Chevelle
Sci-Fi Crimes


4.5
superb

Review

by red0 USER (14 Reviews)
August 25th, 2009 | 81 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Commercial, experimental, brutal, and simply fucking amazing.

In a wash of mediocrity in hard rock (Breaking Benjamin, Nickelback, Theory of a Deadman), there is Chevelle. There has always been Chevelle. They’ve stuck around churning out ridiculously consistent albums (even if they never really stretched any boundaries), and have found moderate success with this formula. Yet, on Chevelle’s latest release, “Sci-Fi Crimes”, it’s a bit different for Chevelle. They’ve torn down a lot of these cliché boundaries that has burdened them, and ended up releasing one of the most solid, consistent, and strong hard rock albums in recent times.

Nearly abandoning their cliché loud/soft rock dynamics and angst-ridden vocals that they’ve literally worked over throughout their career, Chevelle has evolved into something no one expected. Suddenly, Chevelle is brooding, dark, aggressive, and completely immersive. The track all still sound pretty obvious at first, but songs like “Sleep Apnea” and “Roswell’s Spell” have this slickly hidden, darkened tempo that includes, dare I say it, a bit of rhythm. The album’s most unexpected tracks, the completely acoustic “Highland’s Apparition” and the short “Interlewd” just expel this uneasy, foreboding tone that is absolutely surprising, especially coming from Chevelle.

With all this “progression”, Chevelle hasn’t necessarily forgotten how to make a smash hit radio single, however. “Shameful Metaphors” and “A New Momentum” are classic Chevelle material destined for radio exploitation. Yet, “Shameful Metaphors” is just too damn good to ever become radio trash. It’d still be amazing even if “Kidz Bop” covered it or it ended up on “Now! That’s What I Call Music”. The constantly building groove, Tool inspired guitar riff, Pete’s heartfelt vocals, and the unusually dark lyrics just altogether form the best song Chevelle song of all time. In fact, “Shameful Metaphors” is so good the rest of the album tries it's damnedest to stay on the same level raised by this song. The typical rocker,“Jars”, which keeps the album from being perfect, would have been amazing on a different album, but when you have songs as strong as "Shameful Metaphors" it's nothing. Looking on to the rest of the album, the quick-sped grit of “Mexican Sun” just exhumes pure adrenaline (it’s a hell of a workout song), and “Letters From a Thief” is a great track that has a pretty awesome guitar solo with an oddly dark atmosphere surrounding the sound.

My biggest problem with Chevelle’s past albums is that they always seemed so mechanical. It was hard to hear a band through all the slick production. “Sci-Fi Crimes” has all the trademarks of the polished classic “Wonder What’s Next”, the noise and human sound of “Point #1” without the ridiculously mechanical sound of “Vena Sera”. “Vena Sera”-not to say it wasn't good-suffered from the same issues the Smashing Pumpkins’ ambitious “MACHINA” album had. That album was just so produced it didn’t have any spirit. Whether it be Pete’s unrestricted vocals, the vintage guitar sound, or Chevelle actually making an album that sounds like an album and not just a collection of ass-kicking songs. But “This Circus” finally shows Chevelle developing an ability to make an epic closing track as they slowly strip away instruments towards the album’s end. It’s the first Chevelle album in which the closing track actually sounds like it's actually supposed to close out the album. There’s plenty human touch, as Pete sings unrestrained and the guitars roar sloppily, similar to their debut. Even then, this album is so much more refined and eclectic then, for example, albums like their repetitive debut.

At the end of the day, Chevelle have settled into a niche, and found that, much like the Deftones found with “White Pony”, hard rock isn’t a black hole. Instead, the Loefflers discovered that if you play hard rock right, it can be accessible and lead to stardom but still kick plenty of ass while sounding experimental. Chevelle essentially just blew the doors off of the hard rock scene and made life a whole lot harder for their peers. That’s how awesome “Sci-Fi Crimes” is.



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user ratings (946)
Chart.
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Comments:Add a Comment 
fromtheinside
August 26th 2009


18363 Comments


you say Chevelle a lot in this review. lol
also i'm glad we share the same opinion on Shameful Metaphors being the best thing to ever happen to this band, and Jars being the worst on this cd.

Digging: Gehenna - Seen Through the Veils of Darkness

PanasonicYouth
August 26th 2009


7411 Comments


is this out yet?

IndieGuitarist
August 26th 2009


149 Comments


im sure this is bad

fromtheinside
August 26th 2009


18363 Comments


pretentious pricks for the win!

Zizzer
August 26th 2009


915 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Oooooooooo! Very good review! I was actually excited to go to class today so I could walk around all over campus listening to this on my iPod lol

jingledeath
August 26th 2009


7104 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

is this streaming anywhere? and yeah album is pretty good but it's still in the 3.5 region for me, also I thought Jars was pretty good : (

Zizzer
August 26th 2009


915 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Oooooooooo! Very good review! I was actually excited to go to class today so I could walk around all over campus listening to this on my iPod lol

IndieGuitarist
August 26th 2009


149 Comments


double post?

ScorpionStan
August 26th 2009


1834 Comments


^ Iluvatar poser

ScorpionStan
August 26th 2009


1834 Comments


wait i just read BEST CHEVELLE SONG OF ALL TIME? it would have to be one freakin' helluva song to take that title away from Family System.

joshuatree
Emeritus
August 26th 2009


3742 Comments


go back to ign

Ponton
Emeritus
August 26th 2009


5793 Comments


What's up with people hating "Jars" around here? I think its a good first single . . .

MusicinaBox
August 26th 2009


513 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review, but you don't give Chevelle's earlier work enough credit. Such as Pete has always had dark lyrics, and Sam has always provided good beats and rhythm. And also, This Type of Thinking... had an excellent album closer, Bend the Bracket. Although it's not as good as Highland's Apparation for an acoustic ballad, or This Circus as a closer.

MusicinaBox
August 26th 2009


513 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

^I agree with you Observer, the chorus is catchy as fuck.

PayneTiger777
August 26th 2009


4392 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Another one to bash on Vena Sera :- That's ok though. I wish that Chevelle would make some more songs like Sleep Walking Elite and In Debt To the Earth cause those are some badass bonus tracks that they've put out.

On another note, Shameful Metaphors is a fantastic track. Buying this Monday after college!!!

PanasonicYouth
August 26th 2009


7411 Comments


i dunno so far about this
it's giving me mixed vibes right now

Gyromania
August 26th 2009


15791 Comments


Is this better than Vena Sera? Also, is it on par with their album before that?

Digging: Lantlos - .neon

AlexTM510
August 26th 2009


1401 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Either im really missing out on something. Or the fact that the average score is 4.1 is a bit baffling.

I'll try to give this a listen again....my taste for this style have music has decreased over the years. I thought Vena Sera was killer though.

Ponton
Emeritus
August 26th 2009


5793 Comments


I also think Vena Sera was a great progression for them.

Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
August 26th 2009


7026 Comments


So is this band sort of like Hurt?

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