Album Review: Chariots of the Gods – Tides of War

Touting themselves as “straight up, balls to the wall, in your face Heavy Metal”, Chariots of the Gods have been spreading their melodic death-thrash across Canada since 2008. Though they’ve been around for five years – they have an EP (Reverence – 2010) and cameos on a few compilations to show for it – Tides of War marks their first, full length studio effort, and it doesn’t show.

From the rip, Tides of War gleams of a polished effort from this Ottawa quintet, thanks in part to producer, Glen Robinson, an acclaimed music veteran whose long list of work includes the names of Queensryche, AC/DC, David Bowie, GWAR and more.

The band describes itself as showing only nuances of metalcore, but frontman Renaud Jobin certainly rings true to that genre (I call it being a howler monkey, but I can’t pan his efforts only because it doesn’t agree with my own personal tastes). His singing fits in well with the music. These nuances, as they say, really comes out on the CD’s third track, “Blind Assassin”. Guitarists Mathieu St-Amour and Dimitri Gervais each play with such precision and at lightning speed on this track, and throughout their entire work, to work in concert with Rich O’Neil’s rapid drum work is enough reason to pick up this CD.

But, what impresses me most from Tides of War, and what I think really shows the personality and drive behind this band, lies within “Revillusion (1905)”, “Snow Falls on the White River (1914)”, and “Severing the Bloodline (1917)”. As it stands alone, “Snow Falls” doesn’t sound like it belongs on this CD. Its slow, melodic acoustic guitar is joined by piano play that slows down the overall pace. But, in fact, it accompanies the introduction to “Revillision” nicely. It’s a brief, minute-and-a-half transition that indeed fits. You can see Chariots of the Gods are not interested in serving up the cliché, and that they push to stretch out beyond being just another metalcore band. Tides of War does not have the theatrics of Queensryche’s metal operetta Operation Mindcrime, but the subtleties are present enough to sense Robinson’s influence here as well.

If this is your first time hearing of Chariots of the Gods, I guarantee this will not be the last. The howling of lyrics that goes with metalcore may not appeal to me, personally, but these guys have a whole lot going for them. Their debut installment screams of an ambition and a discipline that exceeds their peers. Their sound is polished and can appeal to the masses. Tides of War showcases a wide breadth of talent, a talent that will take this band wherever it is they choose to go.

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