Clocking in at 30 truculent minutes, Wars and Rumors of Wars will stomp all over your eardrums and crack your jaw with its innate aggressiveness. It is, after all, the latest hardcore beast from The Chariot and that means more derailing feedback, hectic “arrangements,” throat-shredding vocals, and maddening fury.
Started in 2003 by former Norma Jean vocalist Josh Scogin, The Chariot has ripped through various members almost as quickly as they’ve torn through the hearts and minds of the hardcore community.
Wars and Rumors of War, serving as the follow-up to 2007’s The Fiancée, is fierce and diabolical in its construction. Songs power forward with so much stress and so much viciousness that it’s almost hard to listen to without getting a headache. I suppose that’s the point, though, and this is nothing if not skull-cracking.
That said, things do reach the point where everything begins to melt together into a giant mass of feedback and adamant note-plucking over which Scogin screams his ass off.
Scogin commences with the tormented wailing without delay on “Teach,” a song built on strengthening guitars from Bryan Russell Taylor and Dan Vokey. “Victory is such a lonely word,” Scogin screams as the cut breaks down.
David Kennedy’s drums and Jon "KC Wolf" Kindler’s bass fill in the rhythm section, bolstering the chaotic attack from the frontline with off-kilter fills and thunder from the lower registry. Every instrument in the band appears set on balls-to-the-wall, however, and that can get a bit repetitive.
“Impress” roars out of the gate with ear-splitting hardcore punk, only to ebb quickly into the sputtering replication of a handful of notes playing out over and over for the remains of the track. It works as a decent enough bridge into “Never I,” coursing into its bloodstream with Scogin’s imperative yelling.
Most of the songs on Wars and Rumors of Wars follow analogous patterns, rocking untidy instrumentations with twin guitars going nowhere fast and hard. The lack of rhyme and reason works for a while, but sooner or later the aspiration for something innovative trumps any screaming Scogin can drum up.
Fans of throat-shattering, eardrum-blasting hardcore/metalcore will love the latest from The Chariot, but those with more expansive musical tastes will probably thirst for something more substantial. There are signs of potential here beneath the ruins of feedback and noise left behind on Wars and Rumors of Wars, as some songs tease something greater. It’s just too bad The Chariot lacks the audacity to go there.