Review Summary: It is always great to see potential finally being realized, especially after so many had given up all hope.
Josh Scogin will always be known, for better or worse, as that guy who left Norma Jean. He will never escape it. The question “why?” follows him around like a relentless hobo asking for change. Never mind that he has spent most of the past decade in The Chariot, he is haunted by his former band. It doesn’t help that up until this point The Chariot has done absolutely nothing to differentiate themselves from the rest of the Christian Metalcore pack. It also doesn’t help that The Chariot sounds almost identical to Norma Jean. The Chariot’s debut showed promise, but was followed up by two full-lengths that were average at absolute best, stale and regurgitated at worst. When this album was announced, a collective “who cares” was uttered by the masses, and what does Scogin and Company do? They tighten up the songwriting and release a breakneck album that is raw and powerful.
was recorded live using magnetic analog tape, instead of separately recording the instruments and then mixing them together. This works so well in The Chariot’s favor, as the band sounds their best at their most raw, which is definitely achieved here. Josh Scogin breathes complete fire throughout the album, delivering his best vocal performance to date, dripping vehemence and desperation. There is a certain amount of renewed freedom offered The Chariot’s songwriting on this album, allowing them to be at their craziest, possibly due to their jump from Solid State. Weird quirks show up throughout the album as well, such as the oddly perfect spoken word on “David De La Hoz” (half of the tracks are named after fans that won a contest) or a sample of “Atlanta, My Hometown” by Terry Lee Jenkins thrown into the middle of the chaos.
The Instrumentation is top-notch. Drummer David Kennedy is the ringleader on the chaos, his timings and fills creating a strong backbone for the madness. Jon Terrey and Stephen Harrison, the guitarists, have such chemistry, throwing distorted riff after dissonant chord off one another, going off in opposite directions at times and reining it in perfectly. The entire album feels like it could fall apart at any moment, like a runaway train nearing a sharp curve. However, almost every song is at or below three minutes, so there isn’t a single song that overstays its welcome. The gem of the album here though is the album’s closer, “The King.” The band puts together a perfect jam of chaos, build-ups (complete with horns), and a foreboding atmosphere.
Scogin and his cohorts have released the album we knew they could make, but never actually thought they could pull off. The talent and songwriting was there in pieces, but could never be reined in for a whole album. They would toy with great ideas, but envelop them in mediocrity until now. Any and all fat has been trimmed. The potential we have seen is finally yielding full results. Long Live
has crushed and thrown out any previous expectations for The Chariot, showing that their previous albums might have just been signs of a slumbering beast. It makes you wonder how they could have let the bar get so low, but maybe that was their plan all along.