Review Summary: Formed with ex-members of Norma Jean, the Chariot is a Christian metalcore outfit from the South. While their first two albums showed promise, stay away from this one.
Seeing as I play a ton of online poker, I am constantly in the need of music to listen to while I'm playing. Sometimes I prefer heavy (death metal, metalcore, etc) music to get myself pumped up so I pay attention; sometimes I prefer relaxing, progressive stuff (Opeth, Isis, Incubus, whatever). I had heard a few songs off of The Chariot's previous albums ("Everything is Alive, Everything Is.." and "Unsung") and I was mildly intrigued, despite the fact they featured former Norma Jean signer Joshua Scogin, whose singing style is controversial, to say the least, in the sense that some people love his voice and some people believe it sounds like poop.
After listening to this album, Scogin's voice is actually not the real problem. It doesn't really change tones at all, which is a downside, but I've heard much worse. His lyrics are in the same vein of Norma Jean, underOATH, and every other Christian metalcore band, which also is another downside, but at least I can't really understand what he's saying, so I don't really mind. In sum, Scogin is an average, at best, metalcore singer.
There were three things that drove me insane on this album. First, the overall cohesiveness and organization of the songs. The songwriting ability of The Chariot is TERRIBLE. Everything seems completely random and thrown together, without much thought behind what they are doing at all, leaving the listener confused. Sometimes, confusion can be a good technique that bands implement (ex: Meshuggah) to develop their songs and give the listener something to figure out. But instead of wanting to understand what The Chariot is doing, it just infuriates you because of the randomness, lack of cohesion and unoriginal songwriting.
Second, the string instrumentation (guitars and bass) is extremely poor. There is nothing original written in this album at all. You've heard it all before. Quick pull-offs, dissonant riffs, uninspired breakdowns. Name any typical technique of a Christian metalcore band and The Chariot delivers. The only difference is that these riffs are twice as bad then any other Christian metalcore band. These riffs are annoying, stupid riffs that are completely devoid of emotion, thought, and purpose. Any guitar player should be insulted listening to this garbage that The Chariot has the gall to call music. In addition to this, the bass is also unremarkable, and the drums repeatedly play the same beats and use the same cymbal crashes over and over again. But this is usually typical of most Christian metalcore, so it is not noteworthy.
And lastly, the utter pretentious nature of the album and the lame attempts at experimentation. And by experimentation I mean, for example, the use of a choir for the final track, the harmonica in the song "Forgive Me Nashville", and the pathetic attempts to implement a whammy bar. I have no idea what the purpose of these things are, maybe to give a "Southern" feel to their album, but it results in more obnoxious and annoying noise to listen to and get angry at.
But lets return to what I was talking about in the beginning of my review. My point with the online poker was usually I just need something heavy or relaxing playing in the background and I would be happy. I just need something to keep my mind off poker sometimes. But this album literally made me take my headphones off because of the ungodly noise it emitted, much like nails on a chalkboard or the squealing of a passing train would.
In conclusion, the only real part of "The Fiancée" I can recommend is the first song, "Back to Back," because of its sheer heaviness. Even then, it is unoriginal, but you can definitely bang your head to it. "Heard this Noise" also accomplishes this, but again, nothing remarkable about that track either.
Scogin's voice isn't that bad
Some heavy parts
Poor instrumentation and songwriting
Lack of Originality
Lack of Cohesiveness
Grade: 3.2/10 or 1.5/5