Still not for the tame of heart, Rival Factions is more melodic and approachable than Project 86 of the past. Alongside the music’s aggression, the unfamiliar were sometimes put off by the intense images of the lyrics. “Our music has always been an attempt to resolve honest, emotional conflict,” says Schwab, “to address spiritual struggles that can’t be painted accurately or referred to in everyday conversations held within the walls of the church, the extremes of emotion.”

Aptly named, Rival Factions is a disc filled with conflict. The band’s first single, “Evil,” Schwab says, is as current as the latest Spider-Man 3 movie trailer. “I swear they almost quoted the lyric, the line about how ‘every hero has a battle to fight within himself.’ Spider-Man is fighting Venom that has become a part of him. That’s essentially about how each day we have a decision to make about which voice we are going to follow in our own heads. That may be a real simple way to express the battle between the spirit and the flesh.”

In addition to connecting deeply with countless fans, Schwab—named “Best Lyricist” in HM Magazine’s latest readers’ poll—has seen his approach influence fellow artists. Just ask Falling Up’s lead singer/principal songwriter, Jessy Ribordy. “Andrew’s lyrics have always been a source of inspiration to me,” he tells CCM. “I’ve tried to use more imaginative metaphors and things that are more symbolic, so that the songs can mean more things and have a bigger impact.”

Schwab says the song title “The Forces of Radio Have Dropped a Viper into the Rhythm Section,” is a quote from a Seattle disc jockey, and “it works because the drumming on that song is intense. It’s about having moved on from a relationship or a situation that you needed to leave behind because it was questionable or destructive. The song is about revisiting those memories; the past comes back to bite you.

“I think it’s a reflection of the human soul,” responds Schwab to the idea that his conflict-driven lyrics strike some as excessive. “In Christian culture today, there is that desire to live in this place where everything is soft and smooth, politically correct and comfortable, and we’re afraid to face the harsh realities of life. But the metaphor of extreme situations applies so well to the spiritual life, because it was in violence that Christ paid for our sins; it’s not for the faint of heart.”


© 2007 CCM Magazine.  All rights reserved.  Used with permission.   Click here to try a free issue.