www.project86.com

Review: Project 86 – “Knives to the Future”

This Novemeber saw the release of Project 86’s impressive new album, Knives to the Future.

As an active band for about 18 years, P86 has built up a wildly loyal fan base and Knives is their second album made possible by crowd funding. This wildly successful Indiegogo campaign  brought in almost $90,000!  Supporters of the campaign were treated to many perks ranging from Skype chats to hoodies, to studio visits.P86 logo

Knives To The Future is a masterfully done album. Andrew Schwab will forever be one of hard rock’s lyrical and vocal greats.

Musically, this record brings the total P86 vibe in the way the songs are structured, that guitar tone, and of course, Schwab’s vocal performance kills. Knives shows the signature hard rock aggression of Project 86 honed to perfection.

Knives to the Future tells a narrative that picks up right where their previous album, Wait for the Siren, left off. The band’s website explains: “While WFTS explores the motivation to fight and give your life for truth, Knives takes a look at the moments after the battle. More specifically, this album looks at one soldier who has just emerged from unconsciousness and finds himself on a frozen, haunted battlefield. Souls part with bodies all around him, and he has no recollection of his past, who he is, or whether he is alive or dead. All he knows is that he sees a light up ahead atop a mountain, and he must run to it to find answers. The album follows him through apocalyptic landscapes and vivid memories as he searches for the truth about who he is and his destiny.”

The intro track feels very cinematic and opens the record with footsteps crunching through snow. The ripping first song, “Spirit of Shiloh” sets the story in motion with the soldier awakening and beginning his journey.

Schwab is known for his incredible lyrics, using rich metaphor and poetry to ruminate on. I don’t want to take anything away from your  experience by revealing too much lyrically, but  I must mention a song that really struck me.

I thought “Genosha” might be my favourite track, until I came upon “Valley of Cannons”. It begins with speed, and the guitar work is catchy.  The story in this song is incredibly powerful. The soldiers are captured and “offered the greatest test,” in which he willingly accepts death (“this momentary pain”) rather than renounce his “crusade.” A remarkable song, that left the line “to the moonlight we proclaim, our death is not in vain” ringing through my head.

This album has gang vocals a-plenty, bringing much force to many of the songs. P86 knows how to use Schwab’s voice, gangs, and always busts out those memorable choruses, to  leave you with certain lines resonating long after.

There are some really cool things going on musically, including the use of cello that pops up here and there, on songs like “Son of Flame,” “Genosha,” and the standout track, “Oculus.” We have seen P86 get a little experimental before, but “Oculus” is an epic. I love the direction they’re going with this song that involves some electronics, cello, and piano into their rock. (If you’re digging the electronic vibe in that song, check out Schwab’s side project London Six Echo.)

Project 86’s Knives to the Future guides the listener on a truly engaging journey – one that you will want to make again and again!

Knives to the Future is an outstanding album. It shows another step in the development of the Project 86 sound as the band continues to impress.

Visit Project 86 on Facebook, at project86.com, or pick up the album on iTunes.

Here is the video for the title track:

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