Every Time I Die
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Everyone has a list of bands that you wish you could like, but for one reason or another, the idea of the band is much better than the execution. The Chariot is pretty high up on the list for many. Vocalist Josh Scogin was a part of one of the best metalcore albums of the early 2000s in Norma Jean’s Bless the Martyr, Kiss the Child, so many have tried many times to appreciate Scogin’s other band with little to no avail.
That is, until now. Over the previous four releases, The Chariot was a band who strived to basically be a mathcore jam band, cramming as many feedback-laced riffs into thirty minutes as was humanly possible. Occasionally those riffs magically turned into great songs (“The City” and “David De La Hoz”); however, other times the random discordant noise proved too much to bear (basically every other song). The band members have been quoted as saying One Wing is the band’s “weirdest” release to date, and one listen to the album proves that assertion true. “Your” is a surprising sing-a-long utilizing only a female voice and an organ. “First” is a first for the band, featuring a random spaghetti Western montage that needs to be featured in the band’s next video.
Thankfully, the crux of the “weird” that the band spoke of is related to the band’s clear emphasis on songwriting, and it is a very welcome oddity. “Not” and “In” take the best of early Norma Jean and bottles that energy into short fury-filled funfests. “In” even features an oddly enjoyable catchphrase (read: merchandising!) that has a chance to stick in the listeners heads. (“Keep the car running!”) This was one of those features very prevalent in Bless the Martyr, Kiss the Child, and it’s a welcome addition on the album. “Speak” is a haunting track that strips down The Chariot to only a screamer and his piano, and the results are fantastic.
Elsewhere, even the more straight-forward ragers are more focused. “Forget” and “and” both are heavy, energetic bursts of mathcore, and they are not forgettable tracks. Also, there is enough groove-laden Southern-fried goodness to keep things interesting. There is something akin to melody here, and it’s a jarring proposition compared to what listeners have expected from the band.
Overall, there is no question that One Wing presents a better, more focused version of The Chariot. By harnessing their chaos into a more palatable and experimental sound, the album presents the band as a well-oiled machine. One Wing should win over some new fans who felt they were altogether too random for full enjoyment, and here’s to hoping the band gets even weirder in the future.