Tooth & Nail isn't a label renowned for heavy music. Project 86 will make it plenty apparent why that's the case. Yeah, it's heavy, but more in the nü-metal sense than in the metal or hardcore sense, and in 2006, where nü-metal is essentially dead, to see somebody carrying that sound on is a problem.
It's the singer that brings the sounds of 1997 to life more than anyone else, as both this sung and screamed vocals sound like they'd fit a band who tours with Godsmack and Disturbed. The vocals stay pretty strong throughout the album's duration, but they sound so metallic and produced that it's not even truly possible to enjoy them. If the singer has a decent voice, which appears to be the case, why not let him record without any sort of effects? But that's not the route that was taken, and the result is a much more watered down sounding record than what could have been.
The band's song dynamics are another area in which they are in sore need of help. It's rare that the verse-chorus-verse formula is strayed away from, even in a slight manner, and it only further hurts the band, because they seem to have a lot of trouble writing good hooks. The only thing really left in the open in each song is how the vocals will sound. The contrast between the heavier vocals and regular singing is distinctive enough, albeit still boring, but it does show that they're at least attempting to keep each song on the album from having one uniform sound.
"My Will Be a Dead Man" starts out with some aggressive vocals and heavily distorted guitars, but there's long pauses in between riffs during the verses, and this tactic fails because of the lack of the bands wanting to keep the vocals varied during that section. All of this leads up to the big angsty chorus, in which the same line of "I will, I will, be the dead man" is repeated until it's drilled so firmly into you're head that you can no longer think straight. "Cavity King" is where the band could have done something a little better, as the riffs are pretty versatile, and the song structure is free of holes, but during the aggressive screamed vocals, the underlying singing really kills the feeling of aggression. Just another one of the many instances where decent ideas are shot to all hell by incredibly poor execution.
Project 86 are playing a style of music that should be as dead as disco, but is unfortunately living on. Sorry to break it to you guys, but you don't see people in Godsmack shirts anymore for a reason.
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