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The Chariot The Fiancée

The Chariot - The Fiancée
1. Back To Back
2. They Faced Each Other
3. They Drew Their Swords
4. And Shot Each Other
5. The Deaf Policeman
6. Heard This Noise
7. Then Came To Kill
8. The Two Dead Boys
9. Forgive Me Nashville
2007 Solid State Records

Reviewed by: Cory   //   Published: 3/23/2007

In 2003, Norma Jean frontman Josh Scogin inexplicably parted ways with that band as their star was quickly rising. No real explanation was ever offered, but Scogin reemerged soon after with his new band The Chariot. The band's first album was an instant hit with most of the same fans that had helped Norma Jean rise to fame. Scogin has returned in 2007 with a drastically different line-up but the same love of basic riffs and dirty production. This time around, however, The Chariot have committed to a more dramatic "hardcore" direction and included some legitimately intriguing elements into the songwriting. While The Fiancée isn't a consistently great record, I consider it a marked improvement from the band's previous material and worthy of consideration.

The Fiancée's nine tracks run through a half hour in what seems like half the time, as The Chariot manages to keep the listener guessing despite a simple formula of off-time riffs, hardcore verses and big breakdowns. Like many other albums in the metal and hardcore genres, it's The Fiancée's little differences that set it apart from the pack. Whether it be the full congregation and choir that appear both in the album's middle and (to lesser effect) at its end or the relatively original breakdown at the end of "The Deaf Policeman," Scogin and company make sure that every song gives listeners at least one moment to connect with. Even the disc's brief opener has a great sing-along and barely-there melodic vocal that draw you in. While there's certainly nothing wrong with most of the points that the band is beating you over the head with these songs, it's their subtleties and small touches that ultimately make them succeed.

Ironically, it's the inclusion of non-traditional elements that also lead to some of the disc's weakest moments and show that The Chariot hasn't quite mastered their own techniques. The first time the aforementioned choir appears, the bit wears out its welcome. The thirty-second introduction to the otherwise great "Then Came To Kill" might be quickly forgiven once the Jawbox/Pixies-esque riff kicks in, but it still didn't need to be there. Later in the same track, the pleasant female vocal (contributed by Paramore's Hayley Williams) works well but the accompanying string arrangement is overkill. The harmonica that seemingly ends the disc's closer perfectly (courtesy of another guest star, Mewithoutyou's Aaron Weiss) is unfortunately followed by three more minutes of choral singing. It works briefly this time around, but again becomes tiresome. Even the use of the album's song titles to form a little poem is less successful than the band seemed to think. All the fitting touches show a vision and ambition that many similar acts lack, but the fact that some are out of place or too long suggest a musical immaturity that will hopefully be remedied as The Chariot continues on.

Bottom Line: After spending some time with The Chariot's second album, it became apparent to me why Josh Scogin might have left Norma Jean to start this band. Where that band has spent the last few years of fortune and prosperity rehashing their previous successes and wading in circles in an artistic kiddie pool, The Chariot actually comes across as earnest and refreshing. There are weak points throughout The Fiancée that unfortunately stick out even more against the good material, but overall, this is a pretty solid effort.

MatHouLe_   posted 10/23/2008 2:20:58 PM
Best band ever 10/10
dickfore_   posted 11/14/2007 7:04:01 PM
for real, this cd could have been so much better without the stupid ass gospel choir and all stupid bullshit. how do you go from completly under produced and heavy as hell. to way too over produced. lame. i bet they're still worthy of seeing live tho.
fartfignugen_   posted 8/10/2007 2:46:09 AM
a six is just what this diserves. mabye a 5. but its still listenable. the stupid choir shit was gay as f*ck. this cd is just over produced. it could have been alot better.
johndoe_   posted 8/2/2007 5:38:26 AM
You f*ckin morrons stop writing and posting comments people read and really laugh i mean for the love of god stop doing that .youre all probably jerking off with the new avenged album or killswitch engage... just shut up
wordlyfe_   posted 6/21/2007 5:08:36 PM
this band sucks. anyone that went to sounds last year knows what i'm talking about. f*ck the chariot, f*ck paramore, and f*ck josh scogin.

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