I know what you’re thinking, “Project 86 at number two?” Ah, yes, Project 86 is number two and they most certainly belong here. Out of all the bands on this list, I believe Project 86’s life as a band would probably make the best band biopic. Loads of controversy seeming tame by today’s standards: check. Dramatic screw you to the big wig record company: check. The in and out of a number of band members: check. Rise back to relevance: check. How could this not make a good movie?
One of the youngest bands on this list, Project 86 came to prominence with their album, Drawing Black Lines, in 2000. Atlantic gained interest and signed them to a multi-album deal. However, Truthless Heroes, sounded quite different than its predecessor and couple that with controversy surrounding the album and less than expected album sales, Atlantic dropped the band. I came into the Project 86 fold during this era of the band and I literally destroyed Truthless Heroes by listening to the album too much. Their story wasn’t over, however, and Project 86 made a comeback independently and on Tooth & Nail with multiple successful follow ups.
One of the reasons Project 86 is so high on the list is that they march to beat of their own drummer. Many of the albums have different musical vibes; but, they all seem to retain what I would call the Project 86 sound. Drawing Black Lines is very much a Nu-metal album and Rival Factions has a New Wave/Goth rock sound, but each of these albums sounds distinctly Project 86. Also, Andrew Schwab, the front man, might be the greatest song writer in Christian rock if not rock music in general. He has a mastery of metaphor and analogy with a certain subtlety to his writing. What’s amazing to me is that even with all the tricks of the English language he uses, one can always understand what exactly he’s talking about.
Another point I would like to make is that you don’t become number two on this list without being influential and many bands have named Project 86 as a huge influence in their music. A big influence on me, personally, would be their former bassist, Steven Dail, mentioned before in the Brothers Martin entry. Project 86 is a very bass heavy band and his playing just always seems to be the right groove at the right time.
Favorite songs: Hollow Again, Molotov, Me Against Me, and Spy Hunter