CHARIOT ‘The Warrior’ – review by DAVID SINCLAIR
A DISAPPOINTING set from Chariot who, despite making all the right moves, have produced an album that is simply too safe and predictable for comfort. Songs like ‘Love Or Leave Me’, ‘Warriors’ and Vigilante’ are bog-standard Metal of the sort that must by now have saturated the market.
They all open with a riff and a couple of drum punches, then the bass, drums and rhythm come in for a couple of bars, followed by the vocals, and it all romps along through verses, choruses and solo till it finishes. A touch of the Lizzys here, a soupcon of Ozzy there, but really nothing you haven’t heard a hundred times before. ‘Horizons’ is the epic song with the slow bit at the beginning, the fast bit in the middle, and another slow bit at the end.
The production is crisp, clean and airless, the playing precise and structured throughout, but there are just no good songs. If pressed, I would have to say that ‘Power Games’, with its sprightly interplay between the two guitars, end ‘Run With The Pack’, with its slightly unusual rhythms, are marginally better than the average, but prolonged exposure to the album left me overall feeling listless in the extreme.
CHARIOT Marquee, London
Now, Chariot are a band that have got plenty of K ingredients. They’ve been around for a good few years as you may well know, but have so far failed to gain promotion to a higher status, remaining forever the Marquee headline act that they’ve become.
For my money Chariot are a damn good live band, they put on a powerful, no holds barred show, possess an extremely good frontman in the form of Pete Franklin and command respect from an ever faithful horde of fans.
On the negative side the band’s inability to garner support from Metaloids outside the Home Counties and until recently playing a set of songs with their roots firmly set in the NWOBHM era has held them back somewhat, despite building a strong following in France.
Still, slowly but surely, the band are making solid moves to improve their lot. The new songs aired at the Marquee were nothing short of brilliant. The likes of ‘Firing Line’, ‘Cash On Demand’ and ‘Chains Of Love’ have found the four-piece employing, dare I say it, a more contemporary writing style with plenty of catchy rifling, almost, uh, American in construction!
This may not have been the greatest gig I’ve seen Chariot play, the gig constantly being spoiled by niggling equipment problems, but they gave the kids who had ventured out on a cold and rainy evening value for money. There aren’t too many bands in this country these days you can say that about.
CHARIOT – Bruce Hotel, East Kilbride
YOU COULD be forgiven for expecting a band called Chariot to look like rejects from Ben Hur’s cast of thousands; kind of like Manowar, Thankfully, they don’t go in much for bondage briefs or sword wielding, just plain old guitar-bashing British HM.
Now, traditional British HM ain’t exactly flavour of the month in the UK, or anywhere else for that matter, but if a revival is due (or has already begun?) there’s no reason why Chariot shouldn’t be there running with the pack.
Chariot don’t wear frills. Pete Franklin (guitar, vocals), Scott Biaggi (lead guitar), John Smith (bass) and Jeff Braithwaite (drums) have created an accomplished outfit, but I’d have to describe it as solid rather than exciting. Songs like ‘Play To Win’ and ‘Screams The Night’ from the ‘Burning Ambition’ album are direct and fairly basic, depending purely on delivery for effect.
Elsewhere, the likes of ‘Cash On Demand’ and ‘Love Or Leave Me’ show a deeper understanding of arrangement without becoming obscure or indulgent and are the peaks of Chariot’s current achievements, More of the same please!
Helped along by a great sound and some choreographed headbanging in the Rossi/Parfitt vein, Chariot rattled along nicely until mid-set when a feeling of déjà vu reigned for one or two songs. An unfortunate lack of inspiration became apparent and swift attention is called for.
Maybe Pete Franklin should have taken off on his audience walkabout at this point to break up proceedings, instead of saving it for the encore.
No complaints about the climax to the set though. If some had lost interest they were soon dragged back into the fray as three consecutive crackers, ‘Run With The Pack’, ‘Warriors’ and a memorable ‘Vigilante’, compensated for the earlier weaknesses. They deserved to be called back for AC/DC’s ‘Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be’ Just for those three closing songs.
As the competition hots up on both sides, Chariot may have to move faster or more skilfully if they are to avoid falling behind. Time will tell.