Thrash Hits

November 15th, 2010

Album: The Chariot – Long Live

The Chariot
Long Live
Good Fight Music
22 November 2010

By Mike Strata

It’s no coincidence that the cover art for The Chariot’s latest slab of furious dissonance looks more like something one would expect from a hardcore band than a band that is routinely (and quite unflatteringly) labelled as metalcore. The Chariot has always produced DIY, rootsy, frighteningly honest music, and whilst the band might share little in common sonically with bands like Bane and Have Heart, their ethos and aesthetic are similar. From the organic recording of their albums to their ferocious, out of control live shows, for The Chariot it’s all about keeping it real.

Since his early days fronting Norma Jean, throughout his career with The Chariot, Josh Scogin has stuck to his penchant for frenzied, barely controlled bursts of chaotic noise that are the aural equivalent of a Marmite-covered dildo – you’re either going to love it or bolt for the door begging for mercy. It’s perhaps this persistence with such a sound that is the biggest criticism of The Chariot’s output to date, where sometimes actual songs have been forsaken for sheer pandemonium.

It’s unlikely that Scogin and his cohorts care about or even listen to their detractors, but right from the off it’s clear that Long Live introduces certain new dimensions to the tried and tested Chariot sound – with varying degrees of success. The skipping glitchiness of the opening riff of ‘Evan Perks’ is a winning trick repeated elsewhere on the record, sounding almost as if the whole band is caught in some kind of infernal loop, whilst only Scogin’s vocals are allowed to roam free. Elswhere odd samples are thrown into The Chariot’s anarchic stew, the hokey little ditty which weaves in and out of the final section of ‘Calvin Mackenzie’ being a prime example. It certainly makes for a more interesting listen, although quite how much it adds to the song is up for debate.

Watch the video to ‘David De La Hoz’ by The Chariot:

When The Chariot’s ideas match their ambitions however, some truly special results are produced. ‘The City’ for example, starts at breakneck speed, all frantic riffing and spastic drums, but suddenly the pace shifts down a few gears and Scogin’s incensed barking is joined by some almost choral sounding gang vocals, providing a totally unexpected but nonetheless dramatic ending to the track. The lo-fi noodling coupled with mumbling vocals during ‘Andy Sundwall’ sounds almost like Bleach-era Nirvana providing another winning, welcome surprise. The album’s true standout however has to be ‘David De La Hoz’ however, in which a persistant, pummelling opening gives way to what sounds like a drunken redneck preacher’s angry ramblings, only for him to give way to a truly crushing finale. It’s reminiscent of mewithoutYou singer Aaron Weiss’ cameo on Norma Jean’s ‘Memphis Will Be Laid To Waste’, and yet it feels remarkably fresh, fortunately not like some half-cut re-hash.

The Chariot should be commended for their achievements on Long Live, for the most part they have built upon their signature chaotic sound with a decent degree of success. While this album might not bring them into the consciousness of the average Slipknot fan, it solidifies their position as an abrasively creative band, and will more than satisfy established fans while hopefully winning over a few new ones.

4/6

Sounds Like: Early Norma Jean, Eso Charis
Top Tracks: The City, David De La Hoz

The Chariot – Long Live tracklisting:
Evan Perks
The Audience
Calvin Makenzie
The City
Andy Sundwall
The Earth
David De La Hoz
The Heavens
Robert Rios
The King

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