I love the Chariot! A friend told me about them. I had enjoyed Norma Jean’s debut and was sad about lead singer Josh Scogin leaving the band. I didn’t decide to give the Chariot a try until just before their second album the Fiancee came out and I was extremely glad I did. After seeing their insane live shows I was even more hooked. The passion, energy and fun of a show from the Chariot could not be matched. I officially declared them my favorite metal band after hearing and loving their album, Long Live. It joined Between the Buried and Me’s Colors as the only other metal album in my personal top 10 albums of all time list.
This brings us to their new album, One Wing. It has been two years since Long Live and they are back with their next furious effort. They decided to return to Matt Goldman’s studio once again. The reason they continue to record with him is clear from the tremendous output he helps them to create. From the opening riffs of ‘Forget’ you know you are in for something awesome. It is a furious, aggresive opening track filled with lots of energy and it will be a great song to add to their live set. They then follow-up with “Not’ A raucous tune featuring guest vocals from their former guitarist Russ, who is now in a band called Slowwriter. It is cool to hear him scream the words “Stand in line, turn and draw.” He sounds right at home again. The first two song set the intensity level and standard for heaviness for the record. But don’t be dissuaded by what follows, it is quite a bit different.
The next two tracks are wildcards in terms of sound but are both awesome because of their originality. ‘Your’ is a musical platform to showcase the vocal talents of a friend of the band named Angela Plake. She sings some words from the song ‘They Faced Each Other’ from their album, the Fiancee. The next song, ‘First’ is one of my favorites. It is a heavy song that sounds like an Every Time I Die homage that breaks down into what sounds like the score to a spaghetti western. It is almost as if the Chariot becomes a mariachi band for a few moments.
Next up is the track ‘Love’. This song kicks back into a more classic sound from the Chariot. See the scream of “Wake Up”, the last howl of “They lost their voice in the choir” and all of that feedback for example. ‘Speak’ is another example of them stretching their creative wings. The clanging of the piano of the track is a perfect score for Scogin’s pleading, “Fathers, speak to your sons, right now”. The beauty and haunting nature of the track is mixed with lyrics that deal with the fragility of life and how important it is to say the things you want to say before its too late.
They get back to destroying you on the song ‘in’. The lyrics deal around the necessity of love. “All you need is Love” they scream. One of the bands they admire is the Beatles, because of their extensive and diverse catalog and how they are able to reinvent themselves but still maintain their identity. This seems to be a bit of a nod to their musical heroes. ‘Tongues’ is another classically frantic track from the Chariot with the addition of a little piano to give the song a more depth. It also sounds like vocalist Josh Scogin is screaming from another room.
‘and’ is a really interesting track. I loved the sample at the beginning of the song. It is neat how they use samples from previous songs like the radio jingle used in Calvin Mackenzie from their 2010 album, Long Live. The album’s finale ‘Cheek’ is another one of my favorite songs on this album. It takes a clip from Charlie Chaplin’s speech in the classic movie, the Great Dictator. I love the sound of this song. One of the few things he screams before he turns over the song to the speech is “I have found the answer, open your ears” Amazing!
I wanted this album to blow their previous work out of the water. In other reviews I heard people say it is their best work yet and that this is the quintessential record of their careers. Although I really enjoy this album, I do not agree. This album is very unique and that is one of its strengths. It is even evident in the track listing. When read altogether, you get the phrases, “Forget Not Your First Love. Speak in Tongues and Cheek.” Brilliant! As many things as it does well, it just doesn’t live up to Long Live in my mind. I do however highly recommend this album though, and I hope that everyone checks it out.