57. The Chariot: Long Live

(Good Fight Music, 2010)
(Good Fight Music, 2010)

My first brush with The Chariot was in the form of the song Daggers from their album Wars And Rumors of Wars while doing a bit of YouTubing. It was promptly saved to a playlist and after repeated listens I was hooked.  Heck, the entire record was good, a lethal injection of terrifying hard, heavy and loud hardcore (or mathcore, as some call it). It was strangely captivating and I loved it.

The band’s follow-up release Long Live picked up where Wars left off, and even upped the ante on The Chariot’s ply and trade. This time around, the band recorded the album live in the studio, something artists do every now and then. (The Cowboy Junkies used a single mic to record their awesome 1988 record The Trinity Session). While The Chariot sounds great on tape, the band has made a name for itself playing live, and if you haven’t seen them you must! (At the very least, check out some YouTube footage of their epic Cornerstone concerts). Long Live hits the mark in more ways than one, capturing the band at its best: playing live and unleashing the musical mayhem fans know and love.

And at times, well in actuality a lot of time, Long Live sounds like a mess of noise. But it’s an enjoyable mess, as songs bash and bang along, sometimes at hectic speeds, other times plodding. The Chariot is absolutely clinical at igniting different moods within the listener, from violent outbursts to soft refrains. Every other song title on Long Live bears the name of a fan as part of a contest. The album begins with Evan Perks, an absolute barn burner in which singer Josh Scrogin screams bloody murder. It’s hardcore heaven. The next two tracks are equally good, but four songs in The City somehow manages to outdo the others. It’s superbly constructed and reaches a crescendo before coming to a screeching halt. Andy Sundwall typifies The Chariot experience, as it shreds along, than slows to a crawl and smashes its way to the end as guitars wail and Scrogin screams. On David De La Hoz, a portion of the lyrics are recited by Dan Smith of the band Listener. It’s well executed, and ends with lightly played piano. Brilliant. Of course, The Heavens kicks things right back up to a frenzy, a song with loads of swagger, which is also the feeling you get on Robert Rios. Oh so good. The King, with its robust marching band-like rhythm section, is a fitting closer.

As far as hardcore records go, it doesn’t get much better than Long Live, a simply stellar collection of 10 tracks and not a dog in the bunch.

TRACK LISTING:

  1. Evan Perks (1:38)
  2. The Audience (2:17)
  3. Calvin Makenzie (2:16)
  4. The City (3:59)
  5. Andy Sundwall (2:55)
  6. The Earth (2:48)
  7. David De La Hoz (4:17)
  8. The Heavens (2:14)
  9. Robert Rios (2:33)
  10. The King (5:50)
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