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Tuesday, April 03, 2012

The Chariot -- Unsung EP

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8/10

It is amazing what a little bit of refinement can do.  After a few member changes and constant touring, and during an interim between freshman and sophomore albums, The Chariot hit the studio to record the Unsung EP.  A first glance, this is just a re-recording of four tracks from the debut album and only two new tracks--but what a difference a year and a half has made. While The Chariot's method of simply recording live for their debut was admirable, something becomes quickly apparent with Unsung: a live show and an album are two completely different things.  This well-recorded EP (the bass is actually prominent!) is a much more enjoyable listen than Everything is Alive....
The band's two hallmarks are still up front: Scogin's insanely powerful voice, and chaotic, brutal instrumentation.  That instrumentation sounds like more than just noise on the Unsung EP. While Unsung might not sound like being launched from a cannon down a hallway of swords, it does sound palatable.  Check out the difference between Everything is Alive...'s version of "Goodnight My Lady and a Forever Farewell" and Unsung's new version.
In the original, there is no feeling of progress, each part just grinding into the next without any sense of change, only a sense of bludgeoning.

But the reworked "Vin Affleck" version's parts differentiate themselves and sound like they are building to an actual climax.

 While the same notes are technically being played in both versions, the peak of the latter feels like a real payoff instead of just more noise.  Maybe it's that the instruments are just better defined in a studio setting.  Maybe it's that the cathartic lead line is played by a slide guitar now.  Maybe it's that the banjo that pops up halfway through is interweaved into the song and not just another part. Maybe it's just that the instruments are being played more skillfully.  Whatever the case, "Vin Affleck" feel likes an actual experience, while "Goodnight My Lady..." is just a shot of energy and nothing more.
This same improvement marks every remake on this EP.  This is the transition from random chaotic metalcore to something reaching art-metal--an artist's touch turning molten material to gold. On top of that, the two new tracks, which are both better than anything recorded for The Chariot's debut, fit the same mold.  Despite the fact that there aren't any verses, any choruses, any people singing (duh, title), The Chariot's music now sounds like actual music.

2005 Solid State Records
1. Yanni Depp 2:13
2. Phil Cosby (Before There Was Atlanta, There Was Douglasville) 2:43
3. Vin Affleck (Goodnight My Lady and a Forever Farewell) 2:43
4. Kenny Gibler (Play the PianoLike a Disease) 4:07
5. Sargeant Savage (Die Interviewer [Germanickly Speaking])  1:56
6. Donnie Cash (The Company, the Comfort, the Grave) 2:24

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