There are two words that simply come to mind when I listen to The Chariot’s fifth record – and those words are “freaking impressed”. I am so freaking impressed that these guys have managed to make the best (yes, the best) record of the career, all the way at record number five. They’ve taken the hardcore/mathcore/freakingheavyscreamingandfrantic genre that is filled with bands that just scream over breakdown after breakdown where everything sounds the same – and made a record that is truly unique. Its ten one-word-titled tracks, which spell out “Forget Not Your First Love. Speak In Tongues And Cheek”, take you on a journey in a million different directions.
The brutal “Not” is followed by “Your”, which features a simple female choir over a light organ. An absolute standout track is “First”, which halfway through breaks into a spaghetti-western soundtrack with Josh’s screamed vocals over the top of it, which have never sounding more complimentary than they do right at that moment. Screamed vocals over a disenchanted piano are all that make up “Speak”. “And” may be the heaviest of them all, with the perfectly punctuated, split-second female chorus paying homage to their home city, singing “Atlanta..” (they’re from Douglasville, but close enough) at the 1:40 mark, before the vocal assaults begin again.
However, anyone speaking about this record would be amiss if they didn’t mention the record’s final track, Cheek, and the impact that it has on the feel of the overall record. It samples Charlie Chapman’s famous speech from 1940’s The Great Dictator, which cries out for unity among people. It’s a fitting end to the best “hardcore” record out this year. To each his own when it comes to the style of music you prefer, but like this or not, it’s quality.
If you had to listen to two tracks: First / And
…but you also have to check out Cheek.