In times of crisis, we learn who we are. Over the course of the last two years, Projected learned they still had more to say as a band. A hard rock supergroup composed of John Connolly and Vinnie Hornsby of Sevendust, Scott Philipps of Alter Bridge (formerly of Creed), and Eric Friedman of Tremonti, the periodic quartet have dropped a new album every five years since 2012’s ‘Human.’ Making 2022 the time to drop their third installment, ‘Hypoxia.’ An album that sees Projected sounding at their most cohesive and purposeful thus far.
Lyrically, ‘Hypoxia’ tackles its subject matter from multiple angles, leveraging multiple tracks to this end. If its title track explores the negative side of the pandemic, the fear, frustrations, and uncertainty of a period where all it took to unravel one’s serenity was the daily news, “Stain” tries to find hope in that same space. More uplifting in its delivery while still retaining those rougher edges: these juxtaposed perspectives make for a truly stimulating listening experience. Choosing to personalize the experience of the last two years as opposed to simply commenting on it, Projected succeed and thrive in the result. As does producer Elvis Baskette, whose experience lends itself to these new pastures for the band.
Even so, ‘Hypoxia’ is by no means a Covid-centered concept record, often exploring other themes more personal to the individuals. But if there are payoffs to be found in how Projected rolls the dice lyrically, and musically the album does little by way of offering anything to match this. Tracks such as the brooding “Death Is Mostly Permanent,” set back to back with the visceral album closer “At Your Window” might make for a roaring finale, though musically they do little more than tread old ground. While Connolly may be best known for his guitar work, when it comes to Projected it is his vocals that are at the helm. Operating comfortably at the husky end of cleaner tones. Heard on the albums leading single and title track, “Hypoxia.” An offering that sounds as if Connolly and the band found the sweet spot between the blended, graveled vocals of Seether and the stuttered, nu-metal polarity within Adema’s riffing structure.
For a project that started as a way to explore more musical avenues without restraints, limitations, or even expectations, ‘Hypoxia’ finds Projected sounding bigger than ever, even if, musically, much of it sounds familiar. No, it is not on the cusp of breaking any new ground for the genre, but it breaks some new and interesting ground for Projected. Four hard rock superstars who, now more than ever, sound less like a serendipitous supergroup and more like a band perched on the precipice of truly coming into their own.