Review: The Chariot, “Wars and Rumors of Wars”
Former frontman of Norma Jean, Josh Scogin, is back with his band The Chariot, seven years after he left. The Chariot is continually known for their energetic live shows that usually consist of destruction of the set through a half hour or more of mayhem. After two full length records and an EP of re-released songs, the band has arrive with what may be their most concrete and tightly produced album to date. Wars and Rumors of Wars showcases the band doing what they do best: brutally attacking every track with, at most, two and a half to three minutes of gut-wrenching guitars, squeals of feedback, and Scogin’s signature screaming. This album sees Scogin pushing his vocals to what seems like their breaking point, specifically on tracks where it’s evident that he had to breath in and out hard during the recordings, which gives the listener a whole new experience in hardcore music.
Tracks like the opener “Teach:” and “Evolve:” have constant guitars and it appears that sounds of hard guitar and drum beats are coming at you from all angles. In both songs it appears Scogin messed up on a lyric or two, but made up for it by just coming back with a random and more scream thrown in, which shows how improvisational their practices and recordings can be. “Impress.” shows the band moving towards a bit more of an epic feel, with haunting riffs for the last minute of the song, before Scogin and crew throw us back into the mayhem with “Never I”, which boasts spiritually relevant lyrics like “To sing of love or to sing of faith / is a lonely road / but I walk in faith.” The song then ends with the cryptic yet powerful lyrics pounded out in guttural screams, “This is for the earth that slept too late / Bless the thief” and a seemingly triumphant whistling begins, leading into the odd beginning of “Giveth”.
The Chariot isn’t new to using such interesting ways of getting their music and message across, as “Giveth” begins with a country song played in the background for not even two seconds before Scogin comes in yet again with his forceful nature. This record seems to showcase the band with a much better handle on their instrumentation and production, and they’re experimenting as well, as the whole band comes together to do gang vocals on a track or two. “Giveth” ends with a large buildup and screaming in the foreground, and gang vocals complimenting every scream Scogin lets out. “Abandon” almost appears that it’s going to be an acoustic and instrumental song, when screams nearly rip through the blackness of silence to compliment each sound with the lyrics “Is this a blessing or a curse? / should I belong to the trend? / At least it’s a tragedy that will only come once.” “Daggers” proves to be an excellent showcase of all the band’s talents, and will make for a great first single for them, accompanied by the over-the-top cartoon-like video.
The band ends the short 10 track album with its longest song to date, and any fan of The Chariot or even Norma Jean will be proud to listen to this six minute epic ending. Overall, these are perfect songs to destroy a stage to, and that’s exactly what The Chariot will likely do with them, with fans and critics watching and loving every second.
Star Rating: 4½ out of 5