Orange County, California’s own Project 86 is back with their 11th and final (sort of) studio album Omni, Pt. 1. The project is the first part of a double album that will be completed by part two in the fall. However, after that is released, the band has decided to call it quits after 27 years of existence. How did the first part of their farewell to music fare? Extremely well.
Project 86 has always loved to push musical boundaries, but on Omni, Pt. 1, they take that to new extremes. On songs like “Skinjob”, and “Metatropolis”, the band deals with very familiar metalcore/post-hardcore/djent territory. The Sikth-esque pre-chorus and dive-bombing guitars in “Skinjob” and the growling guitars during “Metatropolis” show that this band still knows how to push boundaries in the heavier end of their sound.
“Virtual Signal” and “When the Belfry Speaks” shows the group slowing their sound down a bit and venturing more into stoner metal territory. The guitars drone on and the vocal stylings are more similar to that of Mastodon. The band even toys with a bit of a lo-fi goth rock sound on “Tartarus Kiss”.
However, I believe the highlight of this album to be “Spoon Walker”. This penultimate track of the album is the longest on the record and covers a lot of ground in their metal sound. The guitars feature chugs and panic chords akin to Dillinger Escape Plan, the drums are all over the place wild, and the vocals are visceral and feral. And after the quiet, spoken-word bridge, get ready because the journey hadn’t even begun yet. The guitars get heavier and the song gets slower. After a thorough butt-kicking, the band gives some reprieve with an extended outro of guitar feedback.
There is no doubt that Project 86 still have a lot to say before they call it a career. Omni, Pt. 1 is a fantastic opening to their final chapter as a band. They push the boundaries more than they ever have and they are able to pull off every style extremely well. Omni, Pt. 2 is due out in the fall and if it’s anything like the first part, we are all in for a treat.
“When the Belfry Speaks”