With Long Live, The Chariot’s fourth record, the blistering feedback and punishing vocals crash around like a bunch of clunky robots in a mosh pit. The resulting clatter is ear-splitting, jarring and grating. It is, as you might imagine, the only album this Georgia mathcore act could have made.
The Chariot has never been a band to dither on the sidelines. Each record is a collage of torture and pain torn into shreds and force-fed through a demonic wood chipper. My last interaction with these guys was with the “throat-shredding” Wars and Rumors of Wars, the band’s 2009 effort. While I was pleased with the overall aggression of the album, I found the tracks too similar to think of it in higher terms.
Long Live is the next step. The “form” of Wars is present, sure, but the waves of aggression seem more focused and the punishment isn’t just for the sake of it.
Vocalist Josh Scogin is still tearing apart from the insides, wrangling with so much rage and aggression that it can be hard to take at times. He bellows and sputters unintelligibly, ripping through flesh between blasts of piercing feedback and catastrophic, shredding guitar.
“The City” is the record’s purest track, I think. It scatters through a pile of different tempos, cheerfully unable to settle on a pace. Scogin’s vocals meander as they please, fitting in at times and shouting over at other times. Sometimes the piece threatens to settle into a formula, with a chorus of vocals providing haunting closure.
“David De La Hoz” is another mass of spiraling, animalistic retribution. The song nearly takes form at times and that’s when The Chariot actually arrives at being something more than just another hardcore act. When the din clears and Scogin’s screeching allows Listener’s Dan Smith some space for an emotional rant, it’s a wonderful thing. The vicious, thunderous breakdown that follows is immense. Holy shit. And then there’s a harp.
Other tracks threaten to coagulate into something significant, too, but the band’s sense of chaos and frenzy is still the order of the day. The barrage of “Evan Perks” is every bit the pithy menace fans of this Christian hardcore band love, while the “The Heavens” almost pulls out a groove.
Long Live represents forward motion for The Chariot. The loose strands hang with a little more tautness and the chaos seems a little more considered. This is still the frenetic, threatening shit fans are used to, but these dudes seem more interested in taking chances and that’s a good sign for the future.