Christian Artists To Know:Project 86


Project 86
Genre: Rock
Styles: Nu-Metal, Hard Rock, Progressive
Location: Orange County, CA
Label: Tooth And Nail
Christian Label: Yes
Category: The Message whats this?

Lets get something straight from the beginning, Project 86 isn’t just a band. Project 86 is a force. From frontman Andrew Schwab’s menacing and powerful vocals to guitarist Randy Torres’s brutal and emotional musical landscapes, Project 86 have always been a band that redefined the box they were placed in. With every new chapter of the band, the listener never gets a new album, but a soundtrack to a new and frightening story from Andrew’s head space.  Making the heavy beautiful and the artistic interesting, Project 86 is one of the best band’s making music today.

In many ways, Project 86‘s longevity is many due to their ability to endure.  When the band’s first CD was released in 1998, the group was lumped in with the wave of Rage Against The Machine/Limp Bizkit rip-offs populating the Christian market. It was a strange landscape to debut in, because the the Christian music scene was changing and growing in strange ways. Ska was king in the Christian circles, but the mainstream market was focused on the darker, more aggressive sounds of nu-metal that were coming from Korn, Deftones, and Staind. Many bands that hit the Christian market at that time were “safe alternatives” to the nu-metal chart-toppers, but fizzled out quickly due to a lack of originality and conviction. It was during this time that members of a hardcore band called Innermeans hooked up with a prolific and dynamic lyricist named Andrew and created Project 86.

The band’ self-titled  debut was a step ahead of the pack. The mood of the CD was very dark, almost bordering on apocalyptic. The lyrics were more poetic than hip-hop, and the songs were ever evolving roller coasters of brutality and melody. Many listeners did not know what to make of it. Luckily for Project though, a small group of bands that were committed to creating intelligent and unique music for Christ embraced the band’s sound. A friendship between Swedish nu-metal band Blindside, California hardcore band No Innocent Victim, speed punk band Dogwood, and rap-metal pioneers Payable On Death and Project allowed the band to be encouraged to make the music they believed in.

In fact, here is a really old video of Project 86, featuring a very young Sonny Sandoval (of P.O.D.), playing their end of times masterpiece “Six Sirens”.

After building name for themselves with shows like that, Project 86 entered the studio in later 1999 to record their sophomore effort. The result was Drawing The Black Lines, an album that has not only defined the band’s sound for the majority of their career since, but  changed the way many of bands approached writing Christian music. The CD was immense, as much artistic as it was heavy. The songs ranged from the straight forward intense, to bitterly somber, to the unsympathetically dark.  Drawing The Black Lines was a wake up call in a scene that had become bogged down bad rip offs of popular mainstream bands. Project 86 proved in their 50 minute opus to the Christian struggle that you never had to sacrifice intelligence for faith.

Possibly one of the best songs they have ever written, “One Armed Man (Play On)”, was given its own music video, and the world was introduced to the new Project 86.

The years have gone by, and Project is still out their destroying stages and changing perceptions. It is important to note that when they hit the scene before the turn of the century, there were very few bands pushing the envelope like Project was. Many bands both in the Christian music scene and outside of it point to Project 86 as one of their main influences.  Their body of work continues to prove that they are massive talents, who are never scared to talk about their faith with Christ. Andrew has said from the beginning that they never wanted to be a “typical” ministry band. that they wanted to make relevant music to both believers and the un-saved. Several albums later, the band is still pumping all pistons, and we hope they never stop.

Here is the band playing an overseas festival, with their song “Evil (A Chorus Of Resistance)”

I cant tell you what a special place this band holds in my heart. They are THE band that made me realize that I shouldn’t be looking for Christian versions of mainstream music, but I should be seeking out great music created from the heart of believers. Drawing The Black Lines is a shinning example of how believers can create unique and interesting music, and in my opinion it is own of the best albums ever created. That is not say that the rest of the band’s work has been bland, Project continue to shake things up and surprise fans song after every new song.  The best part is that as I am writing this, the next chapter of Project 86 is being readied to be unleashed in 2009. This might be one you should hold your breath for.

You can buy Project 86‘s music digitally on Project 86 and Amazon MP3

You can also get their CDs on Amazon:
Project 86
Drawing Black Lines
Truthless Heroes
Songs to Burn Your Bridges By
And the Rest Will Follow
Rival Factions
The Kane Mutiny EP and This Time Of The Year EP are both digital only

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