The Chariot

Everything Is Alive, Everything Is Breathing, Nothing Is Dead and Nothing Is Bleeding

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When Josh Scogin left his position as lead singer for the alternative metal band Norma Jean in 2002, fans wondered where he would eventually end up. The answer is Scogin's own band the Chariot, who offer a truly ferocious dose of metalcore on their debut album, Everything Is Alive, Everything Is Breathing, Nothing Is Dead and Nothing Is Bleeding. Musically, no prisoners are taken on this 2004 release; Scogin and his equally unforgiving colleagues favor the sort of harshness, brutality and suffocating density that metalcore is known for. An exercise in sensory assault for the sake of sensory assault, this 27-minute CD sounds like the soundtrack to hell. Ah, but here's the punchline: The Chariot, like Norma Jean, is a Christian band -- and this album's lyrics, for all their angst, are meant to be uplifting rather than nihilistic. Some will ask, "How can a band that sounds so brutal be promoting spirituality?" But truth be told, there is nothing in the Bible, the Holy Koran or the Bhagavad-Gita that specifies what a religious band has to sound like -- and if a band wants to use metalcore to promote Christianity, Judaism, Islam or Buddhism (in the Chariot's case, Christianity), there is no reason not to. The Chariot's stream-of-consciousness lyrics are not preachy; rather, Scogin takes a painful look at the world around him and concludes that Christianity is the remedy. Most of the time, Scogin screams in English, but he detours into some Spanish lyrics on "Yellow Dress, Locked Knees," declaring, "Jesus, yo quiero que este mundo te conosca." Translation: Jesus, I want this world to know you. But because this album is so bonecrushing musically, one has to pay very close attention to pick up the Christian references. An above-average contribution to metalcore, Everything Is Alive demonstrates that Christian headbangers can be every bit as bombastic as their secular counterparts.

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