Sound — 7
The Chariot's sophomore LP is one of the most anticipated hardcore albums of the year. Having already cemented his place in hardcore music thanks to his work on former band Norma Jean's first album, Josh Scogin brings experience and an extremely loyal fanbase with him. Frontman Josh Scogin is quoted as saying that this album "will definitely define who The Chariot is", after listening to the album a few times, I'm not so sure that's a good thing. With 10 tracks racking up a whopping 29 and a half minutes of play time there is a bit to be desired in actual content. The sound of the band remains in the hardcore vein but is almost completely lacking breakdowns. Not that that's bad, but there's nothing terribly interesting that breaks up the tempo of the songs. The guitar parts are predictable and there's not much from the instruments that catches your ear. The fact that The Chariot has undergone several line-up changes have something to do with this, which is a shame considering the potential of the band. Hopefully once they nail down a good group they'll start making more music. A few of the songs have atmospheric effects and noises that add a spooky feel, these noise tracks are also used in their live shows pretty successfully, if you've ever seen The Chariot you know what I'm talking about. The Chariot continue to do their own thing, staying away from the mainstream and making intense, deep music. But if you're expecting groundbreaking hardcore here (or A Return To Bless The Martyr) you might be dissapointed.
Lyrics — 10
If I could give the lyrics a higher rating I would do it. Just a 10 doesn't do near enough justice to the vocals and lyrics on this album. From start to finish the album has hard hitting, clever (even the tracklist is a poem), and insightful lyrics all backed up by what I truly believe is the best voice in metal. Where the band fails in capturing the listener with innovative guitar work, they more than compensate with an intensity that you can't ignore. Scogin provides the main vocals and all the lyrics, and carries the band with a charisma that no other vocalist I know can. Paramore's lead singer has a cameo on "Then Came To Kill" that adds a very interesting dynamic to the whole album. The lyrics deal mainly with hypocrisy in the world and is a welcome change from typical "hardcore" lyrics.
Overall Impression — 9
This album is really a different kind of animal, but that is something you can always expect from Scogin and co. Words really can't describe the power that Scogin brings to the mic. Hearing him on this album alone is well worth the price of admission. The best technical song is "Then Came To Kill" and the one you'll most want to bang your head to is "Forgive Me Nashville". I'm giving this album a 9 because I definitely think that The Chariot is not finished defining their sound, and that there is more to come from the group, but seriously, if you've never heard Josh Scogin on the mic before, you need to hear this album, or better yet, go to one of their shows.