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JFH Music Review

Project 86, 15. Live

Project 86
15. Live

Artist Info: Discography
Album length: 12 tracks
Street Date: December 14, 2010

Project 86 is a band made for live shows. The energy and fists-in-the-air passion of their music begs to be enjoyed live and in person. Fortunately, for those of us who have never seen a Project live show, we can now enjoy the band's new live album, 15. Live.

Made in honor of the band's 15-year-anniversary, 15 is one continuous live show covering most of the band's musical high points. The tracks performed are picked fairly evenly from the various albums, with the exception of there being no tracks from their self-titled debut. There is also only one selection from ...And The Rest Will Follow, the appropriate opener "Sincerely, Ichabod." Songs To Burn Your Bridges By is the most represented album, with "Safe Haven," "Oblivion," and the must-include "Spy Hunter." Listeners will also be delighted to hear Drawing Black Lines classics "Me Against Me" and "Stein's Theme."

It's always disappointing to discover that an otherwise great band can't perform well live, and fortunately Project 86 does not have that problem. Andrew Schwab's vocals are naturally somewhat harsher than what you would hear on their studio albums, but in general he does an excellent job. Similarly, the instrumentation and arrangements on each track follow pretty closely to the studio versions. Unfortunately, it seems that the crowd they recorded for was pretty small, and not very loud. Schwab does an admirable job trying to pump up the crowd, but if there was any significant response, it wasn't picked up in the recording. It's a small thing, but it does detract some from the overall energy that one expects from a live album.

This is a solid, enjoyable live album. It doesn't add anything extra to the music, but it does showcase the band's ability to perform live shows at the top of their game and provides a nice summary of Project 86 history up to this point. If anything, this is a great motivation to get out to a Project show and hopefully add to the crowd noise!

- Review date: 12/21/10, written by Timothy Estabrooks of

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JFH Staff's Second Opinion

Fifteen years for any hard rock band to maintain a successful run with a core, diehard fanbase is pretty impressive. Project 86 has had quite a few ups and downs over the years - from being burned by Atlantic Records in an effort to go mainstream to returning to their home label of Tooth & Nail Records where they were given their start. And despite many member changes over the years (whether it be live or in the studio), the spirit of Project 86 has remained intact - something that they capture well on their first live album, a commemorative effort titled 15. Live. The track list includes a dozen songs, recorded during their summer 2010 touring, spanning their albums since 2000. The production is clean and crisp and the crowd is given just enough presence on the recording to maintain that live feel without overpowering the music or becoming intrustive. Vocalist Andrew Schwab's signature leads take center stage as he brings a different feel to some of the tracks (especially the opener "Sincerely, Ichabod") while recreating almost exactly what can be heard on the songs' studio renditions, like with "Illuminate." Each song works well on its own as a live recording with the chatter kept to a minimum which will keep the songs fresh for replaying. The song selection is a nice mix of fan favorites and even a couple infrequently played songs, like "SMC" or "The Butcher." I can't help but wish this album was created a couple years ago, however, as the band's longtime studio members Randy Torres and Steven Dail haven't toured with the band for awhile. While the casual ear won't notice their absence on this recording, it's tracks like "Last Meal" where Schwab sings a melody that Randy normally provides where it becomes more evident. Still, Schwab has always surrounded himself with strong players and it's clear after listening to 15. Live that this hasn't changed. Fans of Project 86 won't want to miss this nod to their faithful supporters and anyone who enjoys live hard rock would do well to check out 15. Live. - John DiBiase, 12/12/10


. Record Label: None
. Album length: 12 tracks
. Street Date: December 14, 2010
. Buy It:
. Buy It: iTunes
. Buy It:

  1. Sincerely, Ichabod (4:31)
  2. Safe Haven (3:29)
  3. Oblivion (4:09)
  4. The Butcher (3:03)
  5. Last Meal (3:50)
  6. Me Against Me (3:34)
  7. SMC (3:03)
  8. Illuminate (3:02)
  9. Evil (3:05)
  10. Destroyer (4:51)
  11. Stein's Theme (4:15)
  12. The Spy Hunter (4:20)



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