The Chariot - The Fianceé (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Chariot

The Fianceé (2007)

Solid State

The Chariot's second full-length The Fianceé is an ambitious set of experimental metalcore dirges that packs the band's sound into an economical half-hour and lets up a fair amount on the Botch aping of past releases. Its mere all-over-the-placeness pulls in the listener hard, but the band's weird breakdowns and throbbing intensity certainly doesn't deter, either.

A grueling set of screams and flailing drums open the disc in "Back to Back," which proceeds with staccato guitar riffs resembling emergency broadcast interruption noises and the band's signature pound. "They Drew Their Swords" ends with an unrelenting series of guitar squalls, while the four-minute "And Shot Each Other" pushes and pulls (okay, granted the first minute of this one does sound quite a bit like Botch) with an onslaught of horror chords before changing it up with a temporarily straightforward tempo and vocalist Josh Scogin screaming back and forth with one of his members, until a choir listed in the liner notes as the 'Sacred Harp Singers' seeps their way in and then closes it a cappella; yeah, it's bizarre, but it kinda works. Scogin is found warning of blood to be found on the branches over just a mere mess of slammed drums in "The Deaf Policemen," aside from a couple chug riffs that initially wait to the side. "Forgive Me Nashville" is an exercise in frustration and distortion while "The Trumpet" is literally an entire choral piece that closes it out.

Contributions also come in the form of Paramore's Hayley Williams and mewithoutYou's Aaron Weiss. Unfortunately, Weiss is relegated to some mere harmonica work in "Forgive Me Nashville," but Williams adds a distinct layer to "Then Came to Kill," in this context sounding a bit different from her more pop-based performances in Paramore as she yells along with the frothing Scogin.

One thing to remember is the Chariot's Christian underpinnings. Whether or not it was intentional, this makes The Fianceé all the more horrifying with apocalyptic and/or damning warnings like "The wrath of God's grace is but an ocean to a child" ("They Drew Their Swords") and "We feel the resurrection near / Our life in Christ concealed, and with his glorious presence here our earthen vessels filled" ("And Shot Each Other").

Last bits to mention: You may also notice that instead of writing entire sentences for song titles as on the previous LP, the Chariot spread a couple sentences out over the track listing ("Back to Back" / "They Faced Each Other" / "They Drew Their Swords" / "And Shot Each Other"). Additionally, Matt Goldman's raw production is wholly refreshing with so many bands turning up glossy bullshit. Lastly, the century-old newspaper font/presentation (at least) in the liner notes and old-timey photos make The Fianceé an aesthetically pleasing package.

The Fianceé shows a band willing to mix it up just a bit despite a hefty amount of pre-conceived notions. To be sure, there's still spots of total unoriginality, but the number of left turns alone here take us far enough into new, impressive areas.

They Faced Each Other
And Shot Each Other