Artist Of The Week - Anchor & Braille

It's been about three years since we've gotten an album from Anchor & Braille, the indie side project of Anberlin's Stephen Christian, but this week, on July 31st, the band's sophomore album will be released. The Quiet Life is a collection of haunting melodies and catchy percussion, certainly a maturation of sound since 2009's Felt. The Quiet Life is available now in stores and online through Tooth & Nail Records.


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Artist: Project 86
Album: Wait for the Siren
Release Date: August 21, 2012
Label: Independent

After three years, and the departure of every member except lead vocalist and creator Andrew Schwab, Project 86 have come back with their first truly independent album, and their seventh album overall Wait for the Siren. To help make the new album a possibility Andrew enlisted the help of an all-star cast of friends including Bruce Fitzhugh (Living Sacrifice), Rocky Gray (Soul Embraced), Brian "Head" Welch (Love & Death), Blake Martin (A Plea for Purging), and The Wedding. Andrew said with this album he was able to take the reins of the creative process and make an album that he was really passionate about.

Project 86 has never been a band to pigeonhole themselves into one genre and this album shows even further branching of the musical wings. The album starts out with three kicking, hard-hitting rock anthems in "Fall, Goliath, Fall", "SOTS", and "Omerta's Sons". From the opening military-esque drums and wicked awesome guitar riff you know "Fall, Goliath, Fall" is going to be an instant fan favorite and a huge song, and then the drums kick in and the song jumps to a whole different level. Everything about the song gets your blood-pumping and your body moving. The energy stays at an eleven when "SOTS" kicks in with a deep growl from Andrew, and then comes the chorus and Bruce Fitzhugh and Andrew scream together it is scary good. The next song "Omerta's Sons" keeps up the hard rock style that many fans of P86 have come to love. "Off the Grid" takes on this really cool groove based sound throughout the verses and kicks in during the choruses. The high octane tunes keep rolling on until there is a curveball in the form of "Blood Moon" which takes on a much slower, and kind of hauntingly deep sound with the music never overpowering the super passionate and emotional vocals of the track. The song that sticks out to me musically is hand's down "Ghosts of the Easter Rising" there are some really weird instrumentals going on throughout the song, the song takes on a life of something you'd hear overseas and never expect from a hard rock band from Orange County, California but that's what makes the song so good. The album goes out with a bang with some amazingly driving drums and instruments that I don't know the names of, but it is so powerful even if you can't understand the words, and it builds up to...nothing! The song sounds like it's all about to come crashing down on you, and then it just ends, which I personally awesome.

Andrew's signature vocal styles are evident on every song. Clearly, when you hear his voice you know you've got a Project 86 album in your hands. His vocals are as strong as ever, and with the guest vocals it seems that the intensity of his screams have taken on a new life and gotten fiercer. There is a common theme throughout the album of good vs. evil as in the songs "Fall, Goliath, Fall" and "SOTS" which pretty clearly are about the battle of David and Goliath. Whereas many of the songs have to do with a more intrinsic and personal battle, as in people battling with themselves whilst trying to live their lives. One of my favorite lyrics comes from the song "Omerta's Sons" in which Andrew says "If we were brothers in cowardice/Are we enemies in bravery?" I don't know what it is about those lines but they just sent chills down my spine. Hopefully the hard rock fans don't skip over what may be the strongest and most worshipful song on the album, "Blood Moon" the chorus speaks of one's desires for Heaven and their longing for the love of the Lord; "Who will catch you if the engines fail?/Who will protect you if the trains derail?/Who will revive you if your oxygen ceases?/Who will provide you with a new heartbeat?" Just read those words, that is what having completely faith in God is all about. No matter what can go wrong, he will be there to catch you, to revive you, and to give you a new heartbeat if that's what's needed.

Overall: Andrew Schwab and friends have put out one of the band's strongest albums in a long time. There's not much to dislike about this album. For me Rival Factions and Picket Fence Cartel took a little bit of time for me to get into them, with Wait for the Siren I am instantly hooked, and find myself repeating the album multiple times a day, and each time the album gets better and better in every sense. There's something new I discover that I didn't notice before and that's what makes this a great and exciting album. With the creative freedom of basically being a one-man band and having no label looking over everything Andrew was finally able to throw the book out the window and just get as far out there as he wanted and it pays off instantly! Musically, Wait for the Siren may be the most diverse album Project 86 has released, but I'd also venture to say it may one of the best/strongest as well. Vocally, you know what you're going to get with Andrew but that doesn't change the fact that his vocals are spot on and completely convey the passion he experienced whilst making this album. Lyrically, Andrew continues the amazingly worshipful lyrics that made a huge comeback on Picket Fence Cartel. When it is all said and done Wait for the Siren will go down as one of the, if not the best Project 86 albums and should go down as the band's signature album. This is the album, Andrew has always wanted to make. Now with a live band behind him, Project 86 is hitting the road and I myself am excited to see/hear these new songs live.

Rating: 9 /10

Recommended Tracks: "Fall, Goliath, Fall", "SOTS", "Ghosts of the Easter Rising", and "Blood Moon".

Reviewed by: Michael Small

1. Fall, Goliath, Fall
2. SOTS (featuring Bruce Fitzhugh of Living Sacrifice)
3. Omerta's Sons
4. Off the Grid
5. New Transmissions
6. Defector
7. The Crossfire Gambit
8. Blood Moon
9. Above the Desert Sea
10. Ghost of the Easter Rising
11. Avalantia
12. Take the Hill
13. Wait for the Siren

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