Written by: PP on 17/04/2021 03:05:44

"NIRATIAS" is the first Chevelle album in five years, their ninth overall, and the next in line of records that are just good enough to get the critics to shut up but fans to wonder, has it really been 14 years since their last masterpiece? "Vena Sera", I'm looking at you. Indeed, this record channels the signature alternative metal sound of Chevelle in the last decade-and-a-half in its usual manner, drawing comparatively equal amounts from Tool as from Deftones and Taproot's mid-2000s material, delivering their expression in a satisfyingly crunchy, crushing style that has always made nu-metal a love/hate thing between fans of hard rock and heavy metal. Frankly, it's a record that reeks of career extension, even if songs like "Self Destruct" and "Mars Simula" carry a level of aggression and howl that we love to hear from the Loeffler brothers, historically speaking.

Now here's the thing. Nowadays Chevelle is a two-man show: vocalist/guitars Pete Loeffler stars the show with Sam Loeffler providing the chunky percussion on the background. Dean Bernardini, a member since the 2005 departure of the third Loeffler brother Joe, is no longer with the band. Yet "NIRATIAS" sounds relatively as you might expect Chevelle to sound like nine albums down despite being down to two men only. It still sounds primarily like a mainstream adjustment of Tool (which has never been a bad thing), with heavy distortion and Pete Loeffler's trademark spit-then-growl style semi-screamed vocals. But where's the fire? Where's the innovation?

Attaching three instrumental tracks - starting with a three-and-a-half-minute opener "Verruckt" or the shorter tracks "Sleep The Deep" and "VVrumhole" - doesn't count. I'm sitting here listening to "Peach" and finding all the right elements to a great Chevelle song: the vocal aggression, the progressive guitar lines, the catchy vibe overall, and wondering why it doesn't sound better? The answer is found on "Endlessly": Pete Loeffler's vocal talent shines through on this minimalist song where he's allowed to loftily float and echo above a soundscape more akin to pop-rock and indie than the usual Chevelle heaviness. And what does this suggest? Throw in two or three more talented dudes or dudettes on guitar and bass, and just let him carry the expression the same way as Chino Moreno does at Deftones.

In the end, "NIRATIAS" is a Chevelle album that sounds good and stays true to their sound, but is destined for the same gray oblivion as "La Gárgola" and "Hats Off To The Bull" because it isn't consistent enough. For each solid track, there is another merely decent one, and none outside "Remember When" really stand out long term. Don't get me wrong: I love hearing me some new Chevelle songs and "NIRATIAS" is a decent addition to their discography. I don't hate it. But I also don't love it.


Download: Self Destructor; Endlessly; Remember When; So Long, Mother Earth
For the fans of: Tool, Taproot, Deftones, Korea, Red
Listen: Facebook

Release date 05.03.2021
Epic Records

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