There’s a certain expectation when it comes to The Chariot. You know it’s going to be challenging, arduous, even difficult but always mind-blowing. You don’t just simply ‘sit through’ a record by The Chariot. You have to commit yourself and put in a certain amount of effort to appreciate it, but you always know it will have paid off in the end.
As expected, reiterating the point that I just made, ‘One Wing’ opens to noisy off-time mathcore with heavily repeated lyrics. It’s quite honestly stunning. It cuts and chops between full band playing to just a single guitar before switching back to full band. Josh Scogin can be heard taking deep breaths in between each segment, which is the perfect way to describe the track. The riffs are so hectic and busy, it almost knocks the wind out of you. The down-time gives you chance to regain composure before you’re once again pummelled. The track finishes with a predictable The Chariot-esque breakdown. Predictable is usually seen as a negative, but I would have been sorely disappointed if it wasn’t there. I’m lost for words when it comes to this song.
From this point on, the record makes quite a change. “Where can they go from this?” was the question on many people’s lips after the release of their previous record ‘Long Live’. Well, this is it. Perfectly transitioning, the record takes risks but isn’t so far away from their previous work that it loses meaning (or fans). ‘Not’ again begins with ‘typical’ The Chariot: violent, technical and blistering. It then changes to a huge soundscape of lyrics over chanting, not entirely different from the track ‘The City’ off 2010’s ‘Long Live’. But where they dipped their toes before, they have now fully delved in.
More and more they move away from hardcore, most impressively in the song ‘Your’. This track consists of female bluegrass-style vocals that invoke a heavy Christian feel. Think of the ‘O Brother Where Art Thou’ soundtrack, particularly the song ‘Down To The River To Pray’ by Alison Krauss, you’ll understand where I’m coming from. The brilliance about ‘Your’ is that it probably shouldn’t work, but it really does and just creates a stunning arrangement of music.
This continues throughout from tracks like ‘First’, which includes a whole Spaghetti Western segment to the interlude track ‘Speak’, consisting of Scogin’s painful vocals over a beautiful piano piece to the creepy choir section on ‘In’. Should it work? No. Does it? More so than anything I’ve heard this year.
On top of all this, it’s so heavy. The hardcore that’s in there, and there’s plenty of it, is some of the most well-constructed The Chariot have ever put out. This record is seminal, both to The Chariot and the music scene as a whole. It’s also flawless and the first time I’ve ever given 10 stars to an album. Upon listening, it honestly gave me chills. I suggest you take some time and sit down with ‘One Wing’.
Written by Jack Bastard