I can’t deny it: Growing up I was a hardcore scene kid. Black band tees, black jeans, bandanas, hardcore dancing, straight edge, hair too long in the front and shaved in the back, and a Xanga page that would make Conor Oberst feel a bit better about himself. Still, as I’ve grown older, and my music tastes have, arguably, become more refined, nothing can quite capture the feeling and experience of watching a live metal show, melting in a pit of your screaming, sweaty peers to the melodic dissonance of thrashing guitars and howling vocals. This is where The Chariot excels. It is their lifeblood. When frontman Josh Scogin, formally of Christian metal nobility Norma Jean, is not frantically running around and climbing whatever he can find, or diving head first into the crowd, he is holding you close and screaming a message of love and freedom from fear in your face. It is this experience, this essence that permeates their studio albums, which are often recorded live and unmixed.
While One Wing, The Chariot’s fifth studio release, doesn’t stray too far from the frantic, fight educing bedlam we are used to, the band has opted to fine tune the chaos a bit and give reason to the madness. One Wing plays out like a great, classic horror movie, and at 30 minutes long, it skips the tedium and goes straight for the jumps and scares. Yet there are moments of respite. Tracks like “Your”, which is practically a lullaby, and “Speak”, a piano driven lament of sorts, gives us a moment to catch our breath.
Where so many of their counterparts and contemporaries have simply switched genres when the metalcore/noisecore scene had played out, The Chariot have shown that it can grow and innovate organically and still stay true to their roots. You may not be floored by the various samples intricately woven into the tracks, or Southern rock undertones, but I was definitely happy to hear the same schizophrenic frenzy of guitar and tumultuous vocals that I’ve come to love from the Chariot.