Classic Album: Project 86 – Truthless Heroes

Truthless Heroes had the misfortune of being the follow up to Project 86’s beloved Drawing Black Lines. It also was Project’s one and only album on Atlantic records. Where Drawing Black Lines was raw and aggressive from start to finish, Truthless Heroes was melodic and seemed subdued. An drew has admitted his desire was to get heavier but the major label push kept that from happening. It’s not that Truthless Heroes was a terrible record, it just wasn’t Drawing Black Lines.

Truthless Heroes starts off strong. Little Green Men channels some of the aggression from Drawing Black Lines and has a similar feel to the Spy Hunter demo. Caught In The Middle catches you off guard, as the song features a lot of Randy Torres on vocals. Andrew’s trademark yeel/chant/scream is replaced with traditional singing. A Word From Our Sponsors is the first of 4 radio type spots on the album that helps draw the concept of the album together. S.M.C. is another great Project 86 song. It has the anthemic feel a lot of the songs from Drawing Black Lines had. Team Black is a cross between being heavy and melodic. The hook to the song is catchy and heavy but the verse is so monotone and dry that it brings that song down. Your Heroes Are Dead is clearly a song meant for radio glory but it’s a showcase of how good Project 86 is and how well they can write songs.

Another Boredom Movement is a song that has a straight Drawing Black Lines feel. The production is cleaner and more polished and not as loud but the song itself sounds like it was written when Drawing Black Lines was. Bottom Feeder is weird slow song. It’s not really a ballad but I guess you would call it the ballad of the record. Shelter Me is another song that seems tailor made for the radio. It’s big catchy sung chorus has all the making of a big hit. The problem with Shelter Me is that it features so little of Andrew Schwab on vocals. Last Meal is a weird song but a great one. The hook has a great grooving guitar riff and the vocals of Mark Salomon make this song great. Soma is more of an actual ballad. It’s not terrible, but by the time you get to Soma the song structure has become so monotonous that you’re uninterested.

Hollow Again is the album’s last true song. It was the first radio single. It’s a pretty good song. It’s got a catchy hook and by comparison of what rock radio was offering at the time, Hollow Again would’ve been an improvement.

But Hollow Again was never a big hit. Truthless Heroes had turned off a lot of Project 86 fans. Project could never reach the level of P.O.D. or even Blindside. Truthless Heroes was lost on mainstream rock and roll America and Project 86 fans were disappointed. After one album Atlantic dropped Project 86. Truthless Heroes isn’t Project 86’s greatest album. But I feel like that album is panned more then it should. There are shinning moments on the album and looking back, it’s not nearly as bad as it seemed when it was released.

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