A Star Wars-style scrolling text at the opening of the “Director’s Cut” version of the Gallop Meets the Earth DVD is a pseudo-review/hate letter directed at the band for a performance deemed to be all right, but nothing spectacular. The band lacks the energy and all-out craziness of previous performances, according to the text. If the letter is real, and was written in response to the particular show recorded for this DVD/CD combo, it’s dead on.
Love or hate Protest the Hero, they are known for a sort of metal fusion sound that prides itself on technical proficiency in its wacky, always-changing time signatures, rounded out by fantasy lyrics that would make Rush proud. Such technical performances don’t always translate well to the live setting (especially depending on the actual skill of any given band). Protest the Hero does a decent job of pulling it off, albeit better in a small club setting, and more notably a few years back in the Kezia era. But lately the band seems a little less lighthearted, and the show suffers a bit as a result.
Vocalist Rody Walker’s jokes fall flat and piss off the crowd, Arif Mirabdolhaghi keeps quietly at the guitar, failing to deliver any of his signature poses, and guitarist Tim Millar, with his ever-increasing facial hair, is starting to look like he may be moonlighting as a faux-bo. And that could be a good thing. Maybe the band isn’t trying to be a gimmick but rather simply perform their tunes, but the energy is lackluster, and the performance is mediocre with a recording that doesn’t help, meaning fans should just toss the CD to the garbage heap in favor of the studio albums.
On the DVD side of things, viewers have the option of watching the performance straight through, or a longer cut that features backstage segments awkwardly cut in at all the wrong places to offer a not-so-special behind-the-scenes glimpse at the band. The performance itself is filmed with high-quality cameras, and the crew sets up some impressive visuals that involve confetti drops and great stage lighting. The effort is somewhat undermined, however, by editing that is at times more erratic that necessary, coupled with terribly ugly split-screen jobs that look like they were done with a home video kit on the computer.
The extra material is the usual fare of the band’s tour shenanigans. These are unfortunately not as exciting for the viewer as the fun the band seems to be having in each scene. The highlight is two members of Protest and crew crossdressing for a metal awards show dance designed to be Brüno-caliber gay. And the liner art is an ugly wave of orange, yellow and black forming some kind of face.
Protest the Hero does nothing overtly terrible with Gallop Meets the Earth. It follows the standard formula for a band DVD release designed to bridge the gap between studio albums, packing in the content, but every piece of it screams mediocrity. And when the performance falls in that same category, the band has a problem on its hands. Gallop Meets the Earth is a disappointment.