The band formed in 2001 when all the members were 13 years old and were originally named Happy Go Lucky. They later changed their name in 2002 to Protest the Hero, as a reference to Canadian rock band Hail the Villain, and released their Search for the Truth EP which got them recognised in the Canadian underground hardcore scene. The next year saw the release of their A Calculated Use of Sound EP.
In 2004 they release their debut album Kezia which marked a large shift in their style and tone. Instead of the aggressive hardcore punk they had been known for, Kezia was a Progressive Metal Concept Album which told the tale of a young girl facing execution for an unknown crime. Throughout the album the events are described by three characters, the prison priest, the prison guard and Kezia herself.
2008 saw the release of their sophomore effort, Fortress, which once again was a further move into Progressive Metal and also a Concept Album around the idea of the loss of goddess worship and gradual move towards organised religion.
Scurrilous, released in 2011, saw another shift in style from Progressive Metal Concept Album to a more Hard Rock sound. A large contributor to this shift was that for this album the lyrics were co-written by lead vocalist Rody Walker and bassist Arif Mirabdolbaghi, who had penned all the lyricism for the previous albums. Reception to this album was rather divided.
In 2013 the band were dropped from their label and drummer Moe Carlson decided to leave the band to pursue an education. They launched a successful Indie Go Go campaign and, along with help from Chris Adler on Drums, they managed to release their latest album Volition. Continuing on from the style they had developed on Scurrilous, Volition was lyrically written by Rody alone and deals with a lot of his own personal beliefs towards politics, religion, the music industry and the future of the band itself.
Another departure occurred in 2014 when bassist Arif Mirabdolbaghi decided to focus on other projects and was replaced by touring bassist Cam McLellan
To date, they have released 4 albums, 3 EP's and 1 live album.
- Rody Walker - vocals (2001-present)
- Luke Hoskin - lead guitar, backing vocals, piano (2001-present)
- Tim Millar - rhythm guitar, backing vocals, piano (2001-present)
- Moe Carlson drums (20012013)
- Arif Mirabdolbaghi - bass (2001-2014)
- Cam McLellan - bass (2014-2017)
- Mike Ieradi - drums (2013-2022)
- Search for the Truth (EP) (2002)
- A Calculated Use of Sound (EP) (2003)
- Kezia (2005)
- Fortress (2008)
- Gallop Meets the Earth (Live Recording) (2009)
- Scurrilous (2011)
- The Best of Protest the Hero (Compilation) (2013)
- Volition (2013)
- Pacific Myth (2016) (EP)
- Palimpsest (2020)
A thousand fathers killed, a thousand virgin daughters bled, with swords still wet with the tropes of their dead!:
- Alien Invasion: Both averted and subverted in "Sequoia Throne". "They're not the ones who cause us harm - we are!" Then later; "They bloviate about a future beyond the moon, to bring about another planet's doom, to find some other peaceful life, and beat a war-drum to its tune. Unless my prayers are answered, our end is coming soon."
- Concept Album: Kezia, Fortress, and Palimpsest. Pacific Myth itself was not a full-fledged concept EP, but had a loose overarching theme of the ocean as a metaphor for their decision to take a risk and go unsigned rather than continue to deal with labels that had caused them nothing but headaches.
- Downer Ending: Kezia is about a woman going facing execution for an unmentioned crime. Guess how it ends.
- Eagleland: Palimpsest is mostly a Type 2, along with Horrible History Metal, as it is a view of the United States from a critical lens and particularly its many historical black marks and the less glamorous side of numerous events that the US played a major role in.
- Early-Installment Weirdness: Their early demos and EPs were post-hardcore that was highly typical of the Ontario scene at the time (being comparable to Alexisonfire and Billy Talent), and while Kezia was most certainly a Trope Codifier for their more famous style, it also had far more prominent post-hardcore and pop-punk elements than their releases from Fortress onward.
- Epic Rocking: A fair amount of this. Their longest song is probably "Caravan" from Pacific Myth, which is 8:40 long.
- Genre Mashup: A blend of melodic metalcore, Progressive Metal, Pop Punk, Power Metal, and Technical Death Metal.
- Genre Shift: From Punk Rock to Progressive Metal and finally to experimental metal.
- Home Porn Movie: "Sex Tapes"
- Humans Are the Real Monsters: The album Fortress is about peaceful pagans being massacred by Christian missionaries. One song that particularly stands out is "Sequoia Throne".
- On the flip side, you also have "Bloodmeat", from the same album, which is about the hordes of Genghis Khan slaughtering Christians.
- Large Ham: Rody has a habit of hamming it up in videos.
- Long-Runner Line-up: Type 1, prior to Scurrilous.
- Loudness War: Played straight on the whole, but the remaster of Kezia is actually quieter than the original, which is fairly unusual for this trope these days.
- New Sound Album: There's a massive change between their EP and Kezia (which isn't surprising considering they were teenagers when they started), and almost a big a change between Kezia and Fortress. From Fortress to Scurrilous, their sound changes completely and Volition continues in the same vein.
- Rape, Pillage, and Burn: "Bloodmeat".
- Religion Rant Song: Many tracks on both Kezia and Fortress contain anti-religious themes, especially the first three tracks of the former. "Tilting Against Windmills" from Volition is clearly against Christianity and God.
- Spiritual Successor: To SikTh.
- Take That!: Pacific Myth was effectively one giant one of these towards Vagrant Records and Razor and Tie, using the ocean as a metaphor for both the amount of problems that they had with labels and their decision to risk their career as an unsigned band rather than continue to fight with them at every turn.
- Title Drop: Many times.
- In "The Dissentience" on the album Fortress: Bloooodmeeeat! (ironically in the previous song, "Bloodmeat", they never say this.)
- In "The Divine Suicide of K." on Kezia: Blindfold Aside, I'll probably still close my eyes."
- "Divinity Within" also name drops itself a couple of times.