardcore scene which is intended as a compliment in this context.

"Protestant" is a very strong record overall & is definitely the sort of metalcore record I find myself attracted to. It doesn't rely on production or gimmicks to draw the listeners attention, instead focusing on strong song-writing & punk rock energy to perform the task & it works a treat. In fact, I've gone so far as to include "Protestant" in my newly revised Top Ten Metalcore Releases of All Time list which is really saying something given that it's not generally a genre of choice for me. I can tell a good record when I hear one though & "Protestant" fits the bill nicely.

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