Everyone remembers Norma Jean when they were good, right? You know, Bless The Martyr, Kiss The Child? What happened to them? Oh that’s right, vocalist Josh Scogin left the band. Fortunately for all of us, in the wake of their present mediocrity Scogin continued blazing a new and exciting path in post hardcore that is always two steps ahead of the rest of the pack.
The Chariot aren’t news by far, they’ve been floating around the underground for years now, churning the insides and scrambling the brains of anyone daring enough to give them a listen. Never ones to blaze the same trail twice, their newest effort, One Wing, is by far their most ambitious and unpredictable record yet. From the colorful, childlike artwork to the one word song titles (strung together they form 2 complete sentences! Whaaaaa?!) it is apparent that this is not going to be the same Chariot we’ve come to know and love. While change can be scary, this one is welcomed and, although misguided at times, a breath of fresh air in an otherwise tepid pond of uninspired Botch and Coalesce wannabes.
The bulk of the album is still very much The Chariot: off kilter rhythms that always seem on the verge of falling off balance paired with Scogin’s visceral throat tearing scream. It’s the moments when the band ventures off into unknown territory that they either succeed in leaps and bounds or fall short in the execution. Take the third track “Your”, a short lived acapella song that feels both out of place and not fully realized, and the end of “First”, which trails off unexpectedly into a spaghetti western dirge that on its own is awesome and functional, but in the context of the song a bit too abrupt and misused. Then there is “Speak”, a beautiful piano sonata overlaid with Scogin’s raw and emotional screaming that plays like an effigy to a long lost generation; and “Tongues”, a less than modest slow burn more akin to doom than anything The Chariot have done before and it fits the mold perfectly.
Regardless of the album’s minute missteps and extremely, almost annoyingly short run time (barely 30 minutes), it is a refreshing work of art that propagates the band’s already kinetic and esoteric approach to hardcore. No matter what you may think you know about this band, they will always outsmart you when you least expect it, and that always makes for an interesting and adrenaline-filled ride that will leave you breathless.
One Wing – 8.4/10
Favorite Song: And
One Wing is out now via Good Fight Entertainment and E1 Records.