Mention Furnace Fest 2002 to any die-hard Norma Jean fan, and they'll recall the event with no hesitation. The band, in the midst of releasing their critically acclaimed masterpiece, "Bless the Martyr and Kiss the Child," seemed to be at the peak of their game. There was a real sense of anticipation in the air, not questioning the band's success, but instead attempting to fathom how enormous that success would obviously become.
It seemed nothing could go wrong for the group in those moments as they walked on to the stage accompanied with a flurry of elated cheers. As the energetic set came to a close though, beloved frontman Josh Scogin made an announcement that would not only shock the audience, but stun his bandmates as well. Scogin, in the midst of all the young band's success, left the group that day as confident as he came in, departing with one final elegant bow, a stage full of tears, and thousands of questions: why?
"I wish I had some great story about a big fight or aliens or something," Scogin explains today in light-hearted jest, "but really it was just something that I felt led to do." Talking to Scogin today makes one wonder if the charismatic vocalist even fathoms what sort of impact he created that day in Birmingham, Alabama; or anytime he takes the stage for that matter.
"Takes" being the operative word here, because Scogin, to the delight of fans everywhere, has returned. Now leading a group of five Douglasville, GA natives, collectively known as The Chariot, Scogin's fresh start into musicality is something he actually looks forward to, even if he must begin a few steps behind the success he had garnered with Norma Jean. "Creating something out of nothing…It is the basic concept of art," he elaborates. "I love it."
As Scogin's legacy precedes him though, The Chariot is far from starting from "nothing." The buzz behind The Chariot has been floating through hardcore music circles since its formation, even before their first live performance. So imagine how that buzz escalated following an onslaught of complete musical brutality, stage acrobatics and utter chaos, otherwise known as The Chariot’s live show.
But the band is not just hype, and their 10-song debut album is set to prove that to the world. Produced by Matt Goldman in Atlanta, Georgia, "Everything Is Alive, Everything is Breathing, Nothing is Dead and Nothing is Bleeding," will astound listeners with its perpetual brutality, if not its lengthy title. "I don't strive for long titles," Scogin explains. "I do make sure that every single title has purpose and meaning though. The album title is pretty much just trying to break away from the 'dead, dying, bleeding, bloody, stabbing, killing, shooting, hand grenading, dagger throwing, fire burning, flesh eating…' you get the idea. It is just trying to say that life is actually okay."
There's no doubt with an astounding debut release, brilliant live performances and plans to remain on the road as much as possible, The Chariot's future is looking better than okay. Besides his wish for non-stop touring, Scogin's expectations remain as unassuming as his southern drawl will lead you to believe. "Probably one year from today we will be in Douglasville," he imagines. "Most likely eating barbeque, drinking sweet tea. As far as the debut release, I just hope that it can bring joy to people's ears, and a smile to their face."