Chicago three piece Chevelle are back with their 8th album La Gargola, another eclectic slab of heavy riffs filtered through a hard rock, almost post-grunge background.
Whilst not entirely reinventing the wheel, this latest release is perhaps their most well crafted album. Where 2011’s Hats Off To The Bulls was a more radio friendly rock release, this latest offering delves deeper into the band’s spectrum, switching from heavy riffs to melodic to a haunting ending.
A villainous trickle of guitar introduces ‘Ouija Board’ before exploding in Pete Loeffler’s voice and a chugging heavy riff. Track two, ‘An Island’ then reverts to a fuzzy churn of grunge and the subtle change ups across the album are already becoming apparent. First single, ‘Take Out the Gunman’ contains all the signature Chevelle nuances, with Loeffler almost speaking his lyrics before his guitar chords strikes. Being a three piece, structure has always been the key with the Chevelle sound and this track is the perfect example. It may not be the best track on the album, but it’s catchy and sure to be played loud upon its first few listens.
Creeping up on prey is played out musically in ‘Hunter Eats Hunter’ with the bass of Dean Bernardini and Loeffler’s guitar combining seamlessly to emulate the lyrics. ‘One Ocean’ provides the band’s soulful moment with a comparison to The Cure meets U2. ‘The Damned’ goes grunge again and you can’t help that think if Cobain hadn’t blown his head off, this is the type of track Nirvana may have made down the road. Highlight track ‘Under The Knife’ provides a bombastic riff before the album concludes solemnly with ‘Twinge’.
For those who haven’t experienced Chevelle, the first things that will hit you are the vocals of Pete Loeffler, with an uncanny resemblance to Maynard James Keenan. Despite the obvious similarities vocally, Chevelle are an entirely different monster musically and though some Tool-like arrangements can be heard across a few tracks of the Chevelle discography that is where the similarities end.
La Gargola is a good starting point for new listeners and long time fans will be appreciative of the band developing some of its best traits into one album.
1. Ouija Board
2. An Island
3. Take Out the Gunman
5. Hunter Eats Hunter
6. One Ocean
8. The Damned
9. Under the Knife