Way before a teen soap made it the abode of the rich and beautiful, Orange County, California gave us Project 86 – a band who have been plying their trade in melodic hard rock for the best part of 10 years.
Although not as anthemic in its approach as previous outings such as Truthless Heroes, which sprang out of solid “alt rock radio” soil, …And the Rest Will Follow does contain plenty of sing-along moments (e.g. Doomsday Stomp) that will keep their faithful followers contented.
Necktie Remedy harks back to the heavier Drawing Black Lines days, and highlights the band’s unashamedly raw, bass-heavy mix that has always added punch and vigour to even the weakest of songs.
It would appear that the “old school” sound is no coincidence with GGGarth Richardson (Rage Against The Machine, Chevelle, Atreyu) returning to the helm of knob-twiddling for the first time since Project 86’s sophomore release. Having never bettered Drawing Black Lines – Project 86’s breakthrough album in terms of heaviness and sales – the idea of “returning” is one that runs consistently throughout.
If there is a single song that defines a band, earns them respect, and ends up catapulting them into the stratosphere of success, My Will Be A Dead Man is Project 86’s best hope in years. Fusing grinding, rumbling bass tones and gritty lead guitar beneath Andrew Schwab’s brooding whispers and harmonic roars, you will stuggle to find a better effort in the rest of the OC quartet’s back catalogue.
However, it does appear that with this release Project 86 are intent on keeping everyone on their toes. So, From December enters as a mellow Ill Nino-tinted ballad that manages to steal some of the best elements of Linkin Park‘s latter efforts without being constructed of purely pirated material.
Meanwhile, following the high-pitched sonic frequencies that form the tail end of The Hand, The Furnace, The Straight Face and the title track is a truly schizophrenic number: solo, haunting piano much in the mood of an Evanescence ballad lasts for all of, ooh 2 bars before a barrage of punk-fuelled madness crashes in to rudely awaken any dormant nu-metal fans.
Closer Wordsmith Legacy is one of the darkest insights on show here, with discordant scrapes and multi-layered distorted vocals, and it’s a shame that such a well-structured number is tagged on to the tail-end of an album of ultimately incongruous songs.
Project 86’s unique selling point is that in a world where the last thing we need are any more repetitive rock bands, they have resisted “fashion sounds” over the last decade, stuck to their guns, and carved out their own signature sound in the process.
…And the Rest Will Follow at times strays too far from this well forged track, presumably in a quest to prevent stagnation. However, as multi-million selling acts such as the aforementioned Linkin Park have shown – if your formula works, sometimes it’s best to stick to it.