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Greetings! My name is Matthew, and I love to listen to all types of metal. I'm a high school English teacher and aspiring writer. I also write reviews for the Metal Utopia webzine!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Project 86 - "Wait for the Siren" Review

Project 86 - Wait for the Siren
Team Black Recordings
Genre:  Rock

P86 Facebook

Andrew Schwab (vocals)
Andrew Welch (guitar)
Blake Martin (guitar)
Cody Driggers (bass)
Scott Davis (drums)

Project 86 has been around for almost 15 years, and as with most bands of this longevity, the current lineup is far from the original one.  However, vocalist Andrew Schwab has been a consistent cornerstone and has guided the band through stylistic changes over the years.  Their newest record – Wait for the Siren – both draws upon the band’s core sounds and adventures into new sonic territory.  More focus has been spent on song structure, melodies, and overall appeal than ever before.  It’s Project 86’s most mature record yet, and anyone who wrote the band off with their fairly average release Picket Fence Cartel should give the band another chance.
The level of guest musicianship on this record is fairly staggering.  The band brings in help from Bruce Fitzhugh (Living Sacrifice), Rocky Gray (Soul Embraced, Evanescence), Brian “Head” Welch (Korn, Love and Death), and Andrew Welch (Disciple), among others.  With a pedigree this elevated, it’s no wonder that the record is boosted in the right direction.  The guest musicians provide a level of variation that wouldn’t be completely possible with only the regular lineup. 
Wait for the Siren begins with the single Fall Goliath Fall, which is notable for its likable chorus and driving beat.  Bruce Fitzhugh roars his heart out on the song SOTS in the backing chorus, and it gives the record a hardcore sensibility that hasn’t been seen since Drawing Black Lines.  Schwab’s pipes have always been formidable, but his range and enthusiasm on ballads like Blood Moon and Ghosts of Easter Rising demonstrate a level of dedication to art that is commendable.  The multiple guitarists performing on the record (Welch, Martin, Lowry) peel off an assortment of everything ranging from calculated staccato riffs (Fall Goliath Fall) to driving rock melodies (Avalantia).  Wait for the Siren ends with the self-titled track, a variegated instrumental that says as much about the band’s overall sound as it does their song-writing.  Before this record, I don’t think that P86 would have considered such a track, but it fits well.
So is there anything to harp about?  The production, for having been self-funded and self-produced, is fairly good.  At times the bass could certainly be brought more to the forefront of the mixing, but other than that the elements of the record are unified with precision.   While there isn’t any one song that stands out as mediocre, the overall pacing of the songs somewhat lacks in what I would like to call the "P86 Oomph Factor" (well, at least I though that was clever).  The first two songs of Wait for the Siren have Project 86 starting off in medias res, but it would have helped the pace of the record if there were more anthemic, energy-driven songs, especially towards the end of the album.
Longtime fans of the band will love this record, and anyone who enjoys rock of any stripe will do good to check Wait for the Siren out.  Wait for the Siren is an enjoyable, mature record that will linger in the minds and hearts of rock fans for years to come.

Overall rating:  7.0 out of 10.0 (Excellent)
Musicianship:  7.5 out of 10.0 
Song structure:  7.0 out of 10.0
Album structure:  6.5 out of 10.0


How did I come up with my rating?  I rate the following categories:  musicianship, song structure, and album structure.  I then take an average of these three scores and come up with an overall rating.

1.0-2.9 (Poor:  musicianship is poor, song structures are haphazard, no directional flow)
3.0-4.9 (Good:  musicianship is sloppy, song structures are undeveloped, flow is hampered)
5.0-6.9 (Average:  musicianship is adequate, song structures are good, flow works most of the time)
7.0-8.9 (Excellent:  musicianship is very good, song structures are thought out, songs connect well)
9.0-9.9 (Superior:  musicianship is superb, song structures are varied, flow is almost flawless)

Note:  Ratings may be given in increments of 0.1 for a final score (rounded up) and 0.5 for individual category scores.  I will never give a rating of 10.0 because I do not believe that any one album can be "perfect," and the ratings at either end of the spectrum will be very few.

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