Chevelle

La Gárgola

Written by: PP on 22/04/2014 22:26:39

Seven albums down and Chevelle still haven't picked up in popularity on this side of the pond. It's strange, because their similarity to bands like Deftones and Tool is eerie, even if they've always come across as a somewhat simpler version musically and more inclined to nu-metal references than those two bands. When you add to the mix bands like Taproot, Filter, and why not even Sweden's Korea, there should be a clear incentive for fans of the crunchy, alternative metal style to latch onto Chevelle by the boatload. Especially when you consider the raw consistency they have been releasing albums with over the past decade and a half as a band.

Indeed, I remember only one disappointing Chevelle album since their inception, the lackluster "This Type Of Thinking (Could Do Us In)", which followed their 2002 breakthrough "Wonder What's Next" in 2004. Since then, it has been smooth sailing with albums ranging from rock solid to great, even if last two albums "Sci-Fi Crimes" and "Hats Off To The Bull" haven't been among fan-favorites. "La Gárgola", on the other hand, is the best Chevelle album since the magnificent "Vena Sera" in 2007, and the first album in a while where we see Chevelle look back towards their roots and move into a heavier direction once again. Remember those throat-wrenching screams of vocalist Pete Loeffler from "Wonder What's Next"? They're back in big style, with "Take Out The Gunman" going all-out in the screaming department on multiple occasions.

At the same time, the band seem to have re-discovered the art of a catchy riff / vocal melody combination, as evident on album opener "Ouija Board", which again starts off with an unusually heavy, down-tuned riff and Loeffler's angry shrieks with a touch of Deftones style melody supporting. Same goes to second track "An Island", which is as classic Chevelle as it comes: subtle lead melodies, crushing alt-metal riffage and slightly echoing, heavily distorted soundscape that lends itself nicely to headbanging. Yet it's not all a retrospective, because a song like "One Ocean" leans the other way by borrowing from the ambitious and expansive soundscapes of Muse in all its theatrical glory.

Still, the majority of material on "La Gárgola" is of the heavier variety. This is good, because there has been a clear danger of Chevelle becoming too polished in recent years. Here, the production leaves the sound raw and dynamic, allowing the down-tuned distortion to remind us of another side to Chevelle we might have all forgotten about. It's a refreshing change of direction in that sense, even if it's still not quite up there with their best albums.

Download: Ouija Board, An Island, Choking Game
For the fans of: Taproot, Korea, Deftones, Filter, Red, Tool
Listen: Facebook

Release date 01.04.2014
Epic Records

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