Monday, April 23, 2007

The Chariot - The Fiancé CD Review

Once you start straying outside of the confines of the modern rock or metal genres that are forced into your ears by the radio, Fuse, Alternative Press, and webzines more concerned with pushing their own agendas then promoting good music, you’ll find yourself exposed to all sorts of subgenres that explore every possible niche of music that you could imagine. One such subgenre you might venture into is that of noise rock or noisecore. To most, this subgenre will seem like, as the name implies, noise, but once given a chance you’ll find there is a definite pattern and method to the madness that you previously only viewed as noise. Sonic Youth, Hella, and Gore Beyond Necropsy are all wonderful examples of bands that are able to shape noise into music. Go check them out when you get a chance. They're really swell.

...and then there’s The Chariot. Plain and simple, they just make noise. To be perfectly clear, The Chariot don’t technically fall into the same subgenre as the aforementioned bands, but they do share the same type of schizophrenic nature that drives their creative process. You could most easily lump The Chariot into the same category of bands that Every Time I Die and Norma Jean occupy, but that’s where the comparisons should end. Whereas Every Time I Die create a unique start/stop, shifting brand of metalcore, The Chariot just start, stop, shift gears, do something weird, and then move on. The biggest problem that The Fiancé has is the lack of direction that nearly all of the songs possess.

Each song, at times, feels like it’s going somewhere, but yet it never reaches the endpoint that it’s shooting for. More often than not you'll get the feeling that the band simply gives up before they get where they're trying to go, leaving songs underdeveloped and lacking. This can easily be evidenced in the brevity of the majority of the 10 tracks on this effort – most of them clock in at only 2-3 minutes in length. The one song that actually feels developed is also the longest — “Then Came to Kill”. At five minutes in length and containing multiple build-ups, a gentle fadeout, and a nicely layered sound, this is what the rest of the effort should have sounded like. Unfortunately all you get with the remainder of the disc is short chunks of what could be fleshed out into full songs, if only given the chance.

Take, for example, “The Two Dead Boys”. The introduction and first “verse” of the song gallop along in a heavy metalcore style, but then the band switches gears completely, needlessly noodling around followed by a natural fadeout that could actually work as the song’s endpoint, but then they come back with squeaking, moving guitars for 30 more seconds. This last piece adds nothing to the song and ruins one of the only times a short ending felt appropriate. Are they purposely trying to annoy their listeners? It could be worse, though, it could have been a repeat of the song “They Drew Their Swords”. Or even worse, it could have been another church choir song, like the closing track “The Trumpet”. Totally out of place on this album, this song doesn’t help make the album any more digestible.

With the direction The Chariot had taken on their EP, Unsung, there was a feeling that the band was starting to decide what they wanted to do and could possibly hone their talents to create a strong, non-traditional metalcore album. Unfortunately with all of the lineup changes and an obvious focus on being more “out there”, The Fiancé falls flat and leaves the band looking like they’ve actually become less mature as time has passed.

No comments: