With "Long Live" this band has proven that they are through and through, brilliant, honest musicians. The lyrics are beautiful, the performance is inspired and the songs themselves are absolute gems. I'd say this album falls more in line with "Wars and Rumors of Wars" but is actually more melodic than anything "The Chariot" has released yet. Bits definitely remind me of Norma Jean's "Bless the Martyr, Kiss the Child" but... this is just more catchy as a whole.
The craziest thing about this album is that it's actually CHALLENGING in all of the right ways. It takes serious focus to stay on track with these guys... but when you're all on the same page, it's like an out of body experience. The fact that the language is clean, arresting and diverse is another credit to the creative ability of excellent Christian musicians. My final thoughts? This is one of the top 5 albums of 2010, and an absolute must own.
This album rules. I mean, completely owns. 5/5 stars. I have been a long time The Chariot fan but I had absolutely no idea what I was getting into when I picked up Long Live. Although much of the "Christian" heavy music scene has fallen out of favor with me in recent years, Long Live is definitely my album of the year.
The musicianship of Long Live is amazing. Years of constant lineup changes has "weeded out" the members that don't belong creating the tightest lineup that the band has had yet. The guitar work is much more technical and melodic as well as just flat-out heavy. This album shows a definite punk rock influence musically with some bizarre Rage Against The Machine-inspired riffs thrown in there for good measure. There are a couple of pretty straightforward breakdowns that overstay their welcome but for the most part the musicianship is sweet. Also, as always, they incorporate some interesting instruments and samples that will totally catch you off guard, but I don't want to spoil it for you. At times strangely beautiful, always abrasive, and always immense, The Chariot approach songwriting with a level of impulsiveness and creativity unheard of elsewhere in the hardcore scene. The album art also reminds me of the old-school d.i.y. punk aesthetic (which I love).
Josh Scogin's vocals are great. After a decade of screaming, Josh's voice is now much more refined that back in the days when he was in that-band-that-shall-not-be-named. His voice has a really good tone and is much more high-end then on previous albums. Manic, passionate, and always unpredictable, Josh pours his heart and soul into every word. Lyrically, the writing is on par for a The Chariot album. This is by no means a bad thing. On this album Josh ties in several lyrical themes from other albums which i feel creates a sense of continuity. Although at times a bit too esoteric for my taste, it still remains some of the best songwriting of Josh Scogin's career.
Bottom line: The Chariot rules, and with Long Live, they have once again proven that they can transcend the stigma of being labeled Christian Metalcore. The Chariot is definitely in the same league as "secular" bands such as Botch, Converge, and The Dillinger Escape Plan and I wouldn't be surprised if future generations of Hardcore kids will look back on Long Live as a "gamechanger". Where others may dismiss it as self-congratulatory b.s., I see Long Live as a glimpse of a future musical revolution.
The Chariot is the Rocky Horror Picture Show or Clockwork Orange of heavy music. dark, intense, creative and complicated. they are absolutely a cult band. not everyone will enjoy, understand or appreciate them. their ideas are abstract. they're lyrics are unconventional. they're instrumentals are chaotic yet somewhat simple. whatever genre of heavy music you listen to, they do not fit into. and their personal identities are of no importance as they change members with every release.
But...they know all of these things and thrive off of them. they know exactly who they are and what they are capable of. and this cd proves that they are capable of pure insanity...structured with complicated time signatures, a mixture of complex riffs and odd chord combinations, josh scogin's heartfelt deep and unconventional lyrics delivered through intense screams, and little intricacies that decorate every record with a unique touch that they obviously spent time creating.
with Long Live the chaos continues and only gets more chaotic as they up the anti with a more refined grasp on concepts that they only dabbled in on Wars. they have definitely evolved since Everything, and they have left The Fiancee to be its own fantastic piece (as it should be) and have graduated to a new sound that is pretty much Wars turned up about 10 notches.
bottom line, this cd owns like all of their others. The Fiancee is my fav but i honestly think they are all equal to each other. all are intense, layered with intricate musicianship, and capable of pulling more emotions out of you than anything this heavy should. if you don't like The Chariot, congrats, you are part of about 90% of the population who doesn't. but if you appreciate what they do, then you know how talented they truly are. Long Live simply enforces that talent. with 4 solid albums, 1 solid ep, and a live performance that is rivaled by no other...The Chariot is top tier. they transcend genres. they are not a rock band. they are not a christian band. they are not a metal band. they are not a hardcore band. they are not a punk band. they are simply...a great band...and they continue to surprise me with consistency that everyone wants to see from whoever their favorite bands are.
if you have even a slight interest in these guys, do yourself a favor and indulge in some raw, thrashy, southern goodness that is The Chariot. what a breath of fresh air this album is for a dying genre of music. it will completely satisfy that urge that Norma Jean and Vanna have let you down with, with their most recent releases. the Chariot have recorded this album raw and live, much like their initial release, and yes, you can expect an in-your-face delivery by Josh Scogin and co. I specifically like the raw feel of this whole album that doesnt stretch to impress or get away from what makes the Chariot great. It just sounds meaningful and has the most humble of approaches in my opinion. give Long Live a shot, and be prepared for a fun ride that truly will not disappoint. Atlanta will rejoice in union :)