Album Review :
The Chariot- The Fiancée

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Artist: The Chariot
Album: The Fiancée
Label: Solid State
Release Date: April 3, 2007
Review by: rand

1. Back To Back
2. They Faced Each Other
3. They Drew Their Swords
4. And Shot Each Other
5. The Deaf Policemen
6. Heard This Noise
7. Then Came To Kill
8. The Two Dead Boys
9. Forgive Me Nashville
10. The Trumpet

I have never seen The Chariot live. Before you shoot me though, just know that Austin, TX never has Christian metal bands coming through it for some reason. In fact, they tend to avoid it like the plaque, usually going to Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. I am willing to bet it is because it is the “indie” music scene most of the venues here seem to want to cater to. Whatever the reason, all my friends who live in the aforementioned cities have guaranteed me that The Chariot is an act not to go life without seeing. As if all my friends’ testimonies and The Chariot’s first album, Everything Is Alive, Everything Is Breathing, Nothing Is Dead and Nothing Is Bleeding, and the subsequent Unsung EP, wasn’t enough to make me want to see them, they went and added The Fiancée to the pot. Luckily I will see them at Cornerstone this year. Finally.

Enough about me, even though I know I am not the only one who has had friends rave about The Chariot’s live show, and let’s talk about the album! I am not sure what it feels like getting hit by a bullet, but I imagine it feels a lot like when the first four tracks hit you from The Fiancée. It feels like each of the songs just keep building and building on one another until the crescendo of track 4 when the choir comes in amidst the squealing of the guitar. You heard me right: a choir. An amazing, old fashioned-sounding, a cappella choir comes in the background at the end of “And Shot Each Other”, and the guitar is still getting feedback, then the music stops and the choir is the only thing you can hear…trust me it is amazing. Not only that, but the words they sing are also hard hitting: (the last two lines) “We feel the Resurrection near. / Our life in Christ concealed, and with His glorious presence here our earthen vessels filled.” On that note, I would have to say that I like the lyrics to this album overall than on the previous one. The ones before were just a little ambiguous to me, but that is okay, I am no the one who wrote them. Also, you can understand more of what Josh Scogin (I trust you know that is the vocalist) screams this time. Not to say that not being able to understand him sounds bad, but I am just commenting on the fact that he screams a little different on the new CD; it is less low and throat-y, and more faster and higher. He just rips through lines of lyrics this time around, as compared to the last CD where he seemed to hold his words out longer. Not only his voice, but the songs on The Fiancée seem a lot faster that Everything…, but when I checked The Fiancée is actually longer. Probably the reason the songs seem faster has more to do with the style of this CD. The Chariot has added a little thrash to their hardcore/metal/chaos sound and the tempos sound sped up a bit. The new CD also sounds a little more structured, while Everything… sounded more like chaos is slow motion. But that isn’t to say The Fiancée doesn’t have its slow or chaotic parts, like the end of “The Deaf Policemen” when everything slows way down and Scogin screams a line of the vocals each time the guitar strokes and the bass drum hits. If you want a reference point, these songs sound a lot more like the songs on the Unsung EP, just a little thrashier. In fact “Then Came To Kill” is a redone version of the song “Kenny Gibler” from the ep. I couldn’t find out anywhere if The Chariot recorded The Fiancée in the same live setting that as the previous full-length, which is something I loved about the first CD, but if they did, that would make this album all the more amazing.

There are several more things to note about this album. Josh Scogin is the only remaining member of The Chariot that was on the first CD. This whole band change could explain the revamped sound. Scogin has stated though that the previous members left for their own reasons and that it was for the best. Also, The Chariot brought some of their friends from the music community to help them out on some tracks: Hayley Williams, the lead singer of Paramore, sings some vocals on “Then Came To Kill” and Scogin teamed up with Aaron Weiss from MewithoutYou again (as he did on “Memphis Will Be Laid To Waste” when Scogin was in Norma Jean). Weiss doesn’t do vocals though-he plays the harmonica on track 9. Oh, and the choir is the Sacred Heart Singers who, in addition to singing at the end of track 4, have a whole song all their own on the CD- “The Trumpet”. The packaging design on this album is also fantastic, not to mention that the first 8 track names make a poem if you haven’t noticed, which alone made me want to buy the CD.

I know, and The Chariot probably also knows, that in the beginning they probably got most of their attention because they were the band the ex-Norma Jean singer started (that’s Scogin, if you didn’t know). All that should be gone now with The Fiancée. With this new release The Chariot have truly defined themselves and solidified their independence-The Chariot is The Chariot.


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