I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Norma Jean started to go downhill after Josh Scogin left. Maybe that’s just a coincidence, an incidental observation about a circumstantial event, but listening to The Chariot’s new song, “Evolve,” I’m inclined to believe there’s a connection.

It’s not just that “Evolve” is an enticingly angry bit of Convergian metalcore; it’s that it shares Bless the Martyr-era Norma Jean’s sense of experimentalism and willingness to do away with conventional aesthetic nicities. Jagged, stabbing rhythms, violent, ADD-induced atonal shifts, and a general disregard for what might actually be pleasant or easy for the listener to ingest are present here; Norma Jean did manage to retain a little of that fire in their bellies on O God, the Aftermath, but as of right now it seems like they’ve pretty much abandoned that sound in favor of turning into a less interesting version of themselves.

I own, but never listened to, a copy of The Chariot’s The Fianceé, and listening to “Evolve,” I wanna kick myself. I don’t know if I like this quite as much as I like Bless the Martyr, but it’s pretty frickin’ cool.

You can hear the track here. It comes off The Chariot’s new album, Wars and Rumors of Wars, which will be released on May 5 by Solid State. It has one of the crappiest album covers I’ve ever seen, but if the rest of the music is as good as this, I’d be willing to overlook that fact.


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