The Chariot

The Fiancee

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The Chariot pull no punches on their sophomore album, The Fiancee -- unless of course you count the one straight to the face that is delivered practically without respite for its entire 30-minute run. Despite the extensive member-shifting prior to the record's release, the Chariot have lost absolutely no steam since their 2004 debut. The guys still have no time for the melodic/abrasive dynamic so many of their metalcore peers love, since harmonious singing would ultimately take away from the nonstop firestorm of exploding drums, heaving guitars, and visceral shrieking. And this relentless brutality makes The Fiancee all the more exciting and satisfying. Josh Scogin's very life seems dependent on whether or not his voice can convey every emotion residing deep inside his gut lest the pain should consume him, especially in tracks like "The Deaf Policeman." The effect of this ferocious aural bludgeoning is incredibly energizing on its own, but what makes the Chariot crew really stand out here is that they're also not afraid of coloring outside the lines a bit, as when the raging "And Shot Each Other" eventually gives way to elegant, somewhat eerie Sacred Harp choral singers in an excellent contrast of viciousness and spiritual reverence. In a similar contrast, "Then Came to Kill" features the haunting vocals of Paramore's Hayley Williams (how's that for a random guest spot?) roaming around in the background behind Scogin's seething screams. This dichotomy fits the band itself pretty well, though, since underneath all of the spit and vitriol are, as always, references to Christianity and God. But as the Chariot proves, just because you're discussing faith, it doesn't mean you have to be nice and polite about it. Hardly. The Fiancee is the catharsis metalcore fans have been waiting for -- Norma Jean better watch their back.

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