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Her Chariot Awaits – Her Chariot Awaits Award winner

Her Chariot Awaits
Her Chariot Awaits
by Rachel Montgomery at 21 July 2020, 7:13 AM

HER CHARIOT AWAITS is a union between ex-SIRENIA singer Ailyn and Mike Orlando, American guitarist and producer. Their debut self-titled album has a few elements from Ailyn’s former band, specifically the Gothic overtones. However, their overall sound is more aligned with American hard rock. It still features solid musicianship and will be enjoyed by fans of 2000s American female-fronted hard rock groups like FLYLEAF or EVANESCENSE.

For the most part, the songs have enough variety to keep the album from feeling repetitive. Each song begins differently and contains unique elements, despite the same tempo and style throughout. “Misery” opens like a traditional hard rock song. Everything from the hard-edged guitars to the female vocals reminds me of American acts like HALESTORM or THE PRETTY RECKLESS. After this song, they being in more distinct elements from goth and grunge that set the song apart. They have more haunting elements, specifically the cacophonic notations at the beginning of “Dead & Gone” that bring a Gothic element into it. The guitar solo is also frenzied and adds a Gothic, haunting element to the song. “Screaming Misfire” builds in an energetic way that makes me want to listen to it over and over again. However, I dislike the graininess in the production, making it a little les clear than it should be. The guitar solo in the song is very powerful and well-executed, with sweeps punctured by long, drawn-out notes. “Stolen Heart” features echoing vocals more than the previous songs, especially in the chorus.

Constant Craving” is a creepy, Halloween take on this 90s song, originally by K.D. LANG. They take this mid-90s light rock staple and slow down the tempo, get rid of the upbeat snare, and add a climbing guitar riff to replace the whining harmonica-like instrumental melody in the original. They gave the song a different opening, making the listener wonder if it was the same song. The vocal melody is largely unchanged, except for adding in an echoing chorus. The guitar solo is unique and adds some interesting echoes of the melody. It does its own thing rather than replicate the original solo. However, the production of this cover compared to the original belies the lack of clarity and fuzziness in the album’s recording. K.D. Lang’s original is smooth and clear; I can hear every part, every note even down to the tiniest xylophone ping. Here, there’s this distorted jangle that muddies some features in the background, especially when the music swells.

The album continues with more hard-rock songs that have some variety, but don’t really stand out. Some exceptions are “Line Of Fire” which packs so much pep, you can hardly ignore it. It’s a combination of HALESTORM and FLYLEAF which makes me nostalgic for the 2000s. “Turning The Page” implements some male vocals in a call-and-response way in the first verse. The female vocals also go lower than usual, showing off the singer’s lower register. The album closes with “Forgive Me, Dear” which is a slow, hard-hitting number that reminds me of 2000s hard rock songs until the music becomes more frenzied. It ends with an abrupt guitar scratch and cuts out.

Production-wise, this song is meant to be listened to loud. When it is, the sound can be a little distorted. Honestly, if a mid-90s song sounds better on YouTube than this album does on the same speakers, it could use some more clarifying. The standout on the album was “Constant Craving”; whether that was because the song was familiar to me (a 90s kid who listened to a lot of radio at that time), or if it just stood out. The other songs are good and show solid musical talent. If you’re into female-fronted bands from the 2000s and 2010s, this is definitely a band worth checking out.

Songwriting: 9
Production: 7
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Misery
2. Dead & Gone
3. Screaming Misfire
4. Stolen Heart
5. Constant Craving
6. Say No
7. Line Of Fire
8. Turning The Page
9. Take Me Higher
10. Just Remember
11. Forgive Me Dear
Lineup:
Ailyn Giménez – Vocals
Mike Orlando – Guitar
Brian Gearty – Bass
Jeff Thal – Drums
Record Label: Frontiers Records
     


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