by Chase Macabre (STL)
The late 90s.
The glory days of the genre I love the most: metalcore. Deadguy's Fixation on a Coworker, Cave In's Until Your Heart Stops, Botch's We Are The Romans, Dillinger Escape Plan's Calculating Infinity and the list goes on and on. Late '90s metalcore was eviscerating music, but shortly after the turn of the century, something much prettier reared its ugly head. Norma Jean and the billions of copycat bands that followed them.
Fast forward to the present and "metalcore" is now a dirtier word than even "emo," thanks to the bands that spend more time focusing on their image than the songs they write. What happened to the muscular, experimental and downright freaky metalcore I knew and loved? Sadly, the old guard has mostly died off or changed styles. Save for Coalesce's Ox and Burnt By The Sun's swan song Heart of Darkness, few "good" metalcore records have come out lately. And what of the inheritors? Well, Norma Jean are almost an arena rock band now, but the vocalist of Bless the Martyr, Kiss the Child Josh Scogin's the Chariot still resemble those chaotic early days.
The Chariot's latest offering, Long Live, is a treatise of starting and stopping. The record examines the interplay of blast-beats, break-beats, break-downs and walls of squealing feedback as a base for the fire and brimstone Scogin spews over top. In result, Long Live sounds like it was recorded in a building they were simultaneously burning down. But that sound isn't nearly as surprising as it once was in Scogin's old band. This "everything is falling apart" sound is a Chariot trademark but now I don't believe they're capable of holding a song together long enough for it to build anything worth falling from.
However, a few songs on Long Live begin to lay a foundation. "Robert Rios" begins with full chords strummed in eighth notes with a maniacal Scogin over the top that is the closest to a straight punk song they've written. But others, like "Calvin Makenzie" and "David De La Hoz," are as ADD as ever, seemingly cutting and pasting different parts together that are neither melodically compelling nor all that heavy. When the Chariot are compelling though, they're capable of devastating beauty, like the cinematic final chord progression and vocal performance on "The City," the sweet horn part and riff on the closer "The King" or the absolutely crushing breakdown in "Andy Sundwall" (that seems like the way "The Company, The Comfort, The Grave" always should've been.)
Despite putting up the semblance of a framing, the Chariot do not build much to burn. The beginning of the record contains the lyric "disappointed, I know you are" and I'm not so much disappointed in you, the Chariot, as I am the massive void your forefathers left you to fill.
This also begs the question: who out there is filling the void right? Are there any current bands with that New Jersey sound that are good?
THE CHARIOT ARE ON TOUR WITH CANCER BATS and STRAY FROM THE PATH
12/02 Poughkeepsie, NY @ The Loft
12/03 Garden City, NY @ Ethical Center
12/04 Vineland, NJ @ Hangar 84
12/05 West Chester, PA @ The Note
12/06 Virginia Beach, VA@ Club Relevant
12/07 Raleigh, NC @ The Brewery
12/08 Corbin, KY @ Technology Center
12/09 East Ridge, TN @ The Warehouse
12/10 Prattville, AL @ The Blue Iguana
12/11 Douglasville, GA @ The 7 Venue
WITH SILVERSTEIN, MISS MAY I, PIERCE THE VEIL, BULLET FOR A PRETTY BOY
1/7/2011 Clifton Park, NY @ Northern Lights
1/8/2011 Allentown, PA @ Crocodile Rock
1/11/2011 Toledo, OH @ Headliners
1/12/2011 Madison, WI @ Majestic Theatre
1/13/2011 Palatine, IL @ Durty Nellie's
1/14/2011 Iowa City, IA @ Blue Moose Tap House
1/15/2011 Springfield, MO @ Remmingtons Downtown
1/16/2011 Tulsa, OK @ The Marquee Theatre
1/18/2011 Albuquerque, NM @ Sunshine Theater
1/19/2011 Tucson, AZ @ The Rock
1/20/2011 Las Vegas, NV @ Hard Rock Cafe - Vegas Strip
1/21/2011 Pomona, CA @ The Glass House
1/22/2011 Orangevale, CA @ The Boardwalk
1/23/2011 Reno, NV @ Knitting Factory
1/25/2011 Colorado Springs, CO @ Black sheep
1/26/2011 Kansas City, MO @ Beaumont Club
1/27/2011 St. Louis, MO @ Pops Nite Club
1/28/2011 Lansing, MI @ The Loft (at Harem Lounge)
1/29/2011 Buffalo, NY @ Xtreme Wheels