Review Summary: The Chariot are finally doing their own thing.9 of 9 thought this review was well written
Something I must admit from the outset of this gushing praise for “Long Live” is the fact that I have always liked The Chariot. I found their debut to be an impressive exhibition of sheer, unbridled chaos, and I enjoyed both “The Fiancé “and “Wars And Rumors of Wars” for what they were; fun, noisy, short albums. However, for all their cuteness, The Chariot were never of any consequence. They’ve always been the red-headed step-child of Norma Jean, riding on the coattails of Botch, Converge, The Dillinger Escape Plan and Refused. Everybody knew this; it was just a matter of whether or not you still liked them anyway. Their identical sounding second and third albums really didn’t help cultivate any interest in a fourth, so when “Long Live” was announced, I found myself saying with a sigh, “Oh, new Chariot. Gotta’ check it out.” I am glad that I did.
The most imperative difference between “Long Live” and The Chariot’s entire backlog of chaos is the fact that they finally sound like they’re doing their own thing. The album is far more expansive, imaginative and memorable than any of their past work. Actually, the best way to say it is that “Long Live” is far more ridiculous than any of their past work. There are some wacky ideas in this thing. Take the night club dance beat of the first forty seconds or so of album opener, “Evan Perks,” or the chromatic build up of “The Heavens,” recorded in reverse and preceded by an intro that sounds like a mix of 80’s era death metal chugs and Rage Against The Machine. The Chariot have always had memorable moments scattered throughout their work, but the sheer volume of “moments” found on “Long Live” is staggering. What’s more is that none of these moments come off as forced gimmicks but rather fully realized bursts of ingenuity. “Long Live” really feels like a think tank, like the band’s creative envelope is actually being pushed with respectable, even intimidating skill and confidence.
“Long Live” most closely resembles The Chariot’s debut, which is an enormous blessing. Their last two efforts have lacked the technicality and unglued massiveness that characterized “Everything Is Alive,” but where that album faltered in its occasional aimlessness, The Chariot have tightened up the screws here while still nailing that same aura of immensity. In this, they have far outdone themselves with an album that is technical and bombastic yet incredibly smart and tasteful. The Chariot have also had trouble in the past of knowing when to capitalize on and repeat a riff or part. Too often they would either trudge you through sixteen measures of a part that you never really thought was interesting, or they would flash a moment of brilliance at you and then just as quickly move on to something else. They’ve finally gotten that balance and they are all the better for it.
I find even myself somewhat perplexed by the lofty rating that I've given "Long Live," but honestly, after about six listens, I can't find a weakness. Josh Scogin is still a remarkably commanding vocalist, and now he has an album that actually keeps up with his own ingenuity. The band is the tightest they've ever been, and producer Matt Goldman has given The Chariot their finest, most visceral production yet. There are no filler tracks, no absurd, forty-second long "interludes;" it's just ten tracks of outstanding metalcore.
With “Long Live,” The Chariot are hopefully starting their ascent into the realms of more revered heavy music, and who knows, maybe someday they’ll have a table in the weird, dimly lit dining halls of all those bands they’ve been on the coattails of for so very long. Here’s hoping that they stick with the strategy that made things work so remarkably this time; letting go of the coattails and doing their own thing.