If there was one word to describe Project 86 it would be this one. The band has built its reputation on it over the span of their thirteen-year career. From their intensity to their thought-provoking lyricism, anyone who knows Project knows the force that they bring. But on their latest release Picket Fence Cartel they are exploring power from a new perspective--not only through heavy sounds but through asking powerful questions to the listener.
“This is an intense record for us musically, which is the perfect vehicle for the ideas we are trying to present,” Explains frontman Andrew Schwab. “Picket Fence Cartel is a picture of irony--of an entity with a shiny exterior with a corrupt core. This album is about how power corrupts even the most pure hearts. This is especially true in the area of fame. Yet, so much of our culture is based upon attempts to gain it--from the self promotion of social networks to reality TV to the music industry itself. We are a society based on this obsession. But in the end we are the ones controlled and owned by the very things that we treasure. Our souls hang in the balance, and Picket Fence Cartel asks one simple question: Who do you belong to?”
It is not up for debate as to whether or not Project has proven to be a ray of light in an world of darkness in more ways than one. This latest release flexes their mastery of the full gamut of accolades. Diverse songwriting? Check. Intense emotion? Check. Potent, poignant, poetic lyrics? Check. Fresh sounds musically? Check.
It requires only a matter of seconds before you feel the emotion of Picket Fence Cartel seeping through your speakers. The crescendoe of the album opener, “Destroyer” draws you in with anticipation as a choir of voices bellow like creepy catholic monks: Ready yourself for the end. An epic, soundtrack-worthy riff ensues, ushering in the sounds of apocalyptic fury. Track after track of P86 doing what they do best follows; they pummel you into submission and provoke you into response with an album full of non-abum tracks.
“We have never believed in putting out records with one or two good songs,” explains songwriter/bassist Steven Dail. “Even though the industry is driven by iTunes singles, we still believe in the album as a viable whole. The problem today is not that consumers don’t buy records, it’s that artists don’t write whole records. We try our best to go against that.”
If one had to choose high points, it would have to include track four, “Dark Angel Dragnet” along with track seven, “A John Hancock with the Safety Off.” Both travel dynamic roads as they evolve toward their destinations, with honest emotion at their core. Fans of the band’s heavier side will delight in tracks like “Cold and Calculated.” And the album closer “To Sand We Return” is nothing short of epic as vocalist Andrew Schwab bears all when he proclaims, Who do I belong to? Not Earth. Not world. Not evil. Not mortals. Not Wretches. Not horrors. Who Do I belong to? Unchanging. Unbreaking. Unfailing. Creator. Immortal. Eternal.
Project 86 is a band that has mastered the art of reinvention without deserting their foundation--which is why the band has remained so viable for so long. In fact one could argue that they have become the blueprint for bands seeking longevity in an industry that is anything but stable. After 13 years together, and over 350,000 career albums sold they still show no holes in their armor...
The band will be joining the Scream The Prayer tour 2009 this summer, with friends Haste The Day, The Chariot, Oh Sleeper, and many more. Armed with one of the most vicious live shows around--and few can compare to Project 86 live--this next season promises to be more than memorable for the band that just won’t die.
In a world where perception is reality and reality isn't always what it seems, seeking truth is vital to discover what lies beneath the surface. Many in our culture who seek something authentic find disillusionment and corruption--from financial let-downs, to the abuse of power, to rejected Facebook friend requests. And yet, hope can be found in the most unlikely of packages. Project 86 reminds all with Picket Fence Cartel that it can be found by walking by faith, not by sight, in the world of false fronts in which we live...
Everyone bows to something. Everyone answers to someone. Wherever your treasure lies, there your heart will be also.
Who do you belong to?