CHARIOT: History Lesson

Roxx Records with their continued tradition of reissuing unsigned classic Christian Metal bands.  That is by placing a bands entire catalog of recorded material on CD in many cases for the first time, or the only time.

Immediately bands such as Taker, Malachia, Crossforce, The Warning, Soldier come to mind. Granted Soldier did have a prior release 15 years ago, but their 2019 “Babylon and Beyond” was a thing of beauty.

Now Florida hard rock/metal act Chariot gets the full treatment.  Their two demo releases 1985’s “Tell the World” (never available commercially) and 1987’s “Step Into Light.”  According to the liner notes there were two more demo’s recorded, however they were not included in this compilation.  I also noticed their contribution to Regency Records “Underground Metal” compilation album missing.  Granted it was another version of the track “Step into Light”, but just being somewhat of a completist…

My own history with Chariot goes back to 1986 when I was putting out a little recorded tape I called “The White Metal Show.”  It was tape I put together through the tape trading underground and I played songs from unsigned and signed bands.  Several years ago someone described it to me as “the first podcast.”  Anyway Chariot sent me a tape of their song “Truth” to play and it was and is an instant metal classic.

Chariot really sounds like a blend of 70s hard rock with 80s metal styling’s.  There are elements on “Tell the World” that are almost prog like in the arrangements; just know all their songs live in the 3-5 minute area. The guitar work is quite impressive.

It really is their follow up release “Step Into Light” where more heavy metal elements appear.  The guitar here is more aggressive in tone.  Personally I’ve always been fan of this track fast and memorable.  Paul Aviles vocals through out remind me of Guy Speranza of Riot (NY) fame.  They’re melodic but full of energy.  Louis Filardo’s guitar playing is frenetic and full of intent, just when you think it’s out of control Louis pulls it back in.

The drumming by Bruce Flemming is solid and locks in well with bass player Jim Poppodeas.  The two of them provide a solid rhythm section holding it all together, the structure that delivers the goods.

If memory serves “Step Into Light” was recorded at College for recording engineers.  The class was broken into teams and each team was responsible for two tracks.  Hence when you listen you can hear the differences in production quality.

When I reviewed this demo 30+ years ago I wasn’t very kind (to be 20 and full of ones self) however as I listen to this today there are many elements I really appreciate and find extremely enjoyable.  This isn’t “hair metal” or “speed metal” but melodic heavy metal with solid musicianship and some really great songs.  Early Riot might not be a bad comparison. Heck even Triumph might be an apt descriptor.

If you aren’t familiar with Chariot you’d better grab one of these anthologies quickly before they are gone.  This isn’t just a nostalgia piece, but a release that should be embraced by fans of heavy metal and hard rock.

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