This is a lean, mean release that is all about memorable songwriting and contemplative lyricism. Whether you are a die-hard fan of Project 86, are casually acquainted, or are oblivious to one of the best-kept secrets in heavy music, Sheep Among Wolves is a record that will keep you listening, and most importantly, re-listening. Every song--and specifically, every chorus--is urgent, connective, and reactive. Is Project 86 post-hardcore? Metal? Rock? It doesn't matter, because the band knows that at the end of the day it is only the songs that matter. And these songs really do matter.
"We would like to think we have always had our own sound. We don't exactly fit with anything else out there because we have never tried to... we just want to write songs that heavy music fans can turn up loud and scream along to at our shows," Schwab states.
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A 20th Anniversary Gift That Delivers| Posted December 11, 2017
For two decades, Project 86 has been an industry leader in the alternative rock genre. Their 10th studio record, Sheep Among Wolves, has been highly anticipated by P86 fans after a successful PledgeMusic campaign provided contributors the opportunity to hear the record in progress before it was mastered and polished.
The band promised a genre-defying 20th anniversary follow-up to their first two independent fan-funded releases, Wait for the Siren and Knives to the Future. Sheep Among Wolves delivers, featuring the intensity and musical depth that has defined Project 86 and ending 2017 on a high note for rock listeners.
The album starts off heavy and raucous with borderline metalcore tracks "Mhs," "Dead Man's Switch" and "Imaginary Me," featuring Darren King laying down thick guitars with ominous and mysterious but tight chord progressions while driving and heavy rock grooves provided by drummer Ryan Wood hold these tunes together nicely. All of it is blended perfectly with passionate and familiar vocals from frontman Andrew Schwab, serving to get your heart racing as this record takes flight.
The opening set is followed by what may be the best track on the entire record. "Freebooter" is a well-balanced hard rock song that slows the tempo down slightly, starting with softer verses and crescendoing into a chorus that will have you singing along.
The title track, "Sheep Among Wolves," is a rock anthem with the theme of the track tying the message of the full project together. You can read a recent interview with NRT's Associate Editor Mary Nikkel to hear more from Andrew Schwab about the concept of trying to differentiate between the "sheep" and the "wolves" around us.
The album lyrically and musically takes listeners on an emotional journey from an intense start to melancholy hard rock to an eerie, mysteriously victorious feeling in the end. Project 86 explores deep topics of living in faith while navigating the terrain of evil, allowing listeners the freedom to interpret the meaning of each song for themselves.
The Bottom Line: Project 86 delivers a 20th anniversary celebration in time for the holiday gift-giving season that is sure to please a supportive fanbase while earning new listeners along the way. Sheep Among Wolves is a good mix of songs from the full spectrum of hard rock sounds that have defined Project 86 over the last two decades.
For Fans Of: Disciple, War of Ages, Decyfer Down
Songs to Download Now:
"Freebooter" (Get it on iTunes here.)