The Chariot - The Fiance
Record Label: Tooth & Nail
Release Date: April 3, 2007
Here is how to decide if you are going to like this album or not: put on the first track and listen for 6 seconds. Made up your mind? Swear to God, this is the most ferocious opening to an album since The Great Southern Trendkill, and when my MP3 player shuffled off of Andrew Bird and into this I was pretty sure I was going to die.
This is what I heard: “Blaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! We both know we’re both gonna die!” [Blastbeat.] Cue drums that sound like machine guns and riffs that could knock the Richter Scale off track.
On The Fiance, a well plotted and solid noise opus, Josh Scogin shows off better than ever his distorted and commanding Coalesce-style vocals, covering but never extinguishing the ampli-fire beneath him. This time, the guitar’s got its chops and sliding mathrock riffs, instead of just pure anarchy like Everything Is Alive... where the listener had pretty much no idea what was going on.
You can credit the Chariot’s evolved sound to the fact that Josh is constantly moving on to new musicians, or you can credit it to the mantra “Practice makes perfect”, which is the side I lean towards. Either way, his split from Norma Jean turned out to be a felix culpa. Here’s what he was meant to do.
Songs like “...And Shot Each Other” (a live staple) are what make the album so memorable – a balance of tranquility and chaos, uncanny and quite unsettling. Also of note, that track's throat-shredding 8-second growl (complete with a deep breath in the middle) is the very definition of rock ‘n roll excess, in the good way. The track’s so good, we can forgive the fact that “The Deaf Policeman” pretty much directly rips off Nirvana’s “Tourettes”.
My only real qualm comes later in the album when Paramore’s Hayley Williams makes a cameo in “Then Came to Kill.” Besides the fact that it sounds completely ridiculous, what was the logic in contracting her for the song? It seems like a last minute act of backpedaling; like Tooth & Nail were scared the album might not be too marketable as it was, and it needed a popular spokesperson to represent it.
But for the most part, The Fiance is just the over-the-top under-produced masterpiece Scogin has been shooting for since Norma Jean’s Bless the Martyr, Kiss the Child. The most appropriate descriptive word to sum ‘em up would be the same one I use to describe Converge - "evil". But I'm guessing Chariot doesn't exactly want that tag... so we will settle for "brutal."
NOTE: Remember when Christian Metal used to mean P.O.D.?
Good review. This was an interesting CD and I definitely think 'And Shot Each Other' was one of the best tracks for a while. I saw The Chariot over here in the UK last Friday and they were excellent. Their live show is just insane. I am intrigued by the new CD - Wars and Rumours of Wars - it should be good because Josh pushes the boat out and never does anything conventional.
Unsung EP was a good look at what was to come from The Chariot next ("Play the Piano..." was an early version of "Then Came to Kill" without the vocals from Hayley). They still had that chaotic sound on this album that was on their first, but as someone mentioned, it's much more controlled. May 5th cannot come soon enough........
I absolutely love The Fiancee. Hayley was on the album cause the two bands are good friends. I agree about how Back to Back is a great intro. I love ...And Shot Each Other. Josh's vocals are amazing. I really cannot wait until May 5.
actually, when this album came out, haley/paramore hadn't yet blown up. they were pretty much unknown in mainstream, and only so-so known in subculture music. it was like two full months later that surprisingly, their song "misery someting" hit mtv and radio--i know, i remember. so you can't really say that toothandnail was looking for someone popular to sell the record.